What is the Difference Between Optometrist and Eye Doctors?

Taking care of your eyes is one of the most important parts of healthcare. The simple fact is that, for many of us, our eyesight does deteriorate with age, and it can be for one of many reasons. In some cases eyesight can deteriorate at an early age, and the patient needs to be fitted with glasses or contact lenses. This is far from unusual, as millions of people of all ages wear glasses daily to correct their sight.

It can also affect people in different ways; some have trouble seeing things at a distance, while for others the far away objects may be perfectly clear, yet objects close up are out of focus. Each of these instances can be corrected with lenses, and usually without the need for medical intervention.

There is some confusion over who does what when it comes to eyes, and that’s what we’re here to explain. We’re going to talk about two different members of the medical profession who you may need to see for problems with your eyes – the ophthalmologist (also known as the eye doctor) and the optometrist.

The Eye Doctor’s Job

An eye doctor is a professional who is medically responsible for treating eye conditions that need specific medical attention. They will have trained for many years to achieve the qualifications that are required to perform what is a very important role. Eye doctors are people who diagnose eye diseases and other problems with the eyes. If you are having problems that seem to be very serious – not limited to poor sight of any level – then it is important you see an eye doctor.

They will have a close look at the condition of your eyes, especially for any diseases or infections. If they think you need treatment or surgery – the latter can be for many problems, cataracts being among the most common – they will talk you through the process and explain what they need to do, and why. If they believe that your eyes are fundamentally healthy and you simply need glasses or contact lenses to correct your sight, they will refer you to an optometrist.

The Optometrist’s Job

An optometrist is a professional who is highly trained in understanding the inner workings of the eyes. They are the people who are responsible for routine eye care. This involves testing eyesight and checking for obvious problems in and around the eyes. If your eye doctor has examined you and is confident that your eyesight needs correction by way of spectacles or contact lenses, they will refer you to an optometrist.

The test for your eyes will be provided at an optometrists clinic like that at Prairie Eye Care Optometrists where all the equipment is present to thoroughly test your eyesight. This will be done using a series of tests that are non-invasive and proven, and involve the optometrist asking you to view various things through one or both eyes, and through a series of lenses. Once the tests are complete, they will write you a prescription for your corrective lenses.

If You Are Concerned about Your Eyes

If you do have concerns about your eyes, and they are of a medical nature beyond believing you need glasses, then it is vital you see an eye doctor. If you believe that you simply need corrective lenses – perhaps youve noticed you cant read as well as you used to – them make an appointment with an optometrist. They will be able to tell during the test and examination whether your eyes need medical attention, or they will simply test you and give you a prescription there and then.