Keeping your eyes healthy and making sure you have the best vision possible are important to your overall health and quality of life. If you are experiencing challenges with your vision, dry eyes or other eye problems, an eye doctor can help you determine the best course of action and treatment. Making sure you pick the best eye doctor in Long Island can make a big difference in the quality and efficacy of the treatment you receive, so make sure you do your homework and take due diligence in picking your eye health care provider. There are two different and distinct classifications of eye doctors and understanding the difference between the two can help you make an informed and educated decision.
What Types Of Eye Doctors Are There?
While once known as oculists and vision therapists, today’s eye doctors are known as optometrists and ophthalmologists. Eye doctors provide services relating to vision and the eyes and have received specialized training and education in the care and treatment of eyes and vision problems, difficulties, and abnormalities.
Are Optometrists And Ophthalmologists The Same?
While both optometrists and ophthalmologists specialize in eye and vision care, there are big differences between the types of services they provide and what they can do to help their patients. Both optometrists and ophthalmologists can prescribe medications and treatment regimens and both can give eye exams, but each eye doctor has other services they can offer that differentiate them from one another.
What Does An Ophthalmologist Do?
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have completed medical school and also completed an internship and a residency of three or more years focused on eye care and treatment. Offering a full range of services, ophthalmologists can conduct eye exams as well as perform medical care for eye conditions like glaucoma, chemical burns and iritis. Some people with arthritis and diabetes have eye problems that an ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat to help alleviate vision problems and other eye problems. Additionally, ophthalmologists can perform surgical procedures to correct crossed eyes, cataracts and other issues caused by injury or trauma. Patients interested in smoothing wrinkles or drooping eyelids can call on the services of an ophthalmologist to correct their appearance with plastic surgery.
What Does An Optometrist Do?
Optometrists are medical professionals, but they are not physicians. After completing an undergraduate college degree, optometrists complete a four year program to receive a degree in optometry. Focusing on total eye and vision care, optometrists prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses. Other services an optometrist can provide include:
- Diagnosis of glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and conjunctivitis
- Fitting of eye glasses
- Provide low vision therapy
- Provide low vision aids
- Therapy for lazy eye
- Treatment of astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness and other conditions
- Pre and post operative care for patients requiring surgery
- Vision services in addition to eye exams
- Determining and diagnosing vision problems in infants, babies and children who cannot yet read or recognize and verbalize letters on standard eye exam charts
Specializing in vision and optics, an optometrist offers an extensive range of services to help their patients see clearly and to make sure they have the proper medical and vision prescriptions for their needs and challenges.
For most people, an optometrist is the best choice for their eye care needs. Offering a full range of services and usually having a wider range of appointment options than ophthalmologists, optometrist are the best choice for day to day eye care and vision needs. In addition to more flexible appointment times, most optometrists offer a larger range of eye glasses and and frame options than ophthalmologists. An optometrist also performs eye exams and glasses fittings on a daily basis and usually performs more refractions than an ophthalmologist making them a bit more nuanced in the art and science of examinations and fittings since they are doing them day in and day out. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect and an optometrist practices exams and fittings every day making them the perfect choice for your eye care needs.
Additionally, an optometrist is usually a better choice for most people because their service charges are lower in cost than those of an ophthalmologist. It just makes sense to get the same types and quality of eye exams, vision services, care and treatments an ophthalmologist provides at the rate an optometrist offers. If you have a problem that requires surgery, your optometrist can help refer you to a qualified ophthalmologist who can take care of you and you can rest assured that you are getting top quality care from an expert team of eye care professionals who can work together to determine the best course of customized care and treatment for you.
Making sure your eyes and eye sight are as healthy and strong as possible is important and should be taken seriously. If you have eye or vision problems that need attention, ask your primary care physician or other health care provider for an optometrist reference. Finding the right eye care professional is crucial to your eye health, so be sure to ask for referrals to ensure you are receiving quality care from a trusted care provider.