Eye health is an important part of overall health, and it's important to choose the right eye care provider for your needs. An optometrist is an eye health specialist who focuses on treating the eye, orbit, and visual systems. They medically manage many eye disorders and diseases that can affect a patient's vision. Optometrists receive a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by at least three years of college.
At the clinic, they can diagnose and treat eye health conditions and use lasers to correct eye conditions, as well as perform eye checks. Ophthalmologists are doctors who specialize in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system, and also in the prevention of eye diseases and injuries. Most ophthalmology fellowships are one year or more and allow for greater specialization in a specific area of the eye, including the retina and cornea. This additional training and knowledge prepares the ophthalmologist to deal with more complex or specific conditions in certain areas of the eye or in certain groups of patients.
Opticians are also part of the eye care team. With a two-year technical degree, opticians analyze and interpret eye prescriptions; determine the lenses that best fit a person's needs; oversee the ordering and verification of eye-related products from start to finish; and dispense, replace, adjust, repair and reproduce contact lenses, eyeglasses and mounts. Taking a role in maintaining your vision and preventing your loss includes choosing a qualified eye care provider, one who has the right training and experience, who can provide proper diagnosis and treatment, is informative, promotes the best possible outcomes, and shows genuine care for health of your patients. As a physician who has completed college and at least eight years of additional medical training, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery.