Should I See an Ophthalmologist or an Optometrist?

Have you ever had an eye infection, scheduled an eye exam, or needed eye surgery? If so, you likely noticed there are different kinds of eye doctors. From optometrists to ophthalmologists, confusion may arise about who to see and when.

The difference is not just about the difficulty of spelling “ophthalmologist.” Each eye care professional plays a crucial role in eye care, and it is helpful to know the difference.

What Is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a highly trained medical doctor licensed to practice medicine and perform surgical procedures. They are a secondary source of eye care and often collaborate with optometrists.

Ophthalmologists undergo extensive medical training, including specialized training in ophthalmology. Some even choose to specialize further in specific areas. These include pediatrics, neurology, glaucoma, retinal conditions, plastic surgery, and more. This focused training, known as a Fellowship, usually lasts an extra year.

eye doctor

Ophthalmology Services and Treatments

Ophthalmologists offer a range of eye care services. They can also provide comprehensive eye care. They have specialized training and subspecialize in specific areas. They have the knowledge and skills to perform various interventional and surgical procedures.

Here are a few examples of what they can offer:

  • Interventional and surgical treatments for corneal diseases, iritis, and glaucoma.
  • Advanced surgical care for glaucoma, childhood ocular conditions, cataracts, and other issues.
  • Plastic surgery procedures to address issues in the surrounding areas.

When You Should See an Optometrist

Visit an optometrist for general eye care needs, such as vision correction and eye exams. A medical optometrist is ideal if you need treatment for chronic eye conditions. Do you need medical intervention or surgical care? If so, an optometrist often refers patients to a seasoned ophthalmologist.

What Is an Optometrist?

An optometrist, also known as a doctor of optometry, is the primary eye care provider. They are similar to general practitioners for the body. The specific services offered may vary from one practice to another. That said, they offer a broad spectrum of essential eye care services.

Optometry Services and Treatments

Optometrists offer primary eye care services such as vision care and correction. These eye care specialists focus on enhancing visual acuity. They work to ensure patients receive optimal care.

Here are a few of the services they offer:

  • Fitting and managing contact lenses.
  • Providing personalized eyewear solutions and updating eyeglass prescriptions.
  • Comprehensive vision assessments and eye exams.
  • Detection and examination of common eye conditions.

When You Should See an Optometrist

Your optometrist can meet a lot of routine eye care requirements. Regular eye exams ensure optimal eyesight and eye health. Early detection is key in addressing many eye diseases. Some of these conditions can progress without noticeable symptoms. That makes routine eye exams a crucial aspect of eye health maintenance.

The type of eye doctor you see will depend on the extent of care required. See your optometrist for vision correction and general eye care. An ophthalmologist is the best option for surgical treatments and eye disease management for severe eye conditions.

For more eye care tips, schedule an appointment with Progressive Ophthalmology in Queens, New York, or call 718-565-2020 today.