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Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist: What’s the Difference?

Ever wonder what exactly the difference was between an optometrist vs an ophthalmologist? You aren’t alone, many people don’t know how to distinguish between the two. Triangle Eye Physicians in Raleigh, NC helps you make that determination right here.

Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist:

An Optometrist:

  • Is licensed to provide basic eye care services such as a basic eye exam
  • Is able to diagnose various eye diseases such as: glaucoma, cataracts and other retinal diseases
  • Is able to diagnose health-related conditions pertaining to the body, which may be affecting vision (i.e. Diabetes)
  • Is able to diagnose and treat ONLY certain conditions (i.e. Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism and some surface disease problems)
  • Is able to prescribe glasses, contact lenses, and may perform very minor surgical procedures

We are fortunate to have many excellent optometrists in the Triangle area, and we are delighted to share care with them, when it is appropriate for your particular situation.

An Ophthalmologist:

  • Is a medical doctor who specializes in medical and surgical problems related to the eyes
  • Receives numerous years of medical schooling, interning, hospital-based training (residency) and research in ALL aspects of eye care, including the prevention, diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of various eye conditions and diseases
  • Often will also have had training in a sub-specialty such as: cornea disease, cataract eye surgery, glaucoma and more

We have excellent sub-specialty support in the Triangle. Having been in practice in Raleigh for two decades, our knowledge of just the right consultation for you is important, when you need subspecialty care for complex problems.

Dr. Patricia Walsh Smith is a sub-specialist in cornea, anterior segment and external disease, that is, fellowship trained at Johns Hopkins. She also has had extensive postgraduate and continuing education in refractive surgery. Despite thousands of refractive procedures in her experience, she attends (and gives) continuing education seminars to learn about the best practices, technologies and coming ideas for her patients. One should never stop learning!

One of the most common procedures that most ophthalmologists perform today is Lasik eye surgery, a type of refractive surgical procedure that is performed on qualified candidates in order to improve and/or correct imperfect vision.

Speaking with Your Optometrist About Lasik

Though the staff and physicians at Triangle Eye Physicians, PA are best known for our outstanding work with Lasik eye surgery, there are other areas of vision care that we successfully handle on a daily basis. Make sure you read more about these procedures on our eye care services page!

Choosing to see an ophthalmologist is an important decision that should not be rushed into. If you are already visiting an optometrist and have discussed the possibility of having an eye surgery such as Lasik performed, your optometrist may be able to recommend an ophthalmologist on your behalf. Ask them about us!

You may want to consider asking your primary care physician for an opinion as well as researching various ophthalmologists via the Better Business Bureau. We are certain that you will find we are mentioned often.

At Triangle Eye Physicians, PA, we accept doctors’ referrals for Lasik eye surgery as well as other eye conditions. Dr. Smith and her team of ophthalmologists and Lasik eye surgeons are proud to have earned the reputation of being one of Raleigh’s leading ophthalmology and eye surgery centers, treating not only the eye problem but the entire patient as well.

Your eyesight is a precious gift. Let us help you preserve it for a lifetime.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 919-256-2500!

Still have questions or concerns? Contact us to schedule your FREE Lasik evaluation and learn more.

Hours Of Operation

Monday - Thursday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

8:00am - 12:00pm

Find Us

2406 Blue Ridge Road Suite 280 Raleigh, NC 27607 919-256-2500