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What’s the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologist?

by May 2, 2021

Looking for a Delray Beach optometrist? Or do you actually need a Boca Raton ophthalmologist?  Many people are not clear on the difference between them.

When you visit the eye doctor, you may not be aware that there are actually two different kinds of eye doctors and one kind of eyewear specialist (an optician). Deciding which one you should make an appointment with can be easily confused because they all begin with “op.” 

But there is a good reason for that. All three types of eye specialists – optometrist, ophthalmologist, and optician– take their name from the Greek word “ὄψις,” which means “view.” Essentially, each of these eye specialists work to help you “view” the world the way you should. 

The differences between these specialists can be important depending on your needs, whether it be a specific eye condition or getting the perfect prescription glasses to fit your unique style. 

Here at Everything Eyes, bordering Delray Beach and Boca Raton, FL, we have optometrists and opticians on staff. 

An optometrist, or optometric physician, acts as the “primary care” doctor of eyes. They examine, diagnose and treat various eye conditions. They also provide pre- and post-op surgical care in conjunction with an ophthalmologist performing the eye surgery. Treatment can include determining the correct prescription for eyeglasses, contact lenses, sunglasses, medicated eye drops, or oral medications. 

Dr. Garmizo & Dr. Golchin

Dr. Garmizo & Dr. Golchin, Board Certified Optometrists in Delray Beach just North of Boca Raton

If you are seeking a yearly exam, you should be searching for an optometrist (or optometric physician) near you. Everything Eyes’ board certified optometrists, Dr. Gustavo Garmizo and Dr. Amanda Golchin, available to provide a wide range of eyecare services for you. 

An ophthalmologist is a medical physician that performs eye surgery in addition to providing medical eye treatment. Ophthalmologists typically have sub-specialties in select eye diseases. There are cataract specialists, retinologists, glaucoma specialists, neuro-ophthalmologists, oculoplastic surgeons, and pediatric specialists. Generally, it is best to start with an optometrist, who will then refer you to the proper ophthalmology specialist if necessary.

Once you have an eyeglass prescription in hand from your optometrist or ophthalmologist and want to purchase prescription glasses or sunglasses, an optician can assist in finding the perfect frames for your unique style. Opticians cannot perform an eye exam, diagnose for any conditions, or write your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

The opticians at Everything Eyes are highly skilled at assisting patients in selecting the frames that feel like “you” and best fit the shape of your face. They have knowledge in determining the best frame shape, lens material, and design for each individual’s unique prescription, style, and budget.

Once your prescription lenses have been added to the frames you have selected, opticians can also assist in adjusting your new eyewear to get the most comfortable fit as well as repair broken frames.

How to choose the right eye care professional in Delray Beach / Boca Raton

Determining which eye care specialist is best for you depends on your needs:

See an optometrist / optometric physician if you need an annual eye exam, are experiencing eye symptoms (decreased vision, pain, redness, itching, floaters, double vision, discomfort), or if you need to update your glasses or contact lens prescription. 

See an ophthalmologist if you have been referred for surgery, LASIK, advanced diagnostic procedures or treatment, by your optometrist.

See an optician in order to be properly fit with glasses, and for advice on lens options (such as anti-glare, blue ray computer lenses, polarization, transitions, etc.), based on the spectacle prescription provided by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

The staff at Everything Eyes in Delray Beach, just North of Boca Raton, Florida is experienced in providing the best possible experience in eyecare. Our optometrists, opticians, and well-trained staff have received a near perfect rating on Google with reviews from over 200 satisfied patients.  

In addition to providing comprehensive eye exams and showcasing a wide variety of eyeglass frames, we specialize in fitting contact lenses. We prescribe contact lenses for cosmetic wear, for corneal diseases such as Keratoconus, or for post-surgical use. These corneal conditions typically require specially designed custom contact lenses to optimize vision and comfort. At Everything Eyes, we specialize in fitting both cosmetic and specialized contacts, including state-of-the-art scleral contact lenses.

If you are in need of a routine eye exam, desire contact lenses, are experiencing visual or ocular symptoms, or suffer from corneal disease like Keratoconus, call Everything Eyes at (561) 499-2055 or click here to schedule an appointment. Our office is conveniently located at 6950 Jog Road, Suite 107-S in Delray Beach, FL, just North of Boca Raton between Linton Boulevard and Clint Moore Road across from Morikami.

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