Ophthalmology and Optometry - Which Specialist Should You See?

June 02, 2014

If you are in need of eye care, you have a few options to choose from when it comes to specialists. Determining which specialist you should see depends on what kind of issue you are experiencing. Whether you are having difficulties with your vision, or you having redness or soreness in one of your eyes, there are three different types of specialists to see. This article will help to explain the differences between these specialists, as well as the main differences between ophthalmology and optometry, so you can make an informed decision on which kind of specialist you should be seeing.

Ophthalmology is defined as the branch of medicine that concentrates on the study, diagnosis, and treatment of eye diseases. Unlike optometrists, these professionals have attended medical school. Each professional within ophthalmology has obtained an M.D. After completing the necessary four years of medical school, these professionals go on to spend at least three years as a resident in a hospital specializing in ophthalmology. They receive training in surgical and medical treatments concerning the eye. Some of these professionals are equipped to handle an entire array of care, and they are able to do everything from performing surgery to prescribing contacts and glasses. Others specialize in specific areas such as glaucoma, refractive surgery, and pediatrics.

Optometrists complete four years of education specifically devoted to optometry rather than medical school, which focuses on a comprehensive education of the human body, health, and treating diseases. After graduating from this program, they go on to become licensed in the state in which they practice. They can provide routine vision exams, diagnose vision issues, and they can prescribe eyeglasses and contacts. Many of them can treat diseases, but they are not equipped, trained, or licensed to provide conventional surgery. They are equipped to treat such diseases as cataracts and glaucoma.

An optician is an eye care professional who is trained to provide prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. These professionals can adjust frames to fit the wearer properly. These professionals often work closely with optometry and ophthalmology professionals, but they may also have their own independently operated practice.

So, if you are in need of a vision examination, or you feel that you need more extensive eye treatment, now you can make the proper determination of which professional you should visit. In many cases, an optometrist may recommend that you see an ophthalmologist or vice versa, but seeing one of these professionals is important to maintaining proper vision and eye health.

Looking for a Brooklyn Ophthalmology office? Visit for more information.
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