Difference between
Ophthalmologist and Optometrist


Choosing an eye care provider is an important decision when it comes to health care. The first step is understanding the difference between an Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist.

Although the Optometrist and Ophthalmologist both provide eye care services and work well together, they both do things a little different. Below, you will learn what an Optometrist does and what an Ophthalmologist does and how their treatments coincide with one another.

Understanding the difference


What is an Optometrist?

Optometrists are doctors of Optometry (OD). An optometrist has completed four years of undergraduate education and another four years of education from a college of optometry. There is a large portion of study devoted to the detection, treatment and management of eye diseases. They prescribe glasses and contact lenses to treat refractive errors. An optometrist often collaborates with an ophthalmologist to provide the pre- and post-op care to an eye-surgery patient, though an optometrist will not perform the actual surgery.
Optometrists are the primary care doctor of the eyes and refer out to the Ophthalmologists who specialize in diseases of the eye.

What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medically trained doctor who has earned an MD (Medical Doctor) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) degree and who is licensed to surgically invade the eye. An ophthalmologist has typically spent four years in undergraduate studies, four years in medical school and three additional years studying surgery and diseases of the eye.
While an ophthalmologist can prescribe glasses and contact lenses, his primary focus is treating and managing ocular diseases such as cataracts, diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Ophthalmologists can also remove foreign bodies from the eye and perform surgeries on the eye lids.

Ophthalmologists work closely with Optometrists when it comes to post-operative care after cataract and refractive surgeries.


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