The Differences between Optometrists and Ophthalmologists


Optometrists and ophthalmologists are both excellent choices for eye care. However, in some instances one may be a better choice than the other. Here are some of the main differences between these 2 types of eye doctors.

Primary Eye Care

Most people visit an optometrist for their primary care for the eyes. This is who you would visit for a yearly checkup and to have normal vision problems corrected. An optometrist can diagnose and treat astigmatism, near and farsightedness, prescribe and fit corrective lenses, prescribe medications, and diagnose other conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma. Unless you have other serious needs for eye care, an optometrist will definitely meet your needs.

Complete Eye Care Services

An ophthalmologist can provide further care such as surgery for cataracts, retinal repair, or Lasik. They may also be the professional to help treat conditions that the optometrist diagnosed. They also diagnose and treat eye conditions that are related to other conditions like arthritis and diabetes. Some may also perform plastic surgery for drooping eyelids or similar problems that are affecting vision.

Difference in Training

An optometrist receives 4 years of optometry training beyond a bachelor’s degree, which includes clinical rotations. If desired, an extra year of training provides more expertise to help treat glaucoma and other conditions. After a bachelor’s degree, ophthalmologists go to 4 years of medical school, a year of clinical residency, followed by a 3 year residency.

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