What is the Difference Between Optometry and Ophthalmology?

Are you still not sure whether your eye doctor is an ophthalmologist or optometrist? It’s often confusing because both professions deal with eye care. However, their levels of expertise and training are different. Optometrists are primary eye care professionals while ophthalmologists specialize in treating complicated eye problems. If you require primary eye care, you can visit the clinic of Susan Sloan – Optometrist in Sarasota.

What is optometry?

The best way to figure out the differences between optometry and ophthalmology is to understand what type of eye care they provide. Optometry involves primary vision care, such as sight testing and providing glasses to correct your vision and diagnosing, treating, and managing your vision changes.

It is wrong to call an optometrist a medical doctor. Optometrists receive an OD or doctor of optometry degree once they complete their four years of education in an optometry school. Before attending optometry school, optometrists need to complete a minimum of three years of college. Once they get their optometry degree, they can provide services like vision tests, eye exams, prescribe corrective lenses, diagnose eye abnormalities, and prescribe medications for various eye diseases.

What is ophthalmology?

Ophthalmology involves specializing in vision and eye care. The level of training obtained by an ophthalmologist is different from an optometrist. This allows ophthalmologists to diagnose and treat a wider range of eye problems that optometrists don’t have the expertise in.

Can you call an ophthalmologist a medical doctor? Yes, you can. Ophthalmologists have to complete at least three years of college and then undergo a minimum of eight years of training in ophthalmology. Once an ophthalmologist completes his training period, he can prescribe medications for eye diseases and even perform eye surgeries. He becomes experienced in providing all the services offered by an optometrist and can additionally diagnose and treat complicated eye problems.

Optometry and ophthalmology services

Optometrists provide primary eye care while ophthalmologists offer advanced treatments for complicated problems.

The following are a few services that you can expect from an optometrist:

● Perform vision tests and eye exams

● Prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses

● Provide vision therapy and low-vision aids

● Treat various eye problems like glaucoma and dry eye

● Monitor your eyes’ condition if you have diseases like diabetes

Ophthalmologists offer the following services:

● Vision services, such as eye exams and checking your vision

● Medical eye care for complicated conditions like chemical burns, iritis, and advanced stage of glaucoma

● Surgical eye care for various conditions, such as cataracts, crossed, trauma, glaucoma, and many other problems

● Diagnosing and treating different eye conditions that result because of other health problems like arthritis or diabetes

● Plastic surgery to smooth out wrinkles or raise droopy eyelids

Which professional should you see?

You may often find yourself questioning – Should I see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for my eye problem? The easiest way to figure out is to narrow down your eye problem according to its symptoms.

Suppose you are experiencing headaches and can’t see objects at a distance clearly. It may be a case of vision correction that requires you to wear glasses or contact lenses. In such cases, you should see an optometrist.

On the other hand, if you have complicated conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, or droopy eyelids, you should see an ophthalmologist. Sometimes, an optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist if your eyes need advanced treatment. Ophthalmologists are experts in dealing with complicated eye problems that optometrists may not be able to solve.

The next time you have an eye problem, you should be able to figure out whether to go to an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They both have a common goal: to make sure that you have a better vision than what you do now.