WellSpan Home

Eye Care Specialists

Topic Overview

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (MDs) who specialize in eye care. Ophthalmology is a surgical subspecialty. Ophthalmologists are licensed by state medical boards to practice medicine and are usually board-certified in ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists are certified to:

  • Diagnose and treat all forms of eye disease.
  • Prescribe and administer diagnostic and therapeutic drugs.
  • Prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses.
  • Treat eye injuries.
  • Perform surgery on the eye.

Optometrists (ODs) have at least 3 years of undergraduate science work and may have a 4-year degree. They attend 4 years of optometric college. They are not medical doctors. Optometrists can:

  • Diagnose refractive errors and prescribe corrective lenses.
  • Detect signs of disease and refer you to an ophthalmologist.
  • Administer diagnostic drugs.
  • Diagnose and treat eye diseases and prescribe therapeutic drugs (in most states).
  • Perform some eye surgery (in some states).

Opticians are skilled technicians. They do not test vision, prescribe corrective lenses, or diagnose or treat eye diseases. Some states require completion of a 2-year training program or a 3-year apprenticeship for a license. Others have no formal requirements. Opticians can:

  • Fill prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.
  • Help you select appropriate eyeglass frames and measure the eyes to ensure a proper fit.
  • Fit eyeglass lenses into frames.
  • Adjust eyeglass frames for comfort and proper lens position.
  • Clean and polish contact lenses.

Making the choice

Both ophthalmologists and optometrists can diagnose refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, and prescribe corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses.

Ophthalmologists can diagnose all disorders that affect the eye. They can carry out any medical or surgical treatment.

In a few states, even where they are allowed to administer diagnostic drugs, optometrists are not allowed to diagnose or treat eye disease. They may observe signs of disease and refer you to an ophthalmologist.

On average, optometrists charge less for routine eye exams than ophthalmologists. You may also be able to get an appointment with an optometrist sooner than with an ophthalmologist. Optometrists are more likely than ophthalmologists to offer evening and weekend appointments.

Credits

Current as of: May 5, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×