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The Difference Between Ophthalmologists and Optometrists

Whether you’re looking for a new eye doctor or going for the first time, the world of optometry is daunting because every position in the field seems to have the same name.

When should you look for an ophthalmologist? When should you contact an optometrist in Tampa?

Understanding the differences between these two doctors is essential for finding the treatment you need.

What’s an Ophthalmologist?

When it comes to eye doctors, ophthalmologists are at the top of the hierarchy. Because they have medical school training, they’re certified medical doctors (M.D.s) who can perform surgeries and provide rehabilitation treatment.

During their schooling, ophthalmologists learn how to perform eye surgery, provide treatment plans, and offer in-office care.

An ophthalmologist treats the entire visual area: eye, orbit, and visual systems.

With a full range of knowledge, surgical, and treatment capability, ophthalmologists are excellent resources for people who need eye surgery to repair vision, correct orbital or facial fractures around the eye, and rehabilitation treatment.

Among all eye doctors, ophthalmologists are the only ones who can perform all surgeries since they’ve received all the necessary training in medical school. 

An ophthalmologist can do the same things as an optometrist, but they must split their time since they also perform surgery.

What’s an Optometrist?

For most eye care patients, you’ll see an optometrist before going to an ophthalmologist. An optometrist is a doctor of optometry but doesn’t go to medical school, so they can’t perform the same types of surgeries as an ophthalmologist.

Optometrists conduct routine eye exams and help you maintain proper eye health and care. Through a series of vision tests, treatments, and diagnoses, an optometrist can help you treat eye diseases, slow down degenerative diseases, and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses in Tampa.

Although optometrists don’t perform invasive surgery, there are some types of surgeries they’re qualified to handle. These include foreign body removal and laser eye surgery, like LASIK.

Get The Eye Care You Need at Florida Eye Center

Knowing when to visit an optometrist and ophthalmologist is crucial in eye care. You’ll only see an ophthalmologist when you need invasive eye surgery or orbital surgery in most cases. An optometrist conducts frequent eye exams and helps you prevent further eye damage.

At Florida Eye Center, you get the best of both worlds with ophthalmologists and optometrists under one roof. Learn more about our team and how we can help you correct your vision today.

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