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The Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist

The Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist

The Michigan Eyecare Institute has been providing eye care to Southfield, Dearborn, and Livonia for years. We would like to explain how an optometrist and an ophthalmologist play different roles in eye care and how your eyesight relies on you seeing the right type of eye doctor at the right time.


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in eye or vision care. An ophthalmologist differs from an optometrist in the level of training completed and what they are able to diagnose and treat. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have completed college and eight years of extra training. An ophthalmologist is licensed to practice both surgery and medicine. These doctors diagnose and treat eye diseases, perform eye surgery, and prescribe and fit eyeglasses to correct any vision problems. Many also do scientific research on the cures for vision disorders and eye diseases. Ophthalmologists are trained for all eye problems and conditions but some specialize in specific areas. Specialists complete one or two years of additional training for specialty areas, such as glaucoma, pediatric eye care, or neurology. This added training helps prepare an ophthalmologist to take care of more specific or complex conditions pertaining to ailments of the eye.


Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide vision care that ranges from eye testing to the correction of vision changes. Optometrists are not actually medical doctors but they receive a doctor of optometry degree after finishing four years at an accredited optometry school. Optometry primarily involves eye exams and vision tests, detecting eye abnormalities, and prescribing corrective lenses and medications for certain eye issues.

Visiting an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist

You depend on your vision more than you realize. Many factors can affect your eyesight and having a family history of eye problems can make you even more prone. Visiting an ophthalmologist before the age of 40 for a complete medical exam is necessary. If you have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure, HIV or AIDs, or thyroid disease, you may need to see an ophthalmologist even sooner. If you have double vision, excess tearing, see halos, family history of eye disease, injury to the eye, misaligned eyes, pain in the eye, or unusual red eye then book an appointment with the Michigan Eyecare Institute in Southfield, Livonia, and Dearborn today by calling 248-352-2806.

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