Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist, Do You Know The Difference?
is a health care professional who is licensed to provide primary eye care services:
* to examine and diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal diseases and, in certain states in the U.S., to treat them;
* to diagnose related systemic (bodywide) conditions such as hypertension and diabetes that may affect the eyes;
* to examine, diagnose and treat visual conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia; and
* to prescribe glasses, contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation and medications as well as perform minor surgical procedures such as the removal of foreign bodies.
An optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry, an O.D. (not to be confused with a Doctor of Medicine, an M.D.). To become an optometrist, one must complete pre-professional undergraduate college education followed by 4 years of professional education in a college of optometry. Some optometrists also do a residency.
is an eye M.D., a medical doctor who is specialized in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery. They may also be involved in eye research.
After 4 years of medical school and a year of internship, every ophthalmologist spends a minimum of 3 years of residency (hospital-based training) in ophthalmology. During residency, the eye M.D. receives special training in all aspects of eye care, including prevention, diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of eye conditions and diseases. An ophthalmologist may spend an additional year or two in training in a subspecialty, that is, a specific area of eye care such as:
* Cornea and External Disease: The diagnosis and management of diseases of the cornea, sclera, conjunctiva and eyelids, including corneal dystrophies, microbial infections, conjunctival and corneal tumors, inflammatory processes and anterior ocular manifestations of systemic diseases. Training frequently includes corneal transplant surgery and corneal surgery to correct refractive errors.
* Glaucoma: The treatment of glaucoma and other disorders that may cause optic nerve damage by increasing intraocular pressure. This involves the medical and surgical treatment of both pediatric and adult patients.
* Neuro-ophthalmology: The relationship between neurologic and ophthalmic diseases, neuro-ophthalmology also deals with local pathology affecting the optic nerve and visual pathways. Over 50% of all intracranial lesions involve the visual or oculomotor pathways.
* Ophthalmic Pathology: Training in both ophthalmology and pathology. Because of the unique combination of skills involved in this subspecialty, it is usually the ophthalmic pathologist, rather than the general pathologist, who examines tissue specimens from the eye and adnexa (related structures).
* Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery: Includes orbital surgery, lid and upper facial reconstructive procedures following trauma and tumors and cosmetic lid surgery. Oculoplastic surgeons combine ophthalmic surgery with plastic surgery and are trained in the use of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and chemosurgery to treat ocular and orbital disease.
* Pediatric Ophthalmology: The medical and surgical management of strabismus, amblyopia, genetic and developmental abnormalities and a wide range of inflammatory, traumatic and neoplastic conditions occurring in the first two decades of life.
* Vitreoretinal Diseases: The medical and surgical treatment of retinal and vitreoretinal disease. The types of diseases treated include manifestations of local, systemic and genetic diseases as they affect the retina and vitreous. Diagnosis involves the use and interpretation of ultrasound, fluorescein angiography and electrophysiology. Treatment methods include laser therapy, cryotherapy, retinal detachment surgery and vitrectomy (removal of the vitreous).