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Differences between the ophthalmologists and optometrist exist and many people are unaware of this. We will try to help you make a distinction between these two. Yearly checkups and diagnoses of minor vision problems are done by an optometrist. Problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and similar, are diagnosed by an optometrist, who checks to see if you are in need of getting contact lenses or corrective eyeglasses. On the other hand, the ophthalmologist performs the same as optometrists, but also this doctor can diagnose more complicated and serious problems and perform surgeries such as retinal damage and LASIK.

Treatment Line

Today the function of optometrists has been broadened so they can perform minor surgeries, such as foreign object removal from the eye. Also, they can give prescriptions, but only for certain medication, and have in general more services at their disposal. Now they can treat problems like glaucoma, but only with a certificate or a license. They have certain range of knowledge and a patient may feel more comfortable with a ophthalmologist, who is a more specialized professional. Ophthalmologists can have certain areas of expertise, like surgical procedures, corneal, retina, pediatrics and other. Although these are highly trained professionals, each can have their area of expertise, so if one ophthalmologist has a rare or extreme case, the patient may be taken to the specialist associated with this area.

Training and Educational Difference

Post-graduate education is required for both positions, but their training and education are very different. Optometrist needs to get a bachelor’s degree and then get accepted to an optometry school, which lasts four years during which clinical training and didactic coursework is done. Rotation in medical facilities is what the last year of school is focused on. Bachelor's degree is also a stat of ophthalmologist and then a medical school must accept a student. This school lasts four years, during which many training methods and clinical assignments are performed. The school that ophthalmologists attend focuses on the whole body, while the school for the optometrist focuses only on the eye and vision. Clinical residency program is attended after this school and afterwards comes the residency on ophthalmology, which lasts three years. Specialization in a certain area lasts from one to three years and this makes the total of eight years needed in order to become an ophthalmologist The education reflects the pay, so the ophthalmologists will earn almost three times more than optometrist. While ophthalmologists earn nearly 300 000 dollars a year, optometrists get approximately 105 000 dollars.

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