Opthamologist vs Optometrist


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Whether you are looking for medical treatment for your eyes, want to study to become an eye care specialist, or simply are wondering what the differences are between different types of eye care professionals, you have come to the right place!

This article will briefly explain all you need to know about the differences between an opthamologist vs optometrist, which specialist is most suitable for your eye care needs, and what it takes to become an ophthalmologist or optometrist yourself.

Opthamologist vs Optometrist – The Differences

Opthamologist vs Optometrist

Sometimes, medical terminology can be very confusing. This is even more true when it comes to eye specialists.

You may have heard the terms optometrist and ophthalmologist before, and may not be quite clear on the differences between them.

So what are the main differences between an opthamologist vs optometrist?

Well, an optometrist is an eye specialist who is not a medical doctor, but has been trained for 4 years in eye studies.

They are qualified to examine eyes and help to diagnose common eye disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma and diseases of the retina.

Although in same states optometrists can even treat these conditions, most of the time if they have diagnosed a serious eye condition they can then refer the patient to a medical doctor for treatment.

Optometrists also have the tools to examine eyes and diagnose refractory conditions such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, presbyopia and astigmatism. If one of these conditions are diagnosed, an optometrist can prescribe glasses or contact lenses. In addition, an optometrist can perform minor eye surgery such as removing foreign bodies from the eye.

An ophthalmologist, on the other hand, is a medical doctor who has then specialized in the field of eye medicine, or ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists can provide the same services as an optometrist, as well as additional specialised care such as dealing with serious eye diseases.

Ophthalmologists are able to help patients to prevent eye disease, can diagnose eye diseases, and can provide medical and surgical treatment for a variety of conditions.

Getting Treatment for Eye Problems

So how do you know which eye specialist to visit for your eye complaints? If you think that you might need glasses, and are worried about eye strain, then an optometrist is the right person to visit. In addition, if you are concerned that you may have an eye condition, you can always see an optometrist who can make a diagnosis and then refer you on to an ophthalmologist if necessary.

If, however, you have been diagnosed with a serious eye condition and need medical treatment or surgery, then you will have to visit an ophthalmologist to get appropriate care.

If you are needing to visit either one of these eye care specialists, there are numerous ways that you can go about finding a qualified professional near you. The Internet is always a great source of up to date information – simply search for an optometrist or ophthalmologist in your area, and you are sure to find some contact details.

You should then be able to call and book an appointment. Alternatively, you could make use of your local telephone directory or talk to friends who have had similar problems to see which eye specialists are recommended in your area.

Opthamologist vs Optometrist – Career Options

If you are planning a career as an ophthalmologist, this is how you go about getting the qualification. First, you will need to study to be a medical doctor. In order to do this, you will have to complete an undergraduate degree of your choosing and then enroll into medical school for a further 4 years.

After medical school is completed, you will have to spend a minimum of 3 years doing in hospital training, or a residency, in ophthalmology.

It is in your years as a resident that you will learn the skills needed to diagnose and treat medical conditions related to the eye. You can then either choose to remain a general ophthalmologist, or if you would like to study further you can sub-specialise in a specific field of eye care.

Optometrist equipmentSome ophthalmologists special in diseases such as glaucoma or corneal diseases, and can learn highly specialized skills such as how to perform corneal transplant surgery or laser eye surgery to correct refractive errors of vision.

It takes a few less years of studying to be an optometrist, on the other hand. To get into optometry school, you also need to have an undergraduate degree. In your second or third year of college, you will have to complete the Optometry Admission Test, or OAT.

All optometry schools require an OAT score. You can then apply for a position at an optometry school. If accepted, it will take you a further 4 years to become a fully qualified optometrist.

Hopefully, this article has answered any questions that you may have had about eye specialists, and most specifically about the differences between an opthamologist vs optometrist.

For additional information check out the updates on the Opthamologist vs Optometrist updates page where more information will be posted in the future.


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