Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

There are two terms you need to know in eye care which are Ophthalmology and Optometry. What are the differences between the two? Here are some crucial facts one must know about the differences between Ophthalmology and Optometry. This would help you know which type of eye care doctor you would require.

Ophthalmology Vs Optometry

Ophthalmology Vs Optometry: Differences Worth Knowing

Ophthalmology Vs Optometry: Differences based on their Definition

Opthalmologists are the medical doctors who focus their training on eye care and eye health, and is concerned with the disease and surgery of visual pathways.

However, an optometrist is the Doctor of Optometry who is the primary healthcare practitioners of the eye and visual system who provide care to vision, which includes refraction and dispensing, diagnosis or detection and also management of disease in the eye

Ophthalmology Vs Optometry: Differences on the Practice

Ophthalmologists are specialists trained in management of ocular disease and eye surgery.

However, optometrists are primary health care practitioners who are trained in primary eye care and eye disease treatment

Ophthalmology Vs Optometry: Differences Based on Education

Ophthalmologists are the doctors who have been through medical school which include 4 years of medical school, 1 year of internship and 3 years of residency. Thus Ophthalmologists studies the eye as well as the whole body in their medical schooling.

However, Optometrists attends 4 years of college, 4 years of optometry school and then one year of an optional residency course. Such doctors are required to take continuing education courses all throughout their careers so as to maintain their licensure.

Ophthalmology Vs Optometry: Differences Based on Their Ability to Prescribe Medicine and Perform Surgery

An ophthalmologist is trained for performing eye examinations, diagnose and treat diseases, perform eye surgery, prescribe medications etc. Such doctors can also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

However, a Doctor of Optometry or an Optometrist exclusively studies the eye and does not get additional training about the rest of the body or systemic diseases.

Optometrists are highly skilled at finding the right prescription for improving vision and are also able to pursue post graduate training in additional eye care areas, like contact lenses, rehabilitation, sports vision and vision therapy. These doctors in the United States are also licensed to prescribe medications for treating specific eye diseases and eye problems.

Ophthalmology Vs Optometry: Which Eye Care Doctor You Must Choose?

You must choose an ophthalmologist if you know that your require eye surgery or if you have an underlying medical condition that affects your vision.

However, you must choose optometrist if you are looking for help with contact lenses or glasses. Optometrist is a real great choice for you if you have questions about general eye health.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 16, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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