WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST AND AN OPTOMETRIST?
There are two types of eye doctors, and the difference between “optometrist” and “ophthalmologist” is more than just their different spellings. It’s not surprising that many people aren’t sure which is which.
Ophthalmologist: Total Eye Care
Ophthalmologists are physicians – (MDs) or (DOs). MDs and DOs complete four or more years of college premedical education, four years of medical school, and one year of internship to get their doctorate degrees. After they become licensed physicians, they undergo a residency of three or more years. This consists of medical and surgical specialty training specifically in eye care. Ophthalmologists provide complete eye care services. These include:
- Vision services — including eye exams
- Medical eye care — for glaucoma, iritis, chemical burns, macular degeneration, infections in or around the eye, etc.
- Surgical eye care — for trauma, eyelid lesions, cataracts, glaucoma, cornea diseases, etc.
- Diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions related to other diseases, like diabetes (diabetic retinopathy), arthritis (iritis), or neurologic conditions (multiple sclerosis/optic neuritis)
- Eye disease and injury preventive services
- Plastic surgery — some ophthalmologists offer this service for drooping eyelids or skin tumors.
Optometrist (OD): Vision Care and Eye Care Services
Optometrists are trained to diagnose and treat vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. They are trained in prescribing eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye exercises, low vision aids, and vision therapy. They are also trained to identify cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal disease, and to use medications to treat eye disease. Optometrists complete an undergraduate degree before beginning four years of graduate training for an optometry (OD) degree. Some complete a postgraduate one-year clinical residency to gain specialist certification. The services optometrists provide include:
- Vision services such as eye exams, and treatment of conditions such as amblyopia and strabismus
- Diagnosing eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and conjunctivitis
- Prescribing medications for eye conditions.
- Offer eye disease and injury-prevention services
- Prescribing and fitting glasses and contact lenses
- Optometrists also take part in pre- and postoperative care for patients having eye surgery.
- Optometrists and ophthalmologists many times work in the same office and co-manage patients.
CAN I GET NEW EYE GLASSES FROM YOUR OFFICE?
Our practice does not have an optical shop. We would be happy to write you a prescription for glasses and refer you to a reputable optical shop.
HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?
It is easy to make an appointment. Call any of our three offices to make an appointment at any of the three locations.
- Orland Park (708) 349-9222
- Palos Heights (708) 361-7800
- Oak Lawn (708) 422-1500
WHAT DO I DO IN AN EMERGENCY AND THE OFFICE IS CLOSED?
There is always a physician on call at Krates Eye Centers. If you find yourself in an emergency and the office is closed, just call the office number and you will be directed to our answering service. The answering service will contact our physician on call and they will get back to you as soon as they are able.
WHAT DOES A NEW PATIENT VISIT INCLUDE?
Typically you will be dilated for a complete eye exam for your first visit. Other testing may be done depending on your condition. A refraction to determine a need for spectacles may be done if necessary.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME TO MY APPOINTMENT?
- A picture ID
- Insurance cards if applicable
- A list of your current medications
- Referral form and co-pay as required by your insurance plan
DO I NEED A DRIVER FOR A REGULAR APPOINTMENT?
If you know that you are going to be dilated, then you may need a driver as some people have difficulty driving after being dilated. Otherwise, a driver is not necessary.