What is the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

At the Longwood Eye & LASIK Center of Gardner, Springfield, Greenfield, and Fitchburg, MA, we have two types of providers that can help you with your eye and vision health, including optometrists and ophthalmologists. But many patients considering an examination will often ask about the differences between these two types of doctors. Continue reading to find out more and compare these two professionals.

What is the difference?

Understanding the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist is important when it comes to choosing the right eye doctor for you. Both ophthalmologists and optometrists are trained to provide comprehensive eye exams, prescribe corrective lenses, and detect certain eye disorders. However, ophthalmologists are also trained in diagnosing and treating more serious eye conditions and performing surgery.

If you have a medical family history of specific eye diseases, if you are over the age of 40, or if you have diabetes and other chronic health condition, you should see an ophthalmologist for regular checkups. Even if you don’t have any risk factors for serious eye problems, it’s a good idea to see an ophthalmologist at least once in your life for a comprehensive exam.

Optometrists, on the other hand, are primary care providers for eye health. They are trained to perform comprehensive eye exams, prescribe corrective lenses, and detect certain eye disorders. However, they are not trained in diagnosing or treating more serious eye conditions. If you have a problem that requires treatment beyond corrective lenses or over-the-counter medication, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist.

In general, ophthalmologists are better suited for more serious eye problems, while optometrists are better suited for routine care and preventive measures. However, both types of doctors can provide excellent care for your eyes. The most important thing is to find an eye doctor that you trust and who you feel comfortable with.

How do I schedule an appointment with a professional at the Longwood Eye & LASIK Center?

If you reside in the communities of Springfield, Fitchburg, Gardner, or Greenfield, MA, and are interested in working with a doctor who can help with vision and eye health, connect with our team of professionals at any of our four office locations. Call 800-676-5050 to request an appointment. We are open to our new and returning patients in and around the area who are seeking experienced optometrists and ophthalmologists at our facility.


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