Choosing the right eye specialist is a big healthcare decision. You will be entrusting your eye health and vision to other person. Thus, this person should be worthy of that trust, and help you keep a lifetime of good vision.
Before you jump from one clinic to another, you need to know that there are two types of vision correction doctors; the optometrist and the ophthalmologist, and the third “O” in eye healthcare: the optician.
Differentiating the Three
An optometrist is an eye specialist who examines eyes for both eye health and vision problems. They are called OD or Doctor of Optometry. They earned their degree after completing a four-year college degree course in the sciences, with another four years of post-graduate training in the optometry school. In this way, optometrist’s educational requirements are similar to dentists. And like the ophthalmologist, they are also required to continue education requirements as they practice their profession for them to keep their license and stay updated to the latest developments and new standards of eye care.
They are the ones who prescribe the right eyeglasses and contact lenses. Some of them can also provide more comprehensive therapies, such as vision therapy and low vision care.
Licensed optometrists in U.S.A. can also prescribe medications for patients who are in need of treatment of specific eye issues and diseases. Their scope of practice is often determined by the State Law, and each state has different guidelines for optometrists.
This type of eye specialist is also present in pre and post-operation care for patients who have undergone eye surgery conducted by an ophthalmologist. In U.S.A. however, optometrists are usually not trained and not allowed to perform eye surgery.
The ophthalmologist on the other hand, specializes in both eye and vision care. They have the educational background and highly trained to perform not just eye and vision exams, but also diagnose eye health problems, treat conditions and diseases, prescribe treatments and even perform the needed eye surgery. They can also write eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions.
They earned their title MD (Medical Doctor) or DO (Osteopathic Doctor) after completing four years of college program, another four years in medical school, a year of ophthalmologist internship, and a minimum of 3 years of a professional residency (hospital-based doctor of ophthalmology). Their education can be likened to an oral surgeon.
An optician may not be an eye doctor, but he is also a very important eye specialist for your eye health and vision. This eye professional uses the optometrists and ophthalmologist’s eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions to make the perfect pare of eyewear for good eye health and solving vision problems.
In some states in the U.S.A, opticians get their license through extensive training. Some states even require these professionals training for licensure. Some states even allow this eye professional to fit contact lenses to patients, which they can conduct after completing a training or getting a certification from a recognized eye health program.
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