What is the difference between an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist?
Choosing an eye care provider 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.
An optometrist is an eye doctor who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. An optometrist generally must complete a four-year college degree program in the sciences, plus four years of post-graduate professional training in optometry school. In this regard, the educational requirements of an optometrist are similar to those of a dentist. Optometrists examine eyes for both vision and health problems, correct refractive errors, and prescribe medications to treat certain eye problems and diseases. The scope of medical care that can be provided by optometrists is determined by state law and the extent of the doctor’s own scope of practice. Optometrists also may participate in your pre- and post-operative care if you have eye surgery performed by an ophthalmologist.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists generally complete four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of internship, and a minimum of three years of hospital-based residency in ophthalmology. They are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat disease, prescribe medications and perform eye surgery.
So (to extend the analogy with dentistry), whereas the education of an optometrist is similar to that of a general dentist, the education and training of an ophthalmologist are more similar to that of an oral surgeon. Both optometrists and ophthalmologists are required to fulfill continuing education requirements on an ongoing basis to maintain their license and stay current with the latest standards of eye care.
What medical care does Visionary Eye Center offer?
Dr. Westcott obtained her doctorate and completed a residency program in Ocular Disease. See Meet Our Doctor under Team for information on her credentials and background.
Common Conditions Include:
- Dry eye
- Diabetic retinopathy
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Autoimmune (SLE, RA, Sjjogren etc)
- Ocular surface disease
- Corneal irregularities / Keratoconus
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Triage (acute pain, double vision, red eye etc)
- Foreign body
- Macular degeneration
Our doctor is very adept at identifying ocular conditions and works closely with area physicians and sub-specialists to ensure complete care for all patients. The health of our patients is paramount, we will coordinate with other physicians to meet our patients every need.