Most of us are aware that we need regular checkups for our bodies, teeth, and eyes. But when it comes to caring for our vision, it can be confusing to figure out the right type of eye doctor to see. You may encounter advertisements for both ophthalmologists and optometrists and wonder what the differences are between them. Below we will explore this topic in more depth so that you can make the best choices for your health and well-being.
What is an optometrist?
An optometrist is able to treat a variety of eye conditions and vision problems, prescribing corrective lenses as well as certain medications. They can perform diagnostic testing and eye exams during your regular vision checkups.
In order to become an optometrist, a candidate must undergo four additional years of training on top of college to earn an OD (Doctor of Optometry) degree and receive a license to practice. While they are not authorized to perform eye surgeries, optometrists can provide care for patients before and after their procedures.
What is an ophthalmologist?
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (MDs) who have decided on a specialization in the field of eye and vision care. These individuals have completed not only 4 years of medical school after college but also 1 year of interning and at least 3 years of residency training in a hospital ophthalmology program. They can conduct comprehensive eye exams, prescribe medications, and perform surgical procedures such as LASIK.
Which is the best choice for me? An optometrist or an ophthalmologist?
For routine eye checkups, patients can choose either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Both are good options. These medical practitioners will be able to meet your needs, administer exams, and help maintain your eyesight over time.
When it comes to dealing with certain eye conditions – glaucoma, keratoconus, macular degeneration, or cataracts – it is practical to choose an ophthalmologist. After all, this type of doctor can perform surgeries such as LASIK or PRK, if required. Often, an optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist after diagnosing eye disease.
What is the takeaway?
To sum up, both an optometrist and an ophthalmologist can help care for your eyesight. For special concerns such as laser eye surgery or cataract removal, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist. At New York Laser Vision, our team of experienced, caring professionals can answer your questions and create a treatment plan geared to meet your needs. Call us today to schedule an exam.