Optometrist or ophthalmologist, who should you see? Sometimes your vision can depend on you seeing the right doctor, so what is the difference?
It is important for you to know that an ophthalmologist and an optometrist are NOT the same. Many people mistakenly use these terms interchangeably however, there is a big difference between the two. While eye care facilities like Alpine Eye Care offer clients access to both, there are certain times you will need to see one of our optometrists and other times when only the skills of an ophthalmologist are right for you. We invite you to find out more about the differences between these two experts with us.
What is an Optometrist?
For the majority of your visits, you will require only the skill-set of the optometrist. Otherwise known as a Doctor of Optometry or OD, an optometrist provides your basic and sometimes extended-basic eye care. Optometrists will prescribe your eyeglasses or contacts but they can also diagnose certain conditions. An optometrist is often also the support staff for the ophthalmologist before and after a surgery. They DO NOT perform the surgeries to correct your vision.
What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a surgeon. They have additional expertise and medical training and can not only perform regular diagnoses and vision correction, but can perform surgeries and can diagnose all visual system diseases and disorders. An ophthalmologist is a physician and can be either a doctor of osteopathy or DO, or a doctor of medicine or MD. They specialize in medical and surgical care of your eyes.
So how do you know which to choose?
The simplest way to know what you need is to ask your eye care provider, but if you are in a position where you need to know, here are the things you should consider when making your decision:
- Are you going for a check-up? An optometrist will be all you need although an ophthalmologist would also be able to assist you.
- Do you have a medical problem which you believe may be impacting your eyes as well? You will likely want to contact an ophthalmologist depending on the complexity of the diagnosis and treatment. An ophthalmologist will be able to both diagnose and treat your eyes.
- Do you need eye surgery? You will need to contact an ophthalmologist. They are the only one of the two who can perform eye surgeries.
- Do you need vision correction? An optometrist can diagnose your eyesight and can help correct it by prescribing contacts and/or eyeglasses.
Eye care specialists like Alpine Eye Care do our best to protect your sight by providing you with access to both optometrists and ophthalmologists. This is an easy way to ensure that your eye care providers are both aware of any conditions you are dealing with, your eye care history and your follow-up along the way. We are dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the precious gift of sight.
Knowing who you need to contact is the key to protecting your vision for years to come. Alpine Eye Care is a comprehensive eye care facility to help you protect your vision in Northern Michigan. For more information about this or to schedule an appointment with us, call us at 1.877.SEE.2020.