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Ophthalmologist vs. Optometrist: What’s the Difference?

Getting high-quality eye care is easy if you find the right provider. Unfortunately, most people are confused about which type of provider they need to see and when. In the eye care industry, knowing when to see an ophthalmologist in Tampa or an optometrist in Tampa makes a big difference in the quality of your care. Here is a deeper look at the difference between ophthalmologists and optometrists.

What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders. Ophthalmologists typically complete an internship and residency in one or more medical fields before becoming board-certified in ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists can research, diagnose and treat a wide variety of eye disorders from birth defects to cataracts.

In many ways, ophthalmologists and optometrists offer the same services. However, ophthalmologists offer medical services instead of only focusing on eye conditions. They are trained in full-body health, which lets them perform surgical eye procedures. If you need laser eye surgery in Tampa, you will go to an ophthalmologist.

What is an Optometrist?

An optometrist is an eye doctor that focuses only on eye conditions. They are primarily concerned with the way your eyes perceive light. Optometrists cannot treat diseases or emergencies, but they can diagnose and treat eye disorders such as cataracts and eye infections.

Optometrists typically complete a three-year degree in college and typically work as independent contractors. Under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), optometrists who work for a company must be certified by the Federation of Ophthalmic Examining Boards (FOEB).

When Do You Need an Ophthalmologist?

See an ophthalmologist if you have an eye condition related to your overall health. This includes any condition that requires surgery, diabetes, arthritis, and other medical conditions. You will need extensive, full-body care to treat these conditions successfully. Your ophthalmologist has the training to address eye problems related to full-body health conditions.

When Do You Need an Optometrist?

Optometrists are your first choice when you have a condition that is limited to your eyes. This includes treating conditions like cataracts and fitting you for eyeglasses. If you just need someone who can work with your eye health, then choose an optometrist.

Finding an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist

Whether you need an ophthalmologist or optometrist, you can find the help that you need at the Florida Eye Center in Tampa. Our team can provide comprehensive eye care for whatever problem you are having. Even if you do not know which professional you need to see, we can diagnose your condition and connect you with the right doctor for your needs. We also have staff members available at convenient times so that we can work around your schedule.

To schedule a consultation with a pediatric eye doctor at the Florida Eye Center, please call us at (813) 602-7336, or fill out the request form here to request an appointment.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Florida Eye Center website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services provided by the medical professionals at Florida Eye Center or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

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