Difference between an Ophthalmologist and Optometrist and what is Therapeutic Ophthalmology?

If you don’t know the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologist, join the club!  While most everyone has had their eyes examined, few know the real difference between the two disciplines.  In fact, many just use the generic “eye doctor” for the person who examines their eyes.


At McKinney Eyeworks, our mission since 1995 has been to provide our patients with the most comprehensive eyecare available, and that includes everything under one roof – from general eyecare and exams for children and adults – to laser vision correction, plaquenil examinations, designer eyewear, contact lenses, therapeutic ophthalmology and more!


So, what’s the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologist? 

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in prescribing glasses and contact lenses and the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease.  As a medical doctor who has completed college and at least eight years of medical training, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery – and may also be involved in scientific research on the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision disorders.


An optometrist specializes in prescribing glasses and contact lenses, vision therapy and the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases – but is not a medical doctor.    However, they do receive a doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by three years or more of college.  They are licensed to practice optometry, which involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.  However, they are not trained or licensed to perform eye surgery.


In addition, an optician is trained to design, verify and fit lenses and frames, contact lenses and other devices to correct eyesight, using prescriptions supplied by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.  Opticians are not permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases.


What is a Therapeutic Ophthalmology?

Also known as “vision therapy,” therapeutic ophthalmology focuses on repairing the brain-eye connection.  It’s a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems, including lazy eye, crossed eyes, double vision, and some reading and learning disabilities.  It’s important to note that the goal of therapeutic ophthalmology is not to strengthen eye muscles, because your eye muscles are already incredibly strong.  Again, its focus is on repairing the brain-eye connection, with the ultimate goal of correcting the identified eye movement and/or coordination problems.


A therapeutic ophthalmology program involves individualized vision “exercises” or procedures to fit the needs of each patient.  The therapy is generally conducted in-office and is occasionally supplemented with procedures done at home between office visits.  At McKinney Eyeworks, we utilize specialized state-of-the-art equipment, including therapeutic lenses, optical filters, balance boards, and visual-motor-sensory integration training devices.  If you have questions how vision therapy can benefit you or a loved one, please contact McKinney Eyeworks today and schedule a consultation.


Call McKinney Eyeworks today for comprehensive eyecare under one roof!

Serving McKinney and the surrounding area since 1995, Dr. Woerz, Dr. Wang and the entire team at McKinney Eyeworks are dedicated to pursuing the highest standard of comprehensive, state-of-the-art optometric care.  Our goal is to earn our patients’ trust by providing our eyecare services with the utmost integrity and professionalism in a friendly, caring environment!


For comprehensive, convenient and exceptional eyecare under one roof, schedule an appointment today at McKinney Eyeworks.  Let us bring their vision and health into focus! Contact us today.

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