Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist: What’s the Difference?

You will need to see an eye specialist if you have issues with your eyes at any time. You’ll also need to understand the difference between the various types of eye specialists. Optometrists and ophthalmologists are two types of eye doctors you may need to see. The following is some information on the difference between the two and which one you might need if you ever have an issue with your eyes:

What Is an Optometrist?

An optometrist is a practitioner who practices in the realm of primary care for the eyes. This individual is often the first person people see when they go for their annual eye exams. They provide basic eye services and sometimes refer patients to other specialists such as ophthalmologists.

What Is an Ophthalmologist?

An Ophthalmologist is a medical and surgical professional. This person has more advanced training than an optometrist can perform a wide range of services to restore eyesight and functionality to patients who suffer from various diseases. Optometrists often refer patients to this type of specialist when they need services that are out of the basic optometry realm. These individuals deal specifically with diseases of the eyes, malfunctions, and other issues. They have many years of education and must stay up to date with their licensing to continue to practice in their field.

Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist: Background

The educational background differs for optometrists and ophthalmologists. An optometrist usually obtains a Doctor of Optometry. This person most likely attends a four-year college and four years at an optometry school. He or she may also attend a year-long residency program. Such doctors also have to take licensing exams to work in their field. Ophthalmologists have to obtain eight years of schooling and up to four years of residency to receive the qualifications they need. They must also take exams for licensing and renew those licenses accordingly.

As you can see, the ophthalmologist’s educational career path is much longer than the optometrist’s. Both types of eye doctors may refer patients to each other for various reasons. For example, an optometrist may send someone to an ophthalmologist if that person needs surgery for cataracts. On the other hand, an ophthalmologist may send a patient to an optometrist for contact lens or glasses fitting. One hand seems to wash the other in this field, and both types of doctors help each other and their patients.

Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist: Duties

Both types of eye doctors perform a variety of services to their patients. An optometrist is usually the doctor that people go to for their annual eye check-ups. They also fit their clients for contact lenses and glasses. Such providers also inspect and check the eyes for conditions such as diabetes and glaucoma. Optometrists can also offer their patient vision therapy and aid. They have some abilities to treat conditions like macular degeneration.

Ophthalmologists can also perform eye exams and other various tasks that an optometrist can perform. However, these specialists also have extensive surgical skills. An ophthalmologist is a person who would perform cataract surgery or laser surgery. If you live in a city like Las Vegas, you will have no shortage of Ophthalmologists. An expert ophthalmologist in Las Vegas can help you with all your eye-related issues. This person might also perform a surgical procedure to remove cancer or to repair an eye injury. Additionally, he or she could perform surgery to correct a misalignment of the eyes.

How to Choose the Right Eye Doctor

You can use a variety of methods to choose the right eye doctor. First, you can narrow down your choices by knowing what type of service you need. You can see an optometrist if you need basic services such as an eye exam or glasses. He or she will refer you to an ophthalmologist if you have serious issues that need surgical treatment. You could also search for an ophthalmologist yourself if you already know you have a serious issue. Your insurance company can also give you the contact information of a reliable provider. Be sure to research the provider’s reputation before choosing the one who will take care of you.

Contact an Eye Specialist Today

Now you know the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. You can make an informed decision about who you need to call for help with your eyes. You can schedule a consultation with a provider to discuss your needs and then take the next step.

Sylvia James

Sylvia James is a copywriter and content strategist. She helps businesses stop playing around with content marketing and start seeing the tangible ROI. She loves writing as much as she loves the cake.

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