Skip to content
Home » News & Events » When Should You See an Ophthalmologist vs an Optometrist

When Should You See an Ophthalmologist vs an Optometrist

When it comes to your family’s eye care, each member of your family may be seeing a different kind of eye doctor. That’s because each member has their own specific eye care needs. It is essential to see the right type of doctor, but how do you know who to see?

Reasons to See an Optometrist

An Optometrist is known as an OD, or Doctor of Optometry. If you have any type of primary eye care needs, see an OD. They perform routine eye care and eye tests to determine refractive errors and the need for glasses or contacts. They provide the prescriptions for glasses and contacts. They can diagnose and manage some eye diseases.

Many parents take their children to an OD for routine eye care. If certain conditions arise like crossed eyes (Strabismus), lazy eye (Amblyopia), or droopy eyelids (Ptosis), the optometrist will likely refer the child to an Ophthalmologist for possible surgery or specialized care.

An OD may specialize in the following:

  • Low vision care
  • Dry eyes
  • Vision therapy
  • Monitoring medically related conditions like diabetes
  • Pre and post-operative co-management of surgical patients (eg. LASIK and Cataract)

Training of an Optometrist

An OD will spend four years of training after attending four years as an undergraduate in college.

Reasons to See an Ophthalmologist

Depending on your eye issue or condition, you may need an Eye MD, an ophthalmologist like Dr. Hecht to handle your care. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who can perform eye surgery and can do everything an OD does. They can diagnose and treat eye diseases, but differ in the level of training and what they can diagnose and treat.

An ophthalmologist may specialize in one or more areas: cataracts, LASIK, pediatrics, corneal diseases, oculoplastics, retina, glaucoma, diabetes, and arthritis.

Many patients begin to see an ophthalmologist as they get older when age-related vision loss diseases appear, like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts. Patients should see an ophthalmologist annually for these conditions.

Training of an Ophthalmologist

In order to become an Eye MD, an ophthalmologist completes 4 year of college, 4 years of medical school, and 4 to 5 years of specialized training including an internship and fellowship training.

One Last Eye O

An optician is a customer service representative who fills the eye prescriptions of optometrists and ophthalmologists. Some states require certification, and others require no formal training and many times get on the job training.

Contact Hecht Eye Institute at (310) 370-5648 for an eye examination and to discover which type of doctor your family members would benefit from seeing in Lawndale, Beverly Hills, and Marina del Rey .

Ready to get started?

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Hecht and be on your way to better eye health!