You are facing eyesight problems. You are having a distorted or double vision. You are getting dizzy and weak. Where do you go? Which eye doctor in Long Island should you consult? An ophthalmologist, an optometrist, or an optician? The right answer depends on your eye problem.
There are various types of eye doctors and each doctor has his own specialty and qualification. There are medical professionals,physicians, and eye doctors in Long Island. So, which is which and who does what?
If you have been experiencing excess tearing, blurred vision, eyelid abnormalities, difficulty seeing at night, bulging of eyes, or redness, it is time to get your eyes checked by the right eye doctor. The three O’s in eye care – ophthalmologist, optometrist, and opticians have a significant role in providing eye care to people. They all want the best for your eyes. However, their functions and expertise are completely distinct from one another. Learn how to pick the right eye doctor and know how do they differ from one another. Here are the main differences between the three O’s.
Years of education and training is the foundation of an ophthalmologist.
An ophthalmologist has completed four or more years of premedical undergraduate education, four to six years of medical school, one year of internship, and three to eight years of hospital residency in ophthalmology. An ophthalmology residency means that the major area of emphasis in training is on performing eye surgeries. Overall, his education and training are similar to that of an oral surgeon.
Once licensed by a state regulatory board, an ophthalmologist can diagnose, manage, and treat eye conditions. The basic services offered by an ophthalmologist include medical eye care, surgical eye care, vision services, eye examinations, and contact lenses.
An ophthalmologist is a a medical doctor (MD) or an osteopathic doctor (DO). This means he is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. He specializes in the prevention of eye disease and injury. He prescribes medications and write prescriptions for contact lenses and eyeglasses.He delivers total eye care and performs eye surgery which other eye doctors cannot do. He is thoroughly trained to perform surgery including Lasik vision correction, removal of cataracts, and detachment of retina.
An optometrist has not attended medical school but an optometry school, instead.
An optometrist has attended four years of tertiary education and four years of post-graduate professional training in optometry school. His education is similar to that of a dentist. But there are some optometrists who have completed a one-year optional residency in a certain area.
Primary eye care services that an optometrist provides include examination and diagnosis of eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal diseases; diagnosis of related systemic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension that may have a negative impact to the eyes; and prescription of glasses, contact lenses, and low vision rehabilitation.
An optometrist is licensed to practice optometry by examining the eyes of the patient to detect the presence of vision problems; prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses; diagnosing and treating vision conditions like astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness; performing eye tests; and identifying particular eye abnormalities. Likewise, an optometrist conducts a test to know the person’s ability to focus the eyes, see colors, and judge depth.
An optometrist treats usual eye problems including dry eyes, eye infections, and glaucoma even without the guidance of an ophthalmologist. However, it is only an ophthalmologist who can provide the whole scope of treatment options for both complex and minor eye disorders.
Moreover, an optometrist can not perform eye surgery since he has not been medically trained, unlike an ophthalmologist. But in Oklahoma, an optometrist is licensed to perform non-incisional laser surgery which includes Photorefractive Keratectomy.
No medical school or optometry school is required for an optician. His education and training is acquired through a two-year technical degree, informal or on-the-job training, formal apprenticeship, or college level training to become an optician. But there are 22 states in the US like Massachusetts which require licensing for opticians.
An optician is a master of lenses. He can be manufacturing, dispensing, or ophthalmic. A manufacturing optician grinds the eyeglasses based on the prescription. A dispensing optician, through the use of the prescriptions made by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, designs, verifies, adjusts, fits, and sells eyeglasses and contact lenses. An ophthalmic optician is quite similar to an optometrist.
The three O’s in eye care are different from one another- from their educational requirements, training, to what they can diagnose, treat, and perform. But despite their differences, they all provide and promote eye health.
So, should you see an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, or an optician?
If you want to fit your eyeglasses to your prescription, it is best to visit a nearby eyeglass boutique and look for an optician. For your daily eye care needs, it is recommended to consult with an optometrist. An optometrist is more accessible and reachable than an ophthalmologist. But if your eye health problem is serious and needs a more comprehensive examination, an ophthalmologist is the best choice. He is the most appropriate eye doctor to see especially if your eye problem results from a trauma, surgery, or infection.
No eye doctor is actually better than the other. It is just knowing who is the right eye doctor for your problem. Visit an optometrist, an ophthalmologist, or an optician once a year and keep your eyes healthy to see the best of yourself and of this world.