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Ophthalmologist vs. Optometrist: Which Is Right For You?

woman receiving an eye exam from her eye doctor

Ophthalmologist vs Optometrist: What's the Difference?

It’s important you see the right eye doctor to get the kind of eye care you need. Ophthalmologists and optometrists are both eye care professionals. However, they differ in their level of education, training, and expertise. At Wichita Optometry, P.A., we offer both ophthalmologist and optometrist care. Knowing the difference makes it easier for you to choose an eye doctor to meet your specific needs.


Ophthalmologists are eye MDs (medical doctors) who have a university degree plus eight additional years of medical training. This gives them extensive training to diagnose and treat all kinds of eye conditions and diseases. Ophthalmologists are also qualified to perform eye surgeries and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses for patients who need corrective lenses to improve their vision. Some ophthalmologists dedicate time towards researching cures for eye disorders and diseases.

If an ophthalmologist chooses to specialize in an explicit area of surgical or medical eye care, he can become a subspecialist. Subspecialist ophthalmologists are required to complete one or two more years of in-depth fellowship training in such sub-specialty areas as pediatrics, neurology, retina, cornea, or plastic surgery. The knowledge and training received in these areas qualify them to handle complex eye problems found among particular groups of people.


Optometrists are not eye MDs. They are eye care professionals who have completed four years of optometry school training after three or more years of college to receive a doctor of optometry degree. Despite a lower level of training, optometrists play an important role in eye care. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam and test for vision problems, prescribe and fit patients with corrective lenses, help detect eye irregularities, and prescribe medications when needed.

Why Go to an Ophthalmologist?

For most people, seeing an optometrist is sufficient for their eye care needs. When faced with complex eye problems or conditions that require surgery or in-depth knowledge in a specific area of expertise, you can benefit from seeing an ophthalmologist instead.

For quality eye care services from qualified professionals in their field, call Wichita Optometry, P.A. at 316-942-7496 today.

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