What is Ophthalmology?


Ophthalmology is the practice of medical and surgical care of the eyes and any issues related to vision. Ophthalmologists are required to attend medical school, at least one year of an internship and at least three years of a surgical residency. By the time training is complete, an ophthalmologist will have completed at least eight years of additional schooling.

Ophthalmologists can offer complete eye care services including:

  • Eye exams and basic vision services, including the prescription of glasses or contacts
  • Medical care – burns, glaucoma and other eye conditions
  • Surgical care – cataracts, crossed eyes
  • Plastic surgery – mostly cosmetic
  • Diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions related to other diseases like diabetes or arthritis


Difference between Ophthalmologists: 

  • Optician: Not a licensed doctor who can perform exams or order prescriptions, but opticians can design and fit glasses or contacts once they’ve been prescribed.
  • Optometrist: Optometrists are licensed to perform eye exams and treat minor vision conditions, diagnose conditions and prescribe medications or glasses/contacts. 
  • Ophthalmic medical assistant: Technicians in an ophthalmologist’s office, helps perform tests and exams.
  • Ophthalmic technicians: Well-trained medical assistants who help with tests and minor surgeries.
  • Ophthalmic registered nurse: Special nurse training, assists with things like injections or surgeries.
  • Ophthalmic photographer: Use special cameras to photograph eye conditions.

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