Critical Vision Consulting: An Optometry Blog

Critical Vision Consulting: An Optometry Blog

The Differences Between Optometrists And Ophthalmologists

Enni Marttila

With millions of Australians suffering from visual impairments that range from complete blindness to slightly impaired vision it is no surprise that an entire industry has been established to treat these needs. Perhaps the two most important roles in this industry are those of an optometrist and an ophthalmologist, but unless you are quite familiar with their qualifications and described purposes you may not know the difference. It is important to know which one you need and what to expect when you have an appointment with one. Here is a quick rundown:

What Is An Optometrist?

An optometrist is your primary care giver for all things eye-related. Just like a general practitioner should be your first point of contact for check-ups and medical questions, so an optometrist should be that first point of contact for all things eye-related. Optometrists can examine, test, order equipment and prescribe glasses and contact lenses. They can also determine if you are suffering from a more serious eye problem that needs further treatment. For most people an optometrist is all they will ever need to visit when it comes to the health of their eyes. An optometrist usually undergoes about four years of university to get a degree of optometry, and that gives them all the qualifications they need to cover almost all eye-related issues.

​What Is An Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a more specialised eye doctor who has the ability to perform surgery as well as do routine examinations and prescribe eyewear. If you have chronic eye problems that require more drastic action then often it will be an ophthalmologist that you visit to take care of your problem. Ophthalmologists generally receive an optometry degree as well as a medical degree, which means their time in university can be over 10 years due to the required tertiary qualifications needed to perform surgery.

So Which One Should I Visit?

In almost every case an optometrist will be more than adequate for all your eye-related needs. In fact, in many cases an optometrist will examine you and, if you need specialised treatment, they will then put you in contact with an ophthalmologist. While an ophthalmologist can perform more basic roles, in general they are more expensive and most people only use them in the event of surgery or a complicated eye condition. For your yearly check-up visiting an optometrist is totally fine and the option most Australians take. 


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About Me
Critical Vision Consulting: An Optometry Blog

Welcome to my blog. My name is Matthew, and my blog focuses on everything related to optometry, with an emphasis on making the most of your vision consultations with your optometrists. Although I am not an optometrist, I have been involved in the industry for years as a glasses wearer. I hope that the facts, ideas and range of posts about optometry here help you, and if you share them, I hope they help your friends as well. When I'm not typing on a computer, I love to do woodworking, ski, read, follow politics and spend time with my family.