Which Eye Care Doctor is Right for You?

When it comes to an eye care doctor, you have two basic choices to choose from an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Do you know the difference between the two eye specialists when it comes to your own optic care? Each one can diagnose eye problems as well as write prescriptions for contact lenses and glasses but beyond that they are worlds apart.

Normal, Every Day Vision Problems

An optometrist has a four year college degree as well as a three year post-graduate diploma from an optometry school. They earn an OD Doctor of Optometry and can diagnose basic vision problems and even eye diseases like glaucoma that might necessitate further examination by an ophthalmologist, another type of eye care doctor.

If you suspect a change in your eyeglass prescription is necessary then this eye care doctor is the right one for you. This type of doctor will give you a thorough eye examination from the basic eye chart to dilation of the eyes. While they can prescribe basic medications for vision and eye diseases, they cannot perform surgery or prescribe any heavy duty drugs.

Looking Deeper into the Eyes

Ophthalmologists are actual medical doctors who go through internship and then residency in their chosen field. They can do everything an optometrist does as well as treat serious eye infections and diseases and even perform surgeries like Lasik and cataract removal. This eye care doctor can also prescribe special medications for certain eye diseases that optometrists cannot.

When you have serious conditions like a detached retina, a tumor or the need for a corneal or lens transplant, an ophthalmologist is the one you turn to first. Of course, this serious eye care doctor can prescribe contact lenses in addition to glasses.

Who to See First

For most people, the optometrist is their first line of defense when it comes to an eye care doctor for basic needs like prescription glasses or contact lenses. The reason being is that for basic care such as this, an optometrist will be cheaper in addition to the fact that insurance would probably cover one or two visits per year at little to no charge.

An ophthalmologist is often your second line of defense in terms of an eye care doctor as they are often recommended by an optometrist. As optometrists cannot treat certain conditions or perform surgery, the ophthalmologist picks up this gauntlet. If you suspect a disease, optic defect or even infection due to foreign material in your eye, go straight to the ophthalmologist.

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