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Differences Between Optometrists & Ophthalmologists January 3, 2020

Central Avenue - 29th Street, Ashland
Differences Between Optometrists & Ophthalmologists, Ashland, Kentucky

Optometrists and ophthalmologists are both eye doctors who treat ocular issues and help patients maintain clear vision. However, there are differences in the nature and scope of the work each of these professionals does, as well in their educational backgrounds. Here’s more about their differences, as well as how to choose the right one for your eye care needs.


An optometrist holds a degree as a Doctor of Optometry, often abbreviated as OD. They have completed three or more years of college, followed by four years of optometry school. While optometrists are not medical doctors, they are licensed to test, diagnose, and correct vision changes, usually through the prescription of appropriate eyewear, contact lenses, or vision therapy. They can also prescribe medications for specific eye conditions.


eye doctorsOphthalmologists are eye doctors who are also medical doctors (MDs) or osteopathic doctors (DOs). Their education is longer and more intensive than optometrists’: four years of college, four years of medical school, an internship for one year, and at least three years of an ophthalmology residency in a hospital. Because of this increased schooling and experience, ophthalmologists can handle a broader range of eye-related issues. In addition to vision correction and treatment, they diagnose and treat eye diseases, perform surgeries, and prescribe medications.

How to Choose Which Is Right for You

If you need basic vision care services like eye testing, glasses, or contact lenses, either an optometrist or ophthalmologist can help. But for the treatment of a specific ocular condition or disease, an ophthalmologist can provide a broader range of services and specialized care. Also, only ophthalmologists are allowed to perform eye surgeries, so if your issue requires surgical intervention, always visit an ophthalmologist over an optometrist.


To find quality eye care services in Ashland, KY, contact Tri-State Ophthalmology. Since 1963, they have been providing treatment for a variety of ocular problems, including cataracts, dry eye, and diabetic eye disease. Call (606) 324-2451 to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. Visit their website to explore their full list of services.

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