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Optometrist and Ophthalmologist: What's the Difference?

A lot of people want to know if they should go see an eye doctor and which kind of doctor they should see. Generally, people can be screened at an optometrist's office for glasses, vision and to check for basic problems. When people visit an ophthalmologist, they can be checked for the same things as well as more advanced problems such as a cataract or glaucoma, or anything else that may be significantly wrong with the eye.

What's an optometrist?

There are many differences and similarities between optometrists and ophthalmologists. Optometrists are trained to provide routine eye care, such as exams and prescriptions for glasses and contacts, but they are not considered medical doctors. Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. However, an optometrists is not a medical doctor.

An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by three years or more of college. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases. Optometrists determine visual acuity and prescribe spectacles, contact lenses and eye exercises. Optometrists may perform all services listed under the definition of an optician. 

Optometrist are basically trained for providing your routine eye care which can include the examination of the eyes as well as prescriptions for contacts and glasses. But optometrist is mostly not considered to be eye doctor’s or medical doctors. They are termed as healthcare professionals who are known to provide care for the vision and the services would range from testing the eye, correction to the diagnosis, how to get them treated and managing any changes in the vision.

An optometrist is said to receive a doctor of the optometry degree after they complete four years of their optometry schooling which is then preceded by a three years in college. They are provided licence which mostly involves carrying out eye examination, testing the vision, prescribing and also providing the individuals with the correct lenses or glasses, carrying out examination for any kind of eye abnormalities and also prescribing medications for certain kind of eye diseases. They are said to provide all kind of services which are basically listed under the definition of optician.

What's an ophthalmologist? 

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors educated and trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, including the treatment of a wide array of diseases. They can also perform complicated surgical procedures. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists mainly when it comes to their level of training, and in what they can diagnose and treat.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors that have completed college and at least eight years of additional medical training. Many ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific research around the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision disorders. An ophthalmologist specializes in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system, as well as the prevention of eye disease and injury. They treat and manage all eye and visual systems and are licensed by a state regulatory board to practice medicine as well as surgery.

Ophthalmologist are known to be educated medical doctors who are very well trained for providing the complete spectrum of caring for the eye which can also include treating a wide array of diseases. These specialists are also known to carry out any kind of complicated surgery. Ophthalmologist are way different than the optometrist mainly on grounds of the training level and also what they can diagnose and get it treated. Ophthalmologist are professional medical doctors and have completed their college with eight years of additional medical training.

Most of the Ophthalmologist are also said to be involved in various kind of scientific research in the field of causes as well as cure for various kind of eye related diseases or vision disorders. Ophthalmologist are known to be specialised in medical as well as surgical care of the eyes as well as the visual system of the individual. They are also trained in prevention of any kind of eye disease or injury to the eye. They are known to treat as well as manage all of the visual and the eyes systems. They are very much licensed and regulated by the board for practicing medicine as well as surgery in the field of eye and vision.

Since providing eye treatment is said to fall under the Ophthalmologist, there are certain states which permit optometrists for giving limited kind of treatments concerning the eye conditions. There are certain states which have also passed out laws wherein they allow the optometrists for performing surgical procedures, to administer injections and also provide prescriptions in case of any eye issues.

Both the Ophthalmologist as well as the optometrist are said to play an important role in the profession of vision or optometry. In case of routine check-ups and vision corrections one can always reach out to the optometrist but in case of any serious eye issues or surgical need it is advisable to check with an Ophthalmologist.

State legalities and regulations 

While providing treatment for eye impairments falls under the responsibility of an ophthalmologist, some states permit optometrists to give limited treatments of certain eye conditions. Muddying the waters between the two, is the push for optometrists in several states to expand their scope of practice to include various procedures that are currently limited to ophthalmologists. Certain states have already passed laws allowing optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures, administer injections, and provide more prescriptions.

Both ophthalmologists and optometrists play key roles in the profession of optometry. For more serious eye complications, see an ophthalmologist.