Ophthalmologist vs. Optometrist

What is the Difference Between an Ophthalmologist & an Optometrist?
Posted on 05/01/2019

What is the Difference Between an Ophthalmologist & an Optometrist?

Your eyes make it possible to see all the beauty the world offers. Quality eye care can help you maintain your vision so you can continue to enjoy the view. When it comes to choosing an eye doctor, it’s important to know whether an ophthalmologist or an optometrist is right for you. The Mitchell Eye Center is happy to explain the difference to you.

What is an Ophthalmologist?

Our eye doctors at Mitchell Eye Center are expert ophthalmologists. An ophthalmologist is either a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) who specializes in vision and eye care. In addition to writing prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses, ophthalmologists perform eye exams, prescribe medications, perform eye surgery, and diagnose and treat eye diseases.

Because ophthalmologists have such a precise and specialized job, they undergo extensive training. Following four years of college, ophthalmologists attend four years of medical school, followed by a one-year internship. Finally, each ophthalmologist completes a minimum of three years of hospital-based ophthalmology residency. For more information about our ophthalmologists, read the bios of our esteemed Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Kubal.

What is an Optometrist?

Another type of eye doctor is an optometrist. An optometrist must have a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists conduct eye exams to determine vision and health problems. Additionally, they can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. While an optometrist may assist in pre and post-operative care during eye surgery, optometrists are typically not trained or licensed to perform eye surgery. Instead, an ophthalmologist will perform your eye surgery, and an optometrist may assist.
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Choosing an Eye Doctor

Understanding the difference between these types of eye doctors is an important first step to selecting your provider. When deciding on your eye doctor, there are also a few additional factors to consider.

  1. If your eyes are healthy and you have few vision concerns, it may be a simple matter of preference. Since both an optometrist and an ophthalmologist can conduct eye exams and write prescriptions, both types of eye doctor could meet your basic vision needs.
  2. Meanwhile, though an optometrist can treat some eye and vision issues, certain eye disorders require the expert treatment of an ophthalmologist. Rather than being referred out to an ophthalmologist for the first time when an issue arises, some patients prefer to work with an ophthalmologist from the offset.
  3. Another factor to keep in mind determining what type of eye doctor to use is insurance. Determining if a certain ophthalmologist or optometrist accepts your insurance can help you figure out how much you will need to pay for each exam or visit. You can get payment information for our eye center online; you may also call our Boca Raton office directly at (561) 451-0655.

Visit Mitchell Eye Center in Boca Raton

Our ophthalmologists at Mitchell Eye Center are dedicated to providing you with lifelong vision and eye health. When you visit our eye doctors in Boca Raton, you can expect both quality care and a comfortable environment. If you have questions about any eye conditions or eye treatments we offer, contact our Boca Raton office today. We look forward to working with you!