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A 29-year-old member asked:

what is the difference between optometrist and ophthalmologist?

10 doctor answers33 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jay Pepose
Ophthalmology 39 years experience
Medical School: Ophthalmologists (eyemds) are doctors of medicine or osteopathy who complete 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, an internship, and a 3 year residency in ophthalmology. They can deliver complete medical and surgical eyecare. Optometrists are trained to diagnose and treat vision conditions, identify cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal disease, and to use some medications. They are not mds.
Dr. Thomas Patrianakos
Specializes in Ophthalmology
I agree
Nov 8, 2011
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
The public is woefully lacking in understanding the difference between an optometrist and an MD ophthalmologist. I always explain the difference as that between a lawyer and a legal assistant which somehow the average person understands.
Feb 2, 2012
Dr. Theodore Wu
Ophthalmology 22 years experience
Ophthalmologist: Ophthalmologist goes to medical school -- they treat diseases of the entire body-- then they receive special training on all eye disorders, eye surgery, glasses, contacts. An optometrist makes glasses and fits contact lenses-- they are not medical doctors.
Dr. David Miller
Dr. David Miller answered
Family Medicine 10 years experience
Physician or not: An ophthalmologist is a physician (M.D. Or D.O.) who specializes in treating diseases of the eye. They can do all the same basic stuff as an optometrist but can also prescribe drugs (like any doc) and perform surgery, etc. They go to med school just like family docs and pediatricians. Optometrists go to a different school to learn their craft and perform eye exams and prescribe lenses.
Dr. Robert Chang
Specializes in Ophthalmology
Medical school: Optometrists go to optometry school and some have "residencies" but the confusion probably comes from terms like dr and optometric physician. Ophthalmologists go to medical school, residency, and possibly fellowship and the main differences right now have to do with surgical training / experience by the time of graduation but there is a constant battle over scope of practice.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Eye docs: Optometrists are trained to fit lenses and have a smattering of knowledge of eye disease. They have legislative privileges to do more than their qualifications. An ophthalmologists is to an optometrist as a lawyer is to a legal assistant. Ophthalmologists are mds, take a board exam and are continually retested. Optoms have no board, no retesting, cannot do surgery, etc. Big difference.
Dr. Brandon Macy
Podiatry 41 years experience
If it is just for : New glasses, you can see an optometrist. For most any other eye problem see the ophthamologist. An ophthamologist is an M.D. And can perform surgical procedures, such as for cataracts and more.
Dr. Alfred H. Rivera
Ophthalmology 40 years experience
Medical doctor: An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor first prior to specializing in the eye. He has to be educated in the entire field of medicine prior to then being trained to diagnose and treat eye problems. In this fashion, an ophthalmologist, unlike an optometrist who is not a medical doctor, can identify systemic diseases when he examines a patient's eyes and deal with it or refer the patient properly.
Dr. Sadiqa Stelzner
Ophthalmology 28 years experience
Medical doctor ophth: An ophthalmologist is a medical docotor and surgeon with the extensive medical and surgical training who unerstands the whole body issues and optics(glasses and contact lenses). An optometrist is train to do a general basic eye exam and optics. Most of the time optometrists refer more advance and complex cases to the ophthalmologist for the care.
Dr. Mark Reed
Dr. Mark Reed answered
Podiatry 32 years experience
MD: Hi: ophthalmologist is a md who is surgically trained. Optometrist are trained to examined and dispense glasses and contacts. Best regards: dr. Mark reed placentia-linda foot & ankle group drs. Mark and melanie reed 1275 rose drive, suite 136 placentia, ca 92870 fax: (714) 528-0739 office: (714) 528-2252 www.Footpain.Org [email protected]
Dr. Arnold Beresh
Podiatry 41 years experience
See below : An opthamologist is an md who does study & surgery of the eyes .An optometrist does 4 years of optometry school in study of the eyes.

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CA
A 26-year-old member asked:

Any recommendations for an optometrist in palo alto?

2 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Not for optometrists: A person who might need glasses or contact lenses for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia (needs reading glasses), but otherwise has no eye symptoms, can see an optometrist (a non-medical doctor). Healthtap in 2011 has only medical doctors as experts, so has ophthalmologists (medical eye doctors who do eye surgery, treat eye diseases, prescribe medications, etc...).
Dr. Ilan Cohen
Dr. Ilan Cohen commented
Ophthalmology 25 years experience
Many optometrists can prescribe medication and medically manage eye diseases.
Mar 3, 2012
A 37-year-old member asked:

Would I see an optometrist or an opthalmologist in my situation? Want to see if it's ok for me to get contacts?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Matheson Harris
Ophthalmology 16 years experience
Either: Both can help you with this. Optometrists tend to specialize more often in complex fitting of contact lenses, but some ophthalmologists also do this.
A 31-year-old member asked:

What're the differences between optometrists, ophthalmologists, and mds?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Arnold Beresh
Podiatry 41 years experience
Several: Ophthalmologists attende medical school and receive an md or do degree and then do a residency in ophthalmology. Optometrist do 4 years at an optometry school and receive an od degree.
A 34-year-old member asked:

What's the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Marybeth Crane
Podiatry 27 years experience
MD vs OD: An opthamologist when to medical school then specialized in eyes. An optometrist went to optometry school. An opthamologist is usually an eye surgeon where optometrist specialize in making glasses.
A 35-year-old member asked:

What are the differences between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Scartozzi
Retinal Surgery 19 years experience
See below: An ophthalmologist is an md (went to medical school) who can treat medical and surgical diseases of the eye, in addition to prescribing glasses/contacts. An optometrists is an od who can prescribe glasses/contact and treat some medical eye conditions (depending on state law), but not do surgery on the eye.

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