New Patient Registration Request an Appointment

What is the Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?

It seems easy enough. If you need to have your eyes examine, you go to the eye doctor. Once you start researching eye care specialists in your area or who is covered under your insurance, you may notice some doctors are listed as optometrists and some doctors are listed as ophthalmologists. For someone just looking for a routine eye exam or vision test, you can visit either. But if you have greater concerns, does it matter which type of doctor’s office you choose? What is the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

An optometrist is a physician who specializes in eye and vision care. An optometrist can perform routine eye exams, prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, perform contact lens fittings, diagnose eye health problems, and prescribe and supervise vision therapy. To become an optometrist in the United States, a candidate must earn a 4-year college degree and then attend an accredited school or college of optometry to obtain a 4-year OD (Doctor of Optometry) doctorate degree. Optometrists are primary eye care providers accounting for more than double the number of doctors with OD degrees. 

An ophthalmologist is a physician who specializes in medical and surgical eye care. Board certified ophthalmologists are required to complete 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 1 year of internship training, and a minimum of 3 years of supervised training in an accredited ophthalmology residency program. Ophthalmologists are then able to diagnose and treat all eye diseases and vision problems, prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses and perform eye surgery. While ophthalmologists can perform routine exams and diagnose mild conditions, their area of expertise extends to progressive conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma as well as surgeries including cataract removal and LASIK corrective surgery. 

For routine eye exams, you have your choice of eye doctor that you can base on any number of qualifying factors such as location, cost, medical coverage, referrals from friends and family, positive reviews and overall experience with your physician and their office. Skyline Vision Clinic offers the best of both worlds with comprehensive eye exams to meet your basic health needs as well as eye doctors who can provide you with options to slow progressive eye disease or recommend surgery to remedy vision problems. Skyline Vision Clinic is a respected leader in the fields of both optometry and ophthalmology, providing our patients with outstanding customer service in addition to the latest in medical technology. To learn more about our full scope of services, contact our office team at 719-630-3937 or schedule your appointment online at WEBSITE