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3 Differences Between Seeing an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist

If you are making an eye appointment, then you may be a bit confused when you see optometrist and ophthalmologist as your choices. In fact, you may be like many others who aren't sure which one is the right professional to see for the eye issue you are having. Here are three differences between seeing an optometrist and seeing an ophthalmologist that may help you narrow down the right choice for you.

1. Injuries and Disorders 

One of the first differences between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist deals with eye injuries as well as diseases and disorders. When you have an eye injury, such as a dislocated retina from a severe accident, you would go to an optometrist to have the injury analysed and diagnosed. They will also discuss the treatment plans for your eye injury or disorder and plan for surgery if it is required.

2. Surgery Needs

If it is found that your eye injury or illness requires surgery, an optometrist may be able to suggest that the surgery is done. However, they will not be the one performing the eye surgery. They will make a referral to the ophthalmologist for further diagnosis and testing. They will also let the ophthalmologist know that surgery was recommended. The ophthalmologist will look over the optometrist's notes on your issues and injuries to determine if further testing may be required or if a surgical procedure is the next course of action. They will then schedule the surgery and perform the necessary procedures.

3. Eyesight Correction

If you are need of a new prescription for your eyesight, new glasses or contacts, then an optometrist would be the professional to schedule an appointment with. They can also help if you are having issues with your contacts, sudden problems seeing even with the corrective lenses or if you believe bifocals may be necessary. If they find that there is a larger issue causing your eyesight problems, they may refer you to the ophthalmologist if other treatments do not work.

Keep in mind; if you are having an eye issue that is affecting your health, your primary physician may make the referral to the eye professional for you. If they do not, you can use the differences mentioned here to try and narrow down the most ideal option for your needs. Make sure to schedule a consultation before the appointment if you have any questions prior to an exam.