Follow facebookyoutubevimeo

Make an appointment


or call 1.800.974.2020

eye icon“I need to see an eye doctor,” you think.

But should you see an ophthalmologist or an optometrist?

Both are trained and qualified to examine your eyes and prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses to correct your vision – but there are key differences.

Education and Training

Ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians have different educational backgrounds:

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (M.D.s) or osteopathic doctors (D.O.s). They complete a minimum of four years of undergraduate, four years of medical school, one year of internship, three years of residency and may include two years of sub-specialty training. Ophthalmologists are licensed to practice medicine and surgery, diagnose and treat eye diseases, and prescribe medications.

Optometrists complete four years of college followed by four years of training in optometry school. Optometrists are trained in prescribing glasses and contact lenses. They may prescribe medications to treat eye conditions. They cannot perform surgery. eye exam tool

Opticians fill prescriptions for glasses, prescription sunglasses or contact lenses. In addition, opticians make fitting adjustments to eyeglasses and contacts.

Your Health

If you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or a family history of eye disease, you should see an ophthalmologist.

Anyone who notices double or distorted vision, halos, floaters or flashes of light, or has eye pain, an eye injury, or bulging or tearing of the eye, should see an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists are surgeons and perform cataract surgery, LASIK, and plastic surgery around the eyes, as well as lasers and injections for treatment of macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

Are You 40?

The American Academy of Ophthalmologists recommends seeing an ophthalmologist at age 40 for a baseline eye disease screening. The ophthalmologist will dilate your eyes with eye drops, which make the pupils larger so the back of the eye can be viewed. This exam can detect eye disease early, before symptoms are noticeable and when it’s most treatable.eye glasses

How They Work Together

Think of ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians as an eye care team. If your eyes are healthy or you are interested in contact lenses, your primary eye doctor may be an optometrist. If you develop a disease or condition that requires medical care or surgery, your optometrist can refer you to an ophthalmologist. Depending on your eye health, you may return to your optometrist for regular care or continue with the ophthalmologist.