The difference between an Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist


“What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist? Which should I see?”

As a receptionist at Coleman Eye Center, this is a question I often hear from patients calling to schedule appointments. We have three doctors here Coleman Eye Center: Dr. Michael Coleman, MD, Dr. Lee Coleman, MD, and Dr. Preslee Magee, OD.  You should see an eye doctor at least once a year to make sure your eyes are healthy. Each of these doctors has an important role, so it is helpful to know the difference before calling to schedule your appointment.

What is an Ophthalmologist?


An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who goes through many specialized eye training sessions and is licensed in surgery and medicine. Your ophthalmologist’s primary role is providing care such as medical procedures and diagnosing conditions that affect the eyes. You would see an ophthalmologist for any surgical procedures that need to be done on the eyes. Ophthalmologists can perform surgery to remove cataracts or to treat glaucoma and other eye problems. If you are diabetic, an ophthalmologist may perform tests to be sure the condition is not affecting your eyesight. Your ophthalmologist can also prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you or anyone you know is in need of an ophthalmologist, here at Coleman Eye Center, Dr. Lee Coleman or Dr. Michael Coleman would love to have you as their next patient.


What is an Optometrist?


Optometrists are practitioners who provide primary care for the eyes. They play a big role in helping you care for your eyes. Optometrists help optimize and manage your vision throughout your life.  They help ensure that you’re experiencing optimal vision. Having an eye exam once a year is vital to your eyesight and the health of your eyes. Many ocular diseases or other eye problems develop with no symptoms. During a routine eye exam, optometrists look for anything abnormal in the eye. They can also write prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Optometrists may also diagnose and provide treatment for many eye conditions. If a visit with an optometrist sounds like what you need, here at Coleman Eye Center, Dr. Magee is who you would see.




When choosing which doctor to see, take into consideration your specific needs or concerns. There are many services that both optometrists and ophthalmologists are able to provide. Here at Coleman Eye Center, all of our doctors work as a team. Any one of them can easily and quickly refer to either of our other doctors if they note something in your exam that one of the other doctors specializes in. Referrals made within our clinic are often seen the same day, so you won’t have to worry about scheduling another appointment.

Now you know some of the basic differences between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist. If you have any questions, please give our office a call. Our employees would love to help answer any questions you have about choosing the right doctor to care for you. You can also visit our website to see some of the services we can provide here at Coleman Eye Center. Give us a call today and schedule your next eye appointment!!

Jaedyn Carpenter




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