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Eye and Vision Care

Optometrist vs opthamologist

03/10/2006

Question:

I was recently diagnosed with Lupus and my rheumatologist has specifically written a prescription for me to see an opthalmologist (versus an optometrist). Can you tell me what the difference is between the two specialists and what differences there might be in the exam?

Thanks

Answer:

Ophthalmologists provide surgical eye care, and optometrists do not; so unless your rheumatologist feels you need eye surgery, either type of eye doctor can examine your eyes with pupil dilation, provide refractive and medical eye care, and diagnose ocular manifestations of lupus if they are present.

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Response by:

Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University