Difference Between An Optometrist and An Ophthalmologist

Routine eye care is essential to maintain the health of your eyes. How does one decide if an optometrist or an ophthalmologist is best for managing your eye health? Oftentimes, we are asked this question, so we thought we would share how these two eyecare professionals are very much the same, and how they are different. 

Optometrist and Ophthalmologist

What is similar between an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist?

Both optometrists and ophthalmologists are doctors who provide eye care services. Both can evaluate your eyes, prescribe and fit eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. Additionally, an optometrist or an ophthalmologist can diagnosis various types of eye disease, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration and prescribe eye treatment medication as necessary.

What is different between am Optometrist and Ophthalmologist?

The major difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist is that an ophthalmologist is a licensed Medical Doctor (MD) and an Optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry (OD). An optometrist must complete an accredited undergraduate program, and continue on to earn their Doctor of Optometry degree. An ophthalmologist, must complete an accredited undergraduate program and move on to four years of medical school, a residency, and a fellowship program.

While both can diagnose eye conditions, only an ophthalmologist can perform surgery. When an optometrist diagnosis a patient with an eye disease or disorder that requires eye surgery, the optometrist must refer them to an ophthalmologist. However, an optometrist may co-manage the patient post-operative care with the ophthalmologist and provide post-surgery consultation and treatment.

Oftentimes insurance companies will utilize an optometrist as the gatekeeper who can then refer to an ophthalmologist for surgical intervention. Therefore, at Dedham Ophthalmic Consultants and Surgeons, we provide both ophthalmic and optometric services.

Book an appointment today and learn more.

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