Choosing an eye doctor is an important health care decision. After all, you will be trusting your eye doctor to safeguard your precious sense of sight and help you maintain a lifetime of good vision.
The first step in your decision is to understand that there are two types of eye doctors:
optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Optometrists: Optometrists are medical professionals, but not physicians, who went to medical school. After college, they spent four years in a professional program and got a doctor of optometry degree. Some optometrists undergo additional clinical training after optometry school. They focus on regular vision care and prescribe eyeglasses and contacts. They:
Perform eye exams
Treat conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism
Prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses
Provide low vision aids and vision therapy
Diagnose eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and conjunctivitis
Prescribe medications for certain eye conditions
Participate in pre- or post-operative care for people who need eye surgery
Ophthalmologists: Ophthalmologists are physicians. They went to medical school. After medical school, they had a one-year internship and a residency of three or more years.
Ophthalmologists offer complete eye care services. These include:
Vision services, including eye exams
Medical eye care — for conditions such as glaucoma, iritis and chemical burns
Surgical eye care — for trauma, crossed eyes, cataracts, glaucoma and other problems
Diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions related to other diseases, such as diabetes or arthritis
Plastic surgery — for drooping eyelids and smoothing wrinkles
Choosing an Eye Doctor
When it comes to eye doctors, one type is not automatically better than the other. The right choice depends on your needs. The best eye doctor for you should:
Be recommended by your doctor, friends or family
Be appropriate to your vision problems; if you need routine eyeglass/contact lens care you have many choices. If you have a specific medical eye condition, you may want to choose an ophthalmologist.
Be someone you like and trust
For more information and to find the right eye doctor to fit your needs, contact Eyecare MPLS at 612-470-9871 or eyecarempls.com.