When Should I See an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist?

Visit your medical optometrist for primary medical eye care, including prescribing eye medications, eye disease management and management, or emergency eye care services. An eye doctor is the right professional to consult for interventions such as surgical treatments for serious eye diseases, advanced eye problems, or refractive eye surgery. Optometrists and ophthalmologists work together to ensure that your eyes are healthy, and who to go to depends on what you need. For a general eye exam and a prescription for eyeglasses, an optometrist is the right place to start.

Optometrists can refer you to an eye doctor if you need specialized care or surgery. This collaboration can be cost-effective and provide optimal care for your eyes. So when should you see an ophthalmologist instead of an optometrist? Today's blog post provides information on both fields, as well as how to know when to consult each of them. A study found that, by working together, eye doctors and optometrists can use healthcare resources more wisely, benefiting everyone.

The training of opticians varies, but most opticians are trained and have obtained an optician's certificate or have completed an internship with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians are the three main professionals included in the “eye care team”. Optometrists and general practitioners may see eye doctors for treatment of certain eye diseases that normally require surgery or if the condition requires complex medical intervention. Many optometrists can also offer vision therapy and rehabilitation after brain injury, specific care for vision problems that contribute to learning difficulties, management of myopia, and more.

Opticians are trained to design and adjust eyeglass lenses according to prescriptions provided by eye doctors or optometrists; they do not perform vision tests. Optometrists, on the other hand, focus primarily on vision care and correction to diagnose changes in vision. Optometrists also prescribe contact lenses and the full range of frames and optical lenses, including complex prescriptions for multifocal, high-index and transitional lenses. Where you live and whether or not you have health care coverage can also influence whether you see an optometrist or an eye doctor for your eye health.

It is important to understand the differences between these two professions in order to make sure you get the best possible care for your eyes.

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