Essential Things to Know About an Eye Doctor

Safeguarding your sense of sight is essential, and that’s why you need to choose an eye doctor carefully to help maintain a good vision. These doctors can diagnose your sight problems, perform vision tests, analyze the results, and prescribe visual aids to rectify your vision problems.

Types of eye doctors

Before you decide to choose an eye doctor, you should understand that two types of eye doctors exist in the industry: optometrists and ophthalmologists. Many think that both of them provide the same kind of service, but that’s not the case. Here’s everything you need to know about optometrists and ophthalmologists:


Optometrists have the Doctor of Optometry degree. These doctors can test your eyes and health problems. They can rectify refractive errors by prescribing contact lenses and eyeglasses. Many optometrists also offer vision therapy and low vision care. Licensed optometrists also prescribe medication depending on the eye problem you are facing. However, optometrists can only provide medical care to the patients according to the law prescribed by the state.

Eye diseases should always be diagnosed quickly to prevent severe damage. That is why it is essential that you contact your nearest optometrist whenever you don’t have a clear vision or experiencing any difficulty with your sight. These doctors can also inspect your eyes before and after eye surgery. Optometrists need to finish a four-year college degree program and an additional four years of post-graduate training in an optometry school. They can continue with their education and keep practicing at the same time.


Ophthalmologists are medical doctors. They are a doctor of osteopathic medicine, and they specialize in both eye and vision care. They can diagnose eye diseases, perform eye exams and eye surgery, and prescribe medication. Unlike optometrists, their scope of medical care is not limited by the state laws. They can prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses to patients.

Ophthalmologists need to complete four years of college, another four years in medical school, a year of internship, and at least three years of hospital-based residency in the ophthalmology department. Their scope of learning and practicing is more than optometrists.


Opticians are not typically eye doctors. However, they are an essential part of the eye care team. They are the guys who go through the prescriptions provided by ophthalmologists and optometrists to make the eyeglasses and contact lenses. In many states, a license is necessary to become an optician. They also need to obtain formal training to get the license.

Confusion between optometrists and ophthalmologists

eye doctor clinic

Many patients don’t understand the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists because their practice areas are quite similar. Both of them perform routine eye checkups because both are trained to diagnose, detect, and manage various types of eye diseases. These may or may not require medical treatment.

But the severity of the eye problem decides who you should visit. Patients who have macular degeneration, cataracts, or glaucoma needs to go to an eye doctor who is highly experienced and skilled. It should be someone who can make sure that the eye problem is completely gone after they suggest the treatments. Ideally, you should visit a trained ophthalmologist in these cases. In fact, if you are facing any severe disease in your eyes, you should consult an ophthalmologist because they have a broader scope of treatment since they can provide a combination of medicines.

Optometrists, on the other hand, can also diagnose and treat different eye diseases, but since their medical care scope is limited, they may be unable to provide the best medicines to cure the issue. They are best suited for eye diseases like allergies, dry eyes, and correcting near or farsightedness. Moreover, if your eyes need surgery, then your optometrist may recommend treatment from an experienced ophthalmologist.

Choosing an eye doctor

Now that you know the types of eye doctors, it shouldn’t be challenging to find one in your locality. But make sure you search for someone experienced. He/she should also have the latest tools in the chamber to provide the best treatment to the patients. In addition to experience and advanced tools, you also need to check the reviews of patients who are already under the doctor’s treatment. You can search online for the most experienced ophthalmologist if you are facing severe eye problems. Checking the reviews give you a sense of reliability and comfort. Having faith in the doctor is essential if you want to recover quickly.

Since your vision is at stake here, you should always research thoroughly before finalizing on an eye doctor so that you don’t compromise on your eye care. Most importantly, you should follow what the doctor tells you to do. Quick action is essential when it comes to eye care. Whether it is an allergy or sight problems, you shouldn’t delay going to the doctor because the more you lose time, the quicker the issue becomes more severe.