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Opthamologist vs Optometrist for eye checkup and eyeglasses prescription?

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With my health insurance I can see either an Opthamologist or a Optometrist. Which type of eye doctor should I see and why? I have a slight twitch in my eye I want the doc to look at ...show more
Update : Can an opthamologist write eyeglass prescriptions?
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go to an optometrist they are good with prescriptions , but if you have any other problem go to an ophthalmologist
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  • greydoc6 answered 8 years ago
    Either an Ophthalmologist (MD) or an Optometrist (OD) can do an eye refraction and prescribe glasses.

    My personal experience has been that optometrists take more time and are less likely to pawn off the refraction to a technician or other assistant. Conversely, many of them make money on the sale of contacts or glasses which can be a conflict of interest. An ophthalmologist will just give you a prescription and send you to an optician for fitting.

    To me, a good eye exam depends on a cooperative patient, and a patient examiner who is well trained and has a good work ethic.
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  • Jennifer answered 8 years ago
    Optometrists!!! And yes, I work for a group of ophthalmologists....

    Optometrists are our front line to eye health...they can refract (find your prescription) a lot better than an ophthalmologist. For healthy eyes, optometrists are the best. If they find a problem that they feel needs more in depth evaluation, treatment/surgery, then they can refer you to an ophthalmologist.

    When you see your optometrist, be sure to mention your eyelid twitch...most likely it's nothing serious...just a muscle spasm...and if your optometrist thinks it is more serious...then he/she will refer you on to the appropriate ophthalmologist.

    Here's a parallel: You faint...pass out...for unknown reasons (NOT DRINKING TOO MUCH!). Would you just go to a neurologist? A cardiologist?? No...you would go to your family doctor first to begin an evaluation.

    Same with knee pain...you'd check with your family doctor first to see if it is an injury. They would refer you on to the appropriate specialist based on their findings.

    It is no different for the optometrists...they are our primary eye health care providers.


    Work for an ophthalmology group...90% of our patients are optometrist referred.
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  • kartouche answered 8 years ago
    I work for an ophthalmologist. They usually will have a technician do the refraction. I've got to say, I have a lot of remakes due to sloppy workmanship.

    I agree with princeidoc. Go to an optometrist for just about anything except surgery. They are trained in treating diseases such as glaucoma, and you will get one heck of a refraction.


    optician for 19 years
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  • O.D. answered 8 years ago
    hmm.. how do I answer this question without bias?

    Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.

    Doctors of Optometry prescribe medications, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacle lenses, contact lenses, and perform certain surgical procedures.

    Optometrists counsel their patients regarding surgical and non-surgical options that meet their visual needs related to their occupations, avocations, and lifestyle.

    Optometrists are eye health care professionals state-licensed to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system.
    -Approved by the AOA Board of Trustees, June 21, 2005

    Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine which deals with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways, including the eye, brain, and areas surrounding the eye, such as the lacrimal system and eyelids. By convention the term ophthalmologist is more restricted and implies a medically trained specialist. Since ophthalmologists perform operations on eyes, they are generally categorized as surgeons.

    Short version: I would see an optometrist. If he/she determines that you need specialized care or surgery, you can be referred to a specific ophthalmologist. One problem with going straight to an ophthalmologist is that they are most likely specialized in one type of care (glaucoma, retinal, anterior seg etc..)
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  • princeidoc answered 8 years ago
    if you think you need SURGERY, go to an ophthalmologist.

    for everything else under the sun that is eye related, optometrist.

    you'll read multiple answers from people who say "optometrists just prescribe glasses and contacts, but ophthalmologists do eye disease", which is completely untrue.

    surgery = ophthalmologist

    everything else = optometrist

    "Can an opthamologist (sic) write eyeglass prescriptions?"

    lol...usually not very good ones.

    the twitch is likely myokmia or benign eyelid twitch. brought on by caffeine, lack of sleep, high stress, potassium deficiency, sometimes for no reason. helped by less caffeine, more sleep, less stress, potassium supplement (multivitamin, banana), warm compresses and topical eyedrop antihistamines like "alaway" by bausch & lomb. only becomes a more interesting health issue if it lasts more than 30 days or if it involves more than just the muscles around your eye (for example if your CHEEK muscles also twitched)


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  • CARRIE C answered 8 years ago
    Optometrist is for your checkups and eyeglasses. If you have a disease or some other problem with your eye, you would see an opthamologist.
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  • Opthamologist vs Optometrist for eye checkup and eyeglasses prescription?
    With my health insurance I can see either an Opthamologist or a Optometrist. Which type of eye doctor should I see and why? I have a slight twitch in my eye I want the doc to look at and I need a new prescription for eyeglasses.
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