A person who schedules an appointment with an eye doctor may consult with an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, or an optician. Each type of eye care professional will have a varied amount of education and experience and be able to offer various services.
Optometrists offer essential eye treatment. They offer a variety of treatments, including eye tests, corrective lenses, and treatment of vision changes. Optometry school is where a person who wants to become an optometrist enrolls, not medical school. A doctorate in optometry can be earned after 4 years of postgraduate studies.
Optometry practice includes the following:
- recommending medications for specific eye diseases and offering visual rehabilitation
- doing eyesight tests
- recommending and distributing corrective eyeglasses and identifying certain eye abnormalities
- conducting eye exams
Since they are not trained surgeons, optometrists typically avoid performing surgery. They can undertake simple procedures like laser eye surgery and foreign body removal.
The allied health specialist known as an optician has received particular training. They call for a license in many states. They might deal with patients directly at an optometrist’s office or a retail location that offers prescription eyewear like glasses or contacts. Opticians are not doctors.
Although they can assist in the detection of some eye conditions, their main work involves working with clients and designing and fitting the following visual aids:
- frames and lenses for glasses
- alternative tools for correcting someone’s vision
- contact lenses
To determine and fit the required visual aids, optometrists and ophthalmologists employ prescriptions.
Although they might be able to spot some eye conditions, they are unable to diagnose or treat eye conditions or problems with vision.
One must complete medical school in order to practice as an ophthalmologist. At least eight years of medical school are required.
They spend four years in medical school, and if they meet the requirements to specialize in ophthalmology, they must complete four years of residency training. Additionally, they might do 1-2 more years of specialty fellowship training.
Ophthalmologists are qualified to operate on patients and treat eye conditions.
The same refractive services that an optometrist provides can be provided by an ophthalmologist, including the prescription and fitting of eyeglasses and contact lenses to treat vision problems.
Furthermore, ophthalmologists can:
- perform eye operations
- explore the origins and treatments for eye disorders and vision problems scientifically
- detection and treatment of eye problems
Ophthalmologists occasionally have the ability to spot health issues that are unrelated to the eyes but become obvious during a routine eye checkup.
The ophthalmologist will advise the patient to visit their primary care physician or other specialists if this happens.
Although ophthalmologists are highly trained medical professionals, some may select a specialization. In order to do this, they must further their education and training in a particular branch of medical or surgical eye care.