Difference Between Optometrists and Ophthalmologists
We would all like to know who is actually looking after our vision. An optometrist and an ophthalmologist are both eye care professionals, but they have different levels of training and expertise. This article aims to shed light on the differences between optometrists and ophthalmologists, and the services they provide.
What is an Optometrist?
Optometrists are a key part of the healthcare system, specialising in the field of eye care. Their expertise includes performing examinations and addressing common conditions affecting vision. When it comes to getting routine check-ups or acquiring corrective lenses, they are the professional who typically serves you. Acting as an initial point of contact if you will.
The General Optic Council is responsible for overseeing professional standards and regulations within the area of optometry. From examining and diagnosing eye health issues to prescribing corrective eyewear or medical treatments, optometrists offer comprehensive eye care services. Some Optometrists choose to specialise and undertake further training and qualifications. A prescribing Optometrist can prescribe medications for the treatment of various eye conditions and has become an ‘eye GP’ in effect. Other specialities can include Paediatrics including School Vision, Glaucoma and Medical Retina including Age Related Macula Degeneration.
What is an Ophthalmologist?
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialise in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of eye diseases and disorders. They have comprehensive knowledge of the entire visual system and are trained to provide both medical and surgical eye care.
They typically have spent 5 years of study at medical school and 2 years as a newly qualified doctor. A further 7 years of specialist ophthalmic training is then taken before passing very stringent examinations set by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. An Ophthalmologist generally works within a hospital setting although some will also undertake private work.
A Consultant Ophthalmologist is a very experienced doctor who is an expert in clinical care, assessment and treatment of patients and is competent in a range of practical and surgical skills.
Choosing between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist
To summarise, Optometrists primarily focus on routine eye care, including vision testing, prescribing corrective lenses, and diagnosing and managing common eye conditions. However, Ophthalmologists have a broader scope of practice, providing comprehensive medical and surgical eye care, handling complex eye diseases, and perhaps performing surgeries.
If you require a routine eye examination or need your prescription lenses corrected, an optometrist is generally sufficient. They can provide a comprehensive service and prescribe appropriate lenses based on your individual needs.
If you are suffering from a more complex eye condition, one that may require surgery, you will likely consult with an ophthalmologist. Typically, ophthalmologists have a greater level of expertise and can handle more advanced treatments.
Get in touch
Focus Medical Eye Centre can help give you great knowledge, a full range of spectacles and contact lenses as well as easy payment plans. We see customers for standard optician and optometrist appointments from all around the area of East Sussex, and will always welcome new customers.
We also offer the services of Mr Shahram Kashani; an associate of Focus Medical Eye Centre and a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Eastbourne NHS Trust. He is able to offer services in his speciality of complex cataract surgery and retinal vascular disorders as well as general ophthalmic conditions including Glaucoma and Cataracts. Mr Kashani offers private appointments at Focus Medical Eye Centre at weekends subject to request.