What Can Ophthalmologists Do That Optometrists Cannot?
Ophthalmologist, optometrist, optician, eye doctor… These are all terms that many people use interchangeably to describe a healthcare professional that looks after your vision and eyes. However, despite this casual use of terminology, they are far from the same. Each has undertaken different types of training and is qualified to carry out different procedures.
The following discusses the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist and the scope of practice of each.
The Difference Between an Ophthalmologist and Optometrist
- Doctor vs. healthcare professional
- Which is best for you?
Doctor vs. healthcare professional
The biggest (and most important) difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist is that the former is a medical doctor and the latter is a healthcare professional. In other words, an ophthalmologist went to medical school and is, quite literally, a doctor who can carry out all procedures relating to the eyes and vision.
An optometrist takes care of the primary health of the eyes. They have undertaken a 4-year course and gained an optometry degree. Some then carry out further clinical training to allow them to perform enhanced procedures. In general, an optometrist is qualified to do the following:
- Eye examinations
- Vision tests
- Prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses
- Manage and treat a variety of conditions, including glaucoma and dry eye
- Monitor eye conditions in conjunction with certain diseases, such as glaucoma
In addition to the above, ophthalmologists can carry out the following:
- Various medical eye care, such as the non-surgical treatment of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and iritis
- Surgical eye care. Examples include cataract surgery, laser vision correction, laser floater removal, and glaucoma treatments
- Diagnose and treat eye conditions related to other health conditions, such as diabetes (monitoring and treating diabetic retinopathy)
Which is best for you?
It’s often the case that both of these professionals collaborate to provide the best care for a person’s vision. Many issues or potential problems are discovered during regular eye exams with an optometrist. They will then refer them to the best ophthalmologist who specializes in that particular condition.
For those who know they’re at a higher risk of certain eye conditions or have suffered eye trauma in the past, ophthalmologist care might be preferable. Not only will you benefit from their additional expertise, but it can be comforting to know that the person you’ve built up a relationship with will be the one carrying out any necessary future treatment.
Finding a Clinician
- When local isn’t necessarily the best
- The ‘best ophthalmologist near me’ search option
When local isn’t necessarily the best
For those with normal, healthy vision you,’ll likely want an eye doctor who’s conveniently located close to your home base. However, for those who have particular conditions, or who’ve recently been diagnosed with an issue, it might be preferable to seek out an expert.
The same applies if you’re looking for a specialist to carry out cataract surgery or laser vision correction. Your vision is precious, so it makes sense to place your trust in a specialist of the highest caliber.
The ‘best ophthalmologist near me’ search option
From Seattle to Boca Raton, ophthalmologists and optometrists are plentiful. But, as with any other field, providers vary in quality, expertise, and price. Simply searching for the best ophthalmologist near me will probably not return the results that accurately suit your needs. Far better to first do a little research into who’s a subject matter expert for your particular needs and then search by place and specialty. For instance, South Florida residents might type ‘Boca Raton ophthalmologist’ into Google to return the results they need.
Whatever your circumstances, it pays to research the eye doctor who’s best placed to treat and look after your eyesight. Conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts are life-changing, so seeking the professional who offers the ultimate service is imperative.
Need a Boca Raton Ophthalmologist? Contact the West Boca Eye Center
The WBEC is an academic-grade clinic specifically purposed to provide the very best care in all aspects of eye health. Led by Brent Bellotte MD., a world-leader in the provision of laser vision correction, cataract surgery, and the treatment of other eye conditions, this is a center of excellence to which patients across the nation travel to avail themselves of this regarded eye surgeon’s expertise.
Discover more at https://westbocaeyecenter.com and call today to discuss your eye care needs.