Distinguishing Between Ophthalmologists & Optometrists

Ophthalmologist vs Optometrist

At times, it can be difficult to differentiate between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist, especially when you have trouble with your vision or glasses. Knowing the distinctions between these professionals is important for someone with weak vision, so they know who to contact when facing issues.


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in eye care. They have an MD degree and are knowledgeable about the internal structure of the eyes, providing assistance in case of eye injuries. Ophthalmologists are trained to diagnose and treat eye-related conditions and perform eye surgeries. They are licensed by state authorities to conduct surgeries and prescribe medications for various eye ailments.


An optometrist is a professional trained in devices for better vision, such as glasses and lenses. They hold a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and are responsible for testing vision and prescribing lenses of specific power. While they can detect and suggest remedies for some eye diseases, they typically refer patients to an ophthalmologist for proper treatment and focus on prescribing the correct glasses and lenses.

Optometrists can detect underlying medical conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, astigmatism, and retinal disorders that may affect vision even with the correct glasses. They are considered primary eye care specialists and are usually the first eye professionals a person sees before being referred to an ophthalmologist.

Key Takeaways

  • Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eye care, while optometrists are trained professionals who prescribe glasses and lenses for better vision.
  • An ophthalmologist can perform surgery and prescribe medications for eye ailments, while an optometrist focuses on diagnosing vision issues and prescribing corrective lenses.
  • Optometrists are often the first eye care specialists a person sees and can refer patients to ophthalmologists for further treatment if necessary.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles