When you are looking for an eye doctor, you may get confused about the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. The truth about these two positions is that both are eye doctors. They are both qualified to prescribe eye glasses, and diagnose a variety of conditions including glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachments, and other diseases and disorders. They are also both qualified to prescribe medication to treat diseases such as pink eye.
Do You Understand the Difference?
The difference between the two doctors is the degree they hold and they schooling they had. Ophthalmologists are M.D.s. They had to complete four years of undergraduate study, followed by four years of medical school, followed by four years of residency at a hospital. An optometrist is an O.D. which stands for doctor of optometry. They also had to complete a four year undergraduate degree. They then attended optometry school, which takes an additional four years. There is no residency period to become an optometrist.
The largest difference in the qualifications between an M.D. and an O.D. is that M.D.s are qualified to perform eye surgery. It does not matter whether the operation is being done in a hospital or at the doctor’s office. Any time you are having any surgical procedure done on your eye, you have to see an ophthalmologist.
If you are looking for an eye doctor to visit for routine checkups and maintenance of your vision, an optometrist is more than qualified to meet your needs. Should a more serious condition arise, your optometrist will be able to identify the early warning signs and get you the treatment that you need. If they are not qualified to provide this treatment, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist.
Ophthalmology is a specialization among medical doctors, but it can get more specific than that. Some ophthalmologists choose a very particular specialization, such as the treatment of glaucoma, problems involving the retina, or problems involving the cornea. If you visit an ophthalmologist they will be qualified to perform whatever surgery you may need, but they might also refer you to a subspecialist who has received even more training in a particular area.
Some ophthalmologists choose to go into research instead of opening a practice. They focus on discovering the causes of eye diseases and disorders. Once an exact cause is known, it becomes much easier to develop an effective treatment. Many ophthalmologists are involved in research to some extent, even if they have not chosen to dedicate their entire career to it.
Both O.D.s and M.D.s are eye doctors who are capable of taking care of the routine maintenance that most people require to keep their vision functioning properly. M.D.s have received more training than O.D.s and are more qualified to handle severe cases that may require surgery.