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Ophthalmologist vs. Optometrist: Which Is Right For You?

It is essential that you see an eye doctor every year. Even if you think that your vision is perfect, you should make annual appointments. Vision changes occur very gradually which means that you might not even realize that your vision has declined. Also, many diseases of the eye show no symptoms before they cause permanent damage to your vision. When making your first appointment, you need to call an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Before making the decision, you should know the difference between the two, and then you can contact the staff at Naples Eye Physicians to schedule an eye care appointment.


Optometrists go to optometry school for four years. They also do an extra year of residency. Ophthalmologists go to medical school for four years followed by four years of residency. Ophthalmologists also do either a one year or two-year fellowship for specialties such as pediatrics or glaucoma. After graduating an optometrist will have an OD after their name which stands for Doctor of Optometry. An ophthalmologist will have an MD after their name upon graduation which stands for Doctor of Medicine.

Medical vs. Surgical

An optometrist can do all the same things that an ophthalmologist can do except for performing surgery. Ophthalmologists can meet their patients' medical and surgical needs.

Exams and Prescriptions

Optometrists and ophthalmologists can perform eye exams and can prescribe glasses or contacts. However, if you have hard-to-fit eyes, you would be better off seeing an optometrist. Optometrists specialize in these types of lenses and fitting them.

Laser and Traditional Surgery

If you are considering Lasik surgery or if you have a condition that would require surgery, you would need to see an ophthalmologist. If you are seeing an optometrist and you need surgery, they would refer you to an ophthalmologist.

Serious Eye Conditions

If you have a severe eye condition such as late-stage macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, you may want to see an ophthalmologist who specialized in your condition in school.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

The type of eye doctor that you choose would depend on your eye care needs. If you think you might need an ophthalmologist, contact Naples Eye Physicians to schedule an appointment for an eye exam, give us a call today at 239-262-5434.