Optometrists are health professionals who provide primary visual care that ranges from eye tests and corrections to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of changes in vision. An optometrist is not a doctor, but they are highly trained eye care professionals who have earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by at least three years of college. Optometrists are licensed to practice optometry, which consists primarily of performing eye exams and tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases. They are like a general practitioner for the eyes, providing a variety of primary eye care services.
For medical eye care and the ongoing treatment of chronic eye diseases and conditions, a medical optometrist is ideal for primary medical eye care. Optometrists are perhaps best known for their expertise in vision correction and care. They provide nonsurgical medical care for diseases and conditions that affect the eyes. Visit your medical optometrist for primary medical eye care, including prescribing eye medications, eye disease management and management, or emergency eye care services.
The main difference between an eye doctor and an optometrist is that an eye doctor graduates from medical school and can perform surgeries and other complicated procedures to treat eye abnormalities, while an optometrist graduates from optometry school and is primarily engaged in non-surgical eye care services. Many think that all three are considered types of eye doctors; only eye doctors are eye doctors, but opticians, optometrists, and eye doctors play important roles in eye care. In addition to primary eye care, the medical optometrist also plays an important role in general medical care. If you need medical intervention or surgical care, your optometrist can refer you to an experienced eye doctor.
However, unlike eye doctors, optometrists don't perform complex eye surgery, such as cataract surgery. Both eye doctors and optometrists play important roles in eye care, but their levels of training and experience are very different. While medical optometrists can also offer vision correction services and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, they are dedicated to providing primary medical eye care, evaluating eye health, monitoring and diagnosing diseases in their earliest stages, and providing a wide variety of therapeutic interventions. An eye doctor can provide many of the same services as an optometrist, and in fact, many provide comprehensive eye care.