Endocrinologist, Gastrologist, Urologist, Optometrist, Ophthalmologist….For most of us, knowing the difference and specifics of each medical title is no easy task. When it comes to your eyes, you need to know which type of eye doctor is best for serving your needs; so that your eyes keep serving your needs for years to come.

Here’s an easy-to-understand explanation of the differences between an Optometrist and and Ophthalmologist:

Optometrist: It’s All About The Eyes.

Doctors of optometry examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders solely of the visual system, the eye and associated structures and also diagnose related systemic conditions.

They examine the internal and external structure of the eyes to diagnose eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders; systemic diseases like hypertension and diabetes; and vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. They also test one’s ability to focus the eyes, and depth perception and color accuracy.

A doctor of optometry must complete four years of undergraduate education, plus optometry school and post-graduate clinical residency in order to prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses, low vision aids, vision therapy and medicines to treat eye diseases. They are skilled in the co-management of care that affects the eye health and vision of their patients and are great in referring patients to other healthcare professionals.

Ophthalmologist: Let’s Get Surgical.

An ophthalmologist, such as Dr. Patel and Dr. Hebson at Milan Eye Center, is a physician (doctor of medicine, MD, or doctor of osteopathy, DO) who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system and in the prevention of eye disease and injury.

Four or more years of college premedical education, plus four or more years of medical school, one year of internship and three or more years of specialized medical and surgical and refractive training and experience in eye care are required in order to earn this title.

The lengthy school, training and experience qualifies an ophthalmologist to diagnose, treat and manage all eye and visual systems and is licensed by a state regulatory board to practice medicine and surgery. Ophthalmologists can address all areas of eye care, including vision services, contact lenses, eye examinations, medical eye care and surgical eye care. In addition, they can diagnose general diseases of the body and treat eye conditions as a result of systemic diseases.

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