Should You See An Ophthalmologist Or An Optometrist?

Doctors For Eye

Published on December 2nd, 2019

When having eye problems, patients are often unsure whether they need to visit an ophthalmologist or an optometrist because they do not know the difference between the two as well as what they do to improve eyesight.

When it comes to eye care, different specialists perform different functions to help restore the patient’s vision.

Therefore, if you’re making an appointment with the eye doctor, you need to know who you are going to see and why they are the right choice for your vision problems.

So, do you need an ophthalmologist or an optometrist? If you need help with your vision problems now, go to

But if you want to take the time to know the difference between the two eye specialists, below are the subtle differences.


Equipment Eye

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in vision care and eye health. However, there are also different types of ophthalmologists and they vary in their level of specialized training and their capacity to diagnose and treat eye problems.

To become an ophthalmologist, a person must complete 4 years of college, another 4 years of medical school and 1 year of internship.

In addition, the individual should spend a minimum of 3 years in a hospital-based ophthalmology residency.

Such a doctor can carry out a comprehensive eye exam to help diagnose and treat complex vision problems, eye diseases, perform complex procedures such as cataract surgery or LASIK, and prescribe medication.


Tips For Good Eye Health

An optometrist is an eye care doctor trained in providing vision care. These professionals can prescribe lenses, carry out comprehensive vision tests and eye examinations, diagnose some eye problems, and prescribe medication to help treat some eye diseases and problems.

Training includes a minimum of 3 years of college and an additional 4 years of optometry school. After this, the individual earns a doctor of optometry (OD) degree, allowing him or her to practice the profession after obtaining the relevant license.

Although they are also trained to carry out eye exams and treat some eye diseases, they are not trained to perform eye surgery and do not have the relevant license to do so.

However, they can carry out pre and postoperative eye care following eye surgery. So, this is the major difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist, as the latter has more specialized training to conduct complex eye surgeries and treatments of eye complications.

Moreover, optometrists must meet continuing education requirements if they want to continue with the practice. This ensures they stay up-to-date in the new care standards and industry regulations. They also get to maintain their optometry license.

Now that you have known the difference, you should be able to know which doctor to see depending on your eye problem.

If you need a regular eye exam, both doctors should be able to perform it. However, cataracts, glaucoma, and AMD may require an ophthalmologist.

In most cases, eye diseases are diagnosed by an optometrist, who refers you to an ophthalmologist if you need specialized eye care.

Think of an optometrist as the general care physician and an ophthalmologist as the specialist capable of treating complex health issues.

For regular checkups, you often go to the physician, who then consults with or refers you to a specialist if your condition requires specialized care.

Therefore, see an optometrist for regular eye exams and an ophthalmologist when you need corrective surgery or complex eye treatments.


Health Disclaimer :

Information provided by does in no way substitute for qualified medical opinion. Any text, videos or any other material provided by us should be considered as generic information only. Any health related information may vary from person to person, hence we advice you to consult specialists for more information.