What Is An Optometrist?

There are many terms used to describe clinical professionals who deal with the health of the eye. This can make it a little challenging to understand the meaning of individual titles. One such term is an optometrist.  

The following details exactly what the role of an optometrist involves, as well as discussing other grades of medical providers who work in a similar vein. 

Optometrist, Eye Doctor, or Ophthalmologist? 

  •     What is an optometrist?
  •     How does an optometrist differ from an eye doctor and ophthalmologist?
  •     Finding an optometrist: Boca Raton, South Florida, and further afield

What is an optometrist? 

An optometrist is a health care professional who’s undertaken four years of training and gained a degree as a Doctor of Optometry. Some optometrists then go on to undertake further clinical training.

Optometrists carry out all aspects of primary health care related to the eyes. They can diagnose and treat a variety of vision-related conditions. Optometrists are responsible for:

  • Carrying out eye examinations and vision tests
  • Diagnosing visual conditions, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism
  • Detecting eye-related disorders (injuries, disease) and referring to an appropriate medical specialist
  • Determining prescriptions and fitting glasses and contact lenses
  • Providing vision therapy and aids to help low vision

How does an optometrist differ from an eye doctor and ophthalmologist?

While an optometrist is an eye doctor, they’re not a medical doctor. An ophthalmologist has been to medical school, after which they undergo further specialist training. After completing their initial medical training, it takes an additional 1-4 years to become an ophthalmologist. This term is often followed by yet more years of study and practical placements to gain a fellowship.


An optometrist can carry out the diagnosis of common eye-related conditions and treatments as mentioned above. What they can’t do is carry out any medical or surgical care. Neither can they diagnose or treat eye conditions that arise through other health conditions. For example, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.


It’s also worth noting the role of an optician, a qualified health professional who carries out a vital role in the delivery of good eye care. An optician is not an eye doctor, nor can they carry out eye examinations. They’re responsible for the provision of your eyeglasses and contact lenses, checking prescriptions, ordering products, and ensuring they fit correctly. When you go to the eye store to choose and order your glasses or contact lenses, the person who helps you do this is likely to be an optician.


Finding an optometrist: Boca Raton, South Florida, and further afield


The decision whether to take advantage of an optometrist or ophthalmologist is down to personal preference and one that might be determined by your particular vision needs. For example, those who suffer from certain conditions will probably prefer to partner with an eye doctor who can carry out all aspects of their care—including any surgery, if and when it becomes necessary. This might also be the case in those older than 50, which is the age at which cataracts generally begin to form. In such cases, it might be that you want to build up a trusting relationship with an ophthalmologist.


For others, working with an optometrist is just as beneficial. Should further treatment become necessary, they’ll be able to recommend an ophthalmologist to carry out further investigations and any required medical or surgical care.


Need an Optometrist? Boca Raton residents can contact the WBEC today


Your eyesight is probably the most precious of all the human senses, so entrusting an individual to be responsible for your visual health is of the utmost importance. Nowhere achieves this better than the expert team at the West Boca Eye Center, Boca Raton.


Headed by Brent Bellotte MD., the clinical team of this academic-grade clinic offers a second-to-none service that covers every aspect of eye care, from regular eye exams through to intricate surgery for the most specialist of needs.


Visit https://westbocaeyecenter.com and call today to schedule an appointment.