An optometrist is an eye doctor who has earned a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in eye care.
An optometrist performs most of your annual eye exams and writes prescriptions for glasses and/or contacts. An optometrist can diagnose and prescribe medications for certain eye diseases or infections. An ophthalmologist can also perform your eye exams but will also diagnose and treat diseases relating to your eyes and vision, as well as perform any eye surgery. At Providence Eye, we have both optometrists and ophthalmologists to cover a range of eye care needs.
If you need specialized medical attention beyond your routine eye exam for diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, or are interested in laser vision correction or ophthalmic plastic surgery (i.e blepharoplasty), you will need to see an ophthalmologist who is specialized in your need instead of an optometrist. At Providence Eye, Drs. Mozayeni, Nunnery, and Chen are all board-certified ophthalmologists as well as fellowship-trained specialists. They specialize in conditions requiring laser vision correction, cataracts and corneal issues, and ophthalmic plastic surgery.
Yes, an optometrist can diagnose cataracts, but only an ophthalmologist can perform cataract surgery.