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Eye Doctor: Your Guide to Overall Eye Health

The term eye doctor is loosely defined as anyone who provides vision services. This can be misleading, and it’s important to understand certain differences. Many eye care professionals provide services related to the eyes and vision; not all can address serious eye issues beyond normal vision limitations. The optometrist with some post-secondary training cannot offer the range of services of the ophthalmologist. The latter’s training rises to doctorate levels of education. Each has a place in your vision care; each should be carefully selected based on ability, reputation, and thoroughness.


Optometry Doctors (O.D.s/optometrists) are America’s primary eye health care providers. They represent the frontline in the eye and vision care. As essential health care providers, they are recognized as physicians under Medicare. Their range of services is what you would expect from a thorough eye examination.

  • Examine the human eye to diagnose vision problems
  • Diagnose nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism
  • Test patients for depth, color perception, ability to focus
  • Test for glaucoma
  • Prescribe vision-correcting glasses and contacts

An ophthalmologist is an MD and does everything an Optometrist does and more.

  • Prescribes advanced medications
  • Performs eye surgeries, including LASIK
  • Assesses, monitors, and treats vision damage brought on by diseases, such as diabetes
Serious Vision Issues Treated by Ophthalmologists

An ophthalmologist treats the following issues:

  • Chronic Dry Eye. Your eyes do not make enough tears to stay wet, or when your tears don’t work correctly. This can make your eyes feel uncomfortable, and in some cases, cause vision problems.
  • Macular Degeneration. Often found in older people, this degenerative condition affects the central part of the retina (the macula), resulting in blurriness, distortion, or loss of central vision.
  • Chronic Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). Hyperthyroidism impacts the tissue around your eyes, including the fat behind your eyeballs, your eye muscles, and neighboring facial tissues. The result is a thyroid eye disease and Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition identified by bulging eyeballs, eye pain, and impaired vision.
  • Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). The condition causes swelling in a part of the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of your eye) and blood vessels to leak into the retina. Blurred vision is a major sign of the condition and should never be ignored.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy (DME). A complication of diabetes caused by high blood sugar levels damages the back of the eye (retina). If left untreated, it may result in seriously impaired vision, and eventually, blindness.
Which Eye Doctor Should You See?

The consensus is as follows. Visit your medical optometrist for primary medical eye care, including eye medication prescriptions, monitoring and managing eye diseases, or emergency eye care services. Visit an ophthalmologist for interventions like surgical treatments for serious eye diseases, advanced ocular problems, or refractive eye surgery.
Be advised that these services do overlap. Many people, especially older people or people with diabetes or other conditions in their family history, choose to visit an ophthalmologist for all their eye care needs. It is up to you.

Get Your Sight Right, New York

Dr. Craig Beyer comes to the New York area as one of the first 10 doctors in the country authorized to perform LASIK surgery by the FDA. He has personally performed over 15,000 surgeries. His experience in all corrective surgeries and advanced eye care has been noted by top Ophthalmology Publications nationwide.
If you live in New York or the surrounding areas and are considering LASIK surgery, call 877-274-1797 to schedule a consultation for the best in eyecare and LASIK surgery.

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