Understanding the Difference between an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist


Many people use the name ophthalmologist and optometrist interchangeably. You may even be guilty of doing the same yourself. The reality is that few people can distinguish between the two. The one thing everyone knows is that both of these medical professionals provide eye care. The difference is in the level of training and expertise. 

What Does an Optometrist Do?

An optometrist will take care of the primary eye care functions. If you have vision problems, he will test you and take corrective measures. An optometrist is, however, not a medical doctor. They have to complete training for an optometry degree. If you want to get into this career, it will take you seven years before you receive certification.

Some of the optometrist's roles include performing eye examinations, prescribing corrective lenses, detecting eye abnormalities and prescribing medication for certain eye diseases.

What Does an Ophthalmologist Do?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor, and their area of specialty is eye and vision care. The training they undergo is more intense than that of an optometrist. If you are thinking of this as a career choice, you will have to finish the four years of college training which a regular doctor would undergo. You will then need to take another three years of ophthalmology residency at a hospital before you get your licence to practice. 

The role of the ophthalmologist is, therefore, more extensive than that of an optometrist. They can handle the diagnosis and treatment of all eye diseases, surgeries and prescriptions. Some specialise in particular areas and will need more in-depth training. They will undergo a two- to five-year fellowship, which is more complex and specific training. You will, therefore, find those who are cornea, paediatric or glaucoma specialists, among others.

How to Choose Who to See 

If you are going in for routine eye checks, then you should make an appointment with your optometrist.  If you have a more severe problem, you need someone who has more complex training, such as an ophthalmologist. Such severe conditions include cataracts, keratoconus and macular degeneration, among others.

Final Thoughts

You must take good care of your eyesight. Plan for routine checkups so that your eye doctor can arrest any conditions that may arise. Some eye problems, like keratoconus, do not immediately present with symptoms. However, a routine eye examination can help capture the problem at an early stage. Begin taking care of your eyes now. Make an early appointment for yourself and your family with the optometrist or ophthalmologist today.


24 September 2019

Eye Health: What You Need to Know

Hello! My name is Leah and this is my blog which will explain everything you need to know about how your eyes work, how you can care for them and what you should do if you have pain or problems with your vision. When I had trouble seeing, I didn't know what to do. For a long time, I just put up with it. In the end, my mother told me I should go and see an optometrist, so I did. I had an eye exam and I was fitted with a pair of glasses which allow me to see perfectly.