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What is the difference between an opthamologist and optometrist?

My 3 year old daughter had her well check today and something we thought was a silly game, turned out to be a concern for her pediatrician. She is constantly crossing her eyes. He seemed to think that was a problem and suggested we see an eye doctor. I asked if we could see our family optometrist and he suggested a pediatric opthamologist.

Does anyone know what the difference is between the two? Thanks for your help!


Asked by mommytoadam at 3:37 PM on Apr. 2, 2009 in Health

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Answers (4)
  • An Optometrist is a health care professional who is licensed to provide primary eye care services and an optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry, an O.D.and an Ophthalmologist is an eye M.D., a medical doctor who is specialized in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery. They may also be involved in eye research.

    All three of my children see a pediatric Ophthalmologist


    Answer by Christine0813 at 3:47 PM on Apr. 2, 2009

  • Optometry is a health care profession concerned with eyes and related structures. Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine dealing with the eye, including its anatomy, physiology, and pathology. Optometrists are quite general, but they are good with prescriptions. Any other problems besides the standard check up should be looked at by an ophthalmologist.

    Answer by LKRA at 3:45 PM on Apr. 2, 2009

  • An ophthalmologist is a Medical Doctor who has an M.D. degree. That means he or she has gone through four years of medical school and at least one year of post-graduate general medical and surgical training and is a fully trained physician who has then gone on to specialize in treatment of eye diseases by doing at least three years of extra training in ophthalmology. An ophthalmologist is, therefore, fully trained in all aspects of medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and has as well a complete background in general medicine.
    An optometrist has a Doctor of Optometry degree from an optometry school which is usually four years of training in examining the eyes and treating certain types of visual and eye disorders. They do not have any background in general medicine, nor do they have any training in surgical management of eye diseases.

    Answer by mamakirs at 3:46 PM on Apr. 2, 2009

  • Thank you all SO much! I appreciate your help. I feel better now knowing we made the right choice!

    Answer by mommytoadam at 3:51 PM on Apr. 2, 2009

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