Differences Between Eye Doctor and Eye Surgeon

The sense of sight is one of the most important senses we humans possess. Which is why when we are afflicted with conditions related to our eyes, we move to resolve them right away due to the adverse effects of sight impairment to our daily lives. To seek medication for eye defects, we can either seek the help of an eye doctor (Optometrist) like at Greenlake Eye Care or an eye surgeon (Ophthalmologist) who will perform tests to determine the specific condition we have. Between the two, however, how do these professionals differ? How do we know which among them to seek consultation from?

What is an Eye Doctor?

An Optometrist or Eye Doctor is a professional that has earned the degree of Doctor of Optometry (OD). They can perform eye examinations to determine problems with vision and possible eye diseases. To correct errors in eye refraction, they can also prescribe corrective eyewear such as glasses and contact lenses. If they deem that a patient has a certain eye disease, they can also prescribe medications for their treatment. An Optometrist’s scope of medical care is defined by the laws of the state he is in.

On top of a four-year degree program in the sciences, they must also complete a four-year post-graduate program in an optometry school. Such educational requirements are like that of a dentist. To maintain their professional license and keep working in the field, they must also undergo continuing education.

What is an Eye Surgeon?

On the other hand, an Ophthalmologist or Eye Surgeon is a medical doctor whose expertise is on eye health care. They can perform all roles that an Eye Doctor can do and eye surgery for more serious diseases. This capability is what sets them apart from Eye Doctors. Since the latter is not licensed to perform surgeries on the eye. These surgeries are deemed necessary when the conditions cannot be corrected by medications alone. If the condition has morphed into more serious forms that immediate treatment is already needed.

Which one to choose?

When choosing between the two in seeking consultation for eye conditions, we are able to distinguish depending on the need for medical surgery of our condition. While both can perform eye exams, prescribe medications, and give corrective eyewear, what sets the two apart is the severity and rarity of the conditions they can treat. Eye Doctors can offer medical treatment for more common eye conditions such as dry eyes, glaucoma, and other infections. Certain eye disorders, however, may need the attention of an Eye Surgeon especially if surgery is necessary. Some Eye Surgeons are experts of certain diseases which is why they are the best professionals to look into them.

The two professionals can also work as a team in treating eye conditions. This is known as co-management. First, the patient consults with an Eye Doctor who refers him to a specialist or an Eye Surgeon who will define if surgery is needed. Once deemed necessary, surgery is performed by the Eye surgeon. After treatment, the patient can periodically check with the Eye Doctor for post-operative care.


Our sense of sight is a vital sense for our everyday living. Seek the assistance of both an Eye Doctor or an Eye Surgeon right away should you experience disorders in your eyes so that your vision can be restored back to normal as soon as possible.

Muhammad Irfan
Muhammad Irfan
Irfan Bajwa is an emerging business enthusiast and passionate blogger and writer on a versatile level.


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