Knowing the Difference between an Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist 

When having eye-related problems, we get confused about which doctor to see. Booking for a regular eye check-up, or eye surgery or even an eye infection, we often have a hard time choosing the right doctor for our situation. 

To identify which doctor we should see upon encountering an eye problem, let us understand the difference between the two.  

An optometrist has a degree in optometry and has finished four years in optometry school, whereas an ophthalmologist has received higher educational training. They have completed four years in college and have been to medical school for an additional 8 years of training. 

An optometrist is not a medical doctor. They are an eye care professional who can treat patients with eye disorders and diseases that affects the patient’s vision. They can also perform eye exams, and vision tests, and prescribe eyeglasses and corrective lenses. They can also perform first aid to common eye conditions and injuries, manage eye health care for patients with glaucoma, iritis, stye, and cataracts and prescribe medications for eye diseases such as conjunctivitis (also known as red-eye). An optometrist also monitors the eye conditions of a patient with diabetes.  

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor. They can perform what an optometrist can do in addition to practicing medicine and performing surgery. They can perform eye exams and vision tests, eyeglasses, and contact lens prescriptions. But they specialized in eye surgery and surgical intervention for vision care such as lazy eye correction, cataract and glaucoma surgery, cornea transplant, tear duct infections, repair of the damaged retina, and other eye traumas. They can also perform LASIK and other laser surgeries for vision correction. 

Your eye’s health will depend on seeing the right doctor at the right time. Each eye care professional has a different role so it’s helpful to know the difference. To summarize, an optometrist is for the general care of your eyes and an ophthalmologist is for more serious eye diseases and eye surgery. 

At Doral Health & Wellness Ophthalmology Center, our ophthalmology service focuses on taking a holistic approach to eye care, offering you a greater understanding of the eye’s anatomy, physiology, and diseases. Our consultants treat a wide range of ophthalmic problems — from common eye conditions such as cataracts, squints to diabetic eye disease. We have the expertise needed to carry out advanced treatments for a range of eye conditions.