What’s the Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist? Skip to content

What’s the Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?

And which one do I need?!

At Center For Sight, we love it when our patients ask questions during their appointment. We want you to feel like you have all the knowledge and tools you need to manage your vision. One of the questions we hear a lot is, “Do I need an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?” That’s a great question. So great, we thought it would be worth talking about in more detail here.

Do I need an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?

To better understand when you might need to see one versus the other, let’s take a look at what each type of professional is educated, trained and qualified to do.

Here’s a brief overview:


Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (MD) or osteopathic doctors (DO) who specialize in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians in the level of training and in what they can diagnose and treat. As a medical doctor who has completed college, medical school and residency, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and perform surgery.

Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat all eye diseases, perform eye surgery to correct vision problems. While ophthalmologists are trained to care for all eye problems and conditions, some specialize in a specific area, completing additional, more in-depth training called a fellowship in areas such as glaucoma, retina, cornea, pediatrics, neurology and plastic surgery.


Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes. An optometrist can manage pre and post-op care for eye surgeries, but the surgery itself will be performed by an ophthalmologist. An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry (OD) degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by an undergraduate degree.

Optometrists are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.

Trust the Las Vegas Eye Experts

Center For Sight has built a team of ophthalmology and optometry experts who are ready and eager to meet your vision needs. With our collection of leaders representing all of the disciplines of eye care, we want to be your go-to for all things eyes. Our expertise often draws in patients for eye surgeries like LASIK and cataracts, but that expertise is also what makes us a great option for routine eye examinations.

Our focus on comprehensive eye health means we watch for anything and everything that might affect your eyes. From basic eye exams to dry eye check-ups, we strive to safeguard every aspect of your eye health. At Center For Sight, our comprehensive eye exams are more than simple vision tests. Before we check your vision, we run a number of diagnostic tests for a variety of eye conditions.

In addition to laser vision correction and modern cataract surgery, we are able to diagnose and treat most eye conditions, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and more. Our pediatric ophthalmologists are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye). We even offer blepharoplasty for aging, puffy, tired-looking eyes.

At Center For Sight, our experienced team is made up of both board-certified ophthalmologists and licensed optometrists. This experienced team works in lockstep to make sure every patient we are honored to serve has 20/happy vision!

We invite you to experience our expert eye care for every generation at Center For Sight. We are dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullest…with the clear vision you deserve. Come see us!

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