An eye doctor is a medical professional who can diagnose, treat, and manage eye conditions. There are three main types of eye care professionals: optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. An optometrist is an eye doctor who can examine, diagnose, and treat the eyes. An ophthalmologist is a doctor who has completed college and at least eight years of additional medical training and is licensed to practice medicine and surgery.
An optician is a professional who can help place eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision correction devices. Optometrists and eye doctors both provide comprehensive eye care services. However, ophthalmologists have additional medical and surgical training that allows them to perform a wider range of surgical and interventional procedures. Ophthalmologists specialize in certain areas of the eye or in certain groups of patients, while optometrists may refer patients to an experienced eye doctor for medical intervention or surgical care.
Eye doctors are trained to treat all eye problems and conditions, while some specialize in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. Ophthalmologists tend to have busy schedules and are in high demand, so most work exclusively through referrals from optometrists or doctors. Depending on the scope of practice in the state, both optometrists and eye doctors can perform eye surgery. Ophthalmologists need additional personal protective equipment and additional disinfection measures in the operating room and exam areas.