Optometrists are health professionals who provide primary eye care that ranges from vision tests and corrections to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. An optometrist is not a doctor, but rather a professional who has earned a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by three years or more of college. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and eye tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases. On the other hand, ophthalmologists are doctors or osteopaths who specialize in eye and vision care.
To become an ophthalmologist, one must complete four years of college, four years of medical school and four to five years of postgraduate training, which often involves residency, internships and scholarships. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians in their levels of training and in what they can diagnose and treat. Ophthalmologists are licensed to practice medicine and surgery. They can diagnose and treat all eye diseases, perform surgeries on eyes, and prescribe medications for certain eye conditions.
Opticians are technicians trained to design, verify, and adjust lenses and frames for eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other devices to correct vision. They use prescriptions provided by ophthalmologists or optometrists, but they don't do vision tests or write prescriptions for vision correction. Opticians are not authorized to diagnose or treat eye diseases. We all depend on our vision in more ways than we can realize.
Without healthy vision, our ability to work, play, drive, or even recognize a face can be drastically affected. Many factors can affect our eyesight, including other health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Having a family member with eye disease can also make you more likely to have that condition. Eye disease that steals sight can appear at any time.
Very often they are imperceptible at first and are difficult to detect. That's why it's so important to see an ophthalmologist for a full eye exam before age 40, and then as often as your eye doctor tells you. The following are just some of the signs or risk factors for eye disease. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to visit an ophthalmologist.
A complete ophthalmic medical exam performed by an eye doctor could be the first step to saving your eyesight.Ophthalmologists may also choose a subspecialty such as glaucoma, retina, cornea, pediatrics, neurology or plastic surgery among others. 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.In a survey by the American Optometry Association, 83 percent of eye doctors said they noticed an increase in vision problems related to screen time during the pandemic. Last year 1-800 Contacts was among a small group of “winners” as people turned to the company for eye care when eye doctors closed.A pediatric eye doctor is also called a children's ophthalmologist or children's ophthalmologist and can be an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. While doctors focus on the specific diagnosis and treatment of the disease, osteopaths focus on the loss of structure and function in different parts of the body caused by the disease.The best ophthalmologist for your needs depends on several factors and may not be able to predict with 100% accuracy with the following suggestions: if you have needs beyond a routine eye exam or contact lens adjustment; if you need a slit lamp exam; if you need surgery; if you need medication; if you need diagnosis; if you need treatment; if you need referral; if you need follow-up care; if you need preventive care.It's worth finding out if an optometrist can perform a test or procedure before calling an ophthalmologist.