Sometimes it can be tricky to understand just what responsibility an eye doctor has – especially if you visited several different specialists, each with different roles. What do all these Eye Doctors do? Well, professional eye specialists are typically divided into three different groups – optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. Let's take a look at the important roles each doctor has.
The optometrist specializes in optometry, which requires a specific degree that takes four years of a graduate program in the sciences as well as four years of professional training at an optometry school. They deal primarily in vision and common problems with eyes. When you go in to get your vision checked, these are the doctors that ask you to stare at the chart and shine bright lights in your eyes. They primarily offer advice and treatments to improve vision, including writing prescriptions for contact lenses or eyewear. They may also talk over alternatives like laser eye surgery, depending on your conditions and questions.
However, optometrists also pay attention to eye problems beyond vision. Many health problems can be picked up by observant optometrists looking at the shape and condition of your eyes. They also track many ongoing eye problems like cataracts, and can suggest corrective treatments to deal with these issues.
An ophthalmologist specializes in more advanced eye care and treatments designed to restore vision and health to your eyes. Often optometrists refer patients to ophthalmologists for a specialized opinion, surgery, medications, and a variety of other options. Ophthalmologists undergo more training for their positions, including four years of college, four years of medical school, an internship and at least three years of residency.
Ophthalmologists will typically examine your eyes for specific issues after a referral (not always necessary, but common). They can diagnose a variety of diseases or conditions accurately, and find a treatment plan that works for you. If you need eye surgery for a variety of reasons, it will be an ophthalmologist who performs the surgery. They can also take on some tasks of the optometrist, like writing prescriptions for corrective eyewear, especially if it is to correct a more unusual vision problem.
Technically an optician isn't an eye doctor, but they are still very important. In fact, like a dental hygienist, you are likely to see more of them than an actual eye doctor! Their job is to take the prescription for glasses or contacts and find the right fit for your eyes in terms of both appearance and comfort.:
Source & Reference : http://www.sweye.com/blog/doctors/what-does-an-eye-doctor-do/
An ophthalmologist - Eye M.D. - is a medical or osteopathic doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians in their levels of training and in what they can diagnose and treat. As a medical doctor who has completed college and at least eight years of additional medical training, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery and prescribes and fits eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. Many ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific research on the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision disorders.
While ophthalmologists are trained to care for all eye problems and conditions, some Eye M.D.S specialize in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. This person is called a subspecialist. He or she usually completes one or two years of additional, more in-depth training called a fellowship in one of the main subspecialty areas such as glaucoma, retina, cornea, pediatrics, neurology and plastic surgery, as well as others. This added training and knowledge prepares an ophthalmologist take care of more complex or specific conditions in certain areas of the eye or in certain groups of patients.
Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. An optometrist is not a medical doctor. An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry (OD) degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by three years or more years of college. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.
Opticians are technicians trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses, and other devices to correct eyesight. They use prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists, but do not test vision or write prescriptions for visual correction. Opticians are not permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases.
Safeguard your vision. See the right eye care professional at the right time.
We all depend on our vision in more ways that we may realize. Without healthy vision, our ability to work, play, drive or even recognize a face can be drastically affected. Many factors can affect our eyesight, including other health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Having a family member with eye disease can make you more prone to having that condition as well. Sight-stealing eye disease can appear at any time. Very often they are unnoticeable at first and are difficult to detect.
That's why it is so important to see an ophthalmologist for a complete medical eye exam by age 40, and then as often as prescribed by your Eye M.D.
Following are just some of the signs or risk factors for eye disease. If you have any of these, be sure to visit an ophthalmologist. A complete, medical eye exam by an Eye M.D. could be the first step toward saving your sight.