What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist?
An Ophthalmologist (eye specialist) is a medical doctor with additional specialised training in all aspects of eye care – medical, surgical and optical.
Ophthalmologists are different from optometrists and opticians in their training and in what they can diagnose and treat. As a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practise medicine and surgery. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery and prescribes and fits glasses and contact lenses.
5 years of medical school
2 years of internship
1 year of community service
4 years, at least, of residency (hospital-based training) in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of eye disorders.
An optometrist is not a doctor, but someone who is licensed to practise optometry. Optometrists determine the need for glasses and contact lens and prescribe optical corrections. Optometrists do not perform surgery. Optometrists attend five years some four years of college. They do not attend Medical School and are not trained in systemic diseases of the body.
An optician fits, adjusts and dispenses glasses, contact lenses and other optical devices on written prescriptions of a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist.