Ophthalmologists and Optometrists: Do You Know the Difference?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 28-Mar-2012

In more detail, here are the differences between the two. It’s surprising how many people don’t know the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist. These are the two main types of eye doctors, and there are more differences between the two than most people realize. Typically, an optometrist is whom you might see for your annual eye exam and eyeglasses or contact lens prescription. For procedures such as LASIK eye surgery, you will see an ophthalmologist.

Education and training - Ophthalmologists are physicians who complete four or more years of premedical education in college before attending four years of medical school to receive their doctorate degree. Ophthalmologists may be doctors of medicine (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO). Like other medical doctors, ophthalmologists complete a post-doctorate internship and residency program. Not only are our doctors at Key-Whitman board-certificated in Ophthalmology by the American Board of Ophthalmology, Dr. Whitman also requires his ophthalmologists to receive an additional certification in LASIK and cataract surgery by the American Board of Eye Surgeons. In order to receive this certification, the doctors are evaluated based on their surgical technique and patient outcomes.

Optometrists, on the other hand, do not attend medical school. Instead, after completing an undergraduate degree, optometrists complete four years of graduate training to receive their optometry degree (OD). While some may complete a postgraduate clinical residency for specialist certification, it is not a requirement. At Key-Whitman, optometrists work very closely with the ophthalmologists and often assist by seeing patients for their patient’s pre and post surgical care.

Neither of these should be confused with an optician, which requires a one or two-year technical degree, certificate or diploma. Opticians assist optometrists and ophthalmologists by filling lens prescriptions, fitting contact lenses and eyeglasses and ordering eye-related products.

In many cases, ophthalmologist and optometrists will work in the same office and co-manage patients. Key-Whitman has both ophthalmologists and optometrists on staff to provide comprehensive care for all of our patient’s eye care needs from routine eye exams to LASIK eye surgery. They offer comprehensive adult eye care including offering prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses; treatment and options for cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease; reconstructive and cosmetic eyelid surgery; refractive surgery like LASIK, PRK, Implantable Contact Lenses; and refractive lens implants like Crystalens, ReSTOR and Tecnis.

When considering your eye care, be sure to stay up to date with the latest news and information about our life-changing services at Key-Whitman Eye Center. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay connected!

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