Is Optometry Similar To Ophthalmology?

When should you start seeing Susan M. Sloan, OD? Well, that depends on what type of eye doctor you need. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that there are different types of eye doctors. Unfortunately, their names can be confusing, making you wonder which kind of eye doctor can best cater to your needs. For example, there are ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians.

A brief overview will help give insight into what these three professions do. An optometrist is an eye doctor who specializes in examining, diagnosing, and treating your eyes. Meanwhile, an ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is licensed to provide both medical and surgical treatments for a wide range of eye disease conditions. Lastly, an optician is someone who dispenses contact lenses, eyeglasses, and other devices that help correct faulty or poor vision. This blog will focus on the major differences between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist.

Understanding What Optometrists Do

If you need routine eye care, you should look for an optometrist.


To become an optometrist, you must complete a postgraduate optometry program. The program usually takes four years to complete, but the duration varies depending on the school and curriculum. The optometry program tackles basic and advanced techniques of eye examination, case studies, client case history, and other courses like pharmacology. Once you enter into the program, expect to undergo full-time clinical training during the last two years of the program.


How much money does an optometrist make? The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that in 2018 the median salary of an optometrist was around $111,790.

Services Offered

Optometrists conduct yearly eye exams. So, if it’s time to have your eyes checked, you should see an optometrist. You can also visit if you need a contact prescription, a refill in your eyeglass, or if you need treatment and medications for eye diseases. But, if your eye condition necessitates surgery, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist.

Some of the services optometrists provide include routine eye examinations, eye health education, eye condition diagnosis, prescription for contact lenses and eyeglasses, and post-surgical eye care. They can also dispense controlled medications for certain eye conditions. Albeit we mentioned that surgery isn’t part of their job, some states allow optometrists to carry out minor surgical operations like laser eye surgery and foreign body removal.

Understanding What Ophthalmologists Do

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor specializing in performing surgical eye procedures.


In order to become a full-fledged ophthalmologist, one must complete a medical program before starting an ophthalmology residency program. The program can take up to 4 to 7 years. How long it will last depends on the curriculum and the school.

The residency program includes diagnosing and treating eye diseases (both internal and external), training eye disease subspecialties, and surgical training. The training also includes directly handling patients and executing surgical techniques but with supervision.


Ophthalmologists’ average salary is around $290,777 based on the data acquired by

Services Offered

If you need a prescription refill or a routine eye exam, you may visit an ophthalmologist. Furthermore, if your condition requires eye surgery like strabismus, glaucoma, or cataracts, your ophthalmologist can perform these surgeries as well. Aside from surgery, they offer basic optometry services, surgical treatment of eye diseases, and rehabilitation after surgery. Overall, ophthalmologists spend more or less twelve years’ worth of training to provide safe and efficient surgery.

How To Take Good Care of Your Eyes

How can you take good care of your eyes? There are several ways to help maintain good vision.

Eat a Balanced Diet – strive to include fruits and vegetables in your diet. You should also consume fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like tuna, salmon, and halibut because they are good for your eyes.

Healthy Weight – did you know numerous studies have shown the relationship between being overweight or obese with diabetes? In addition, people who have diabetes are more prone to develop glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Exercise Regularly – how often do you exercise? Studies show that if you regularly exercise, you’ll be able to achieve a healthy weight, which is helpful in preventing and controlling diabetes. Remember, diabetes can affect your eyesight in the long run.

Wear sunglasses – whenever you’re out in the sun, make sure you protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. Research shows that sun exposure can increase your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. So find sunglasses that can block out 100% of UVA and UVB radiation.

Now that you know the differences, you’ll be able to determine what type of eye doctor you need to visit.

Dr. Susan Sloan

Dr. Susan M Sloan is an Optometrist in Sarasota FL, who has been committed to providing professional, personal eye care to adult and children for over 30 years.

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