An ophthalmologist goes to college and then medical school and then one year of general medicine internship and then 3 years of ophthalmology surgical residency then sometimes a 1-2 year fellowship for further surgical training (in cornea or retina or glaucoma or other subspecialties) and starts practicing. Ophthalmologists have to pass the four USMLE national medical licensing board exams like all other physicians as well as the board exam by the American Board of Ophthalmology. They are licensed by the Board of Medicine.
Optometrists are vision care specialists who have four years of education after college and degrees from schools of optometry. You may identify their degree by the letters OD (Optometric Doctor) after their name. Their training is most intensely oriented to primary eye examinations, prescribing glasses and contacts and diagnosis and sometimes treatment of some of the more common and eye disorders depending on the state they practice in.
Without getting embroiled in the politics of vision care, I believe it is appropriate to say both disciplines have excellent training and benefit the patient. In my experience, the quality of care is frequently enhanced when optometrists and ophthalmologists maintain close working relationships for the betterment of care for the patient.
Optometrists have completed college and 4 years of Optometry school. They perform vision correction exams and fits and prescribes eyeglasses and contact lens. Optometrists can also perform certain eye exams and detect certain diseases in the eye.
The main difference between an ophthalmologist and optometrist is that an ophthalmologist attended medical school and is trained to perform eye surgeries. Optometrists do not perform surgeries.
A fake doctor who never went to medical school or studied Ophthalmology but got scope of practice through politicians by giving big political contributions
Optometrists go to optometry school and learn about the eyes and treating eye disease, prescribing glasses and contacts and know when to refer out to the primary care or other specialists when there are problems that could involve more systemic problems.