|Discovering the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist is
one of the first steps you should take when choosing your vision care provider.
Below is some additional information to help you find which doctor is best for
What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a physician -- a medical doctor (MD) or doctor of
osteopathy (DO) -- who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of eye
diseases or other conditions. Ophthalmologists also often provide routine vision
care services such as prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. The training
required to become an ophthalmologist is strenuous. It includes at least four
years of medical school (after undergraduate college); a one-year internship in
general medicine, usually at a hospital; and a three-year residency in
ophthalmology at an accredited teaching program.
How is an Ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) different from other eye care
You may have heard of other eye care professionals, such as optometrists and
opticians. They are trained and authorized to provide certain aspects of eye care,
but they are not medical doctors. Optometrists generally provide routine vision
care services, prescribe eyeglasses and fit contact lenses. Some optometrists, if
properly licensed, may be permitted to treat certain eye diseases within limits
specified under state law. Optometrists may not perform any form of surgery.
Opticians dispense eyeglasses, but do not perform eye exams or treat any eye
diseases. At the present time, opticians are not required to be licensed in most