OPTOMETRY is a specialized field dealing with primary healthcare of the eye from routine eye-sight testing and vision correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of ocular disease. Optometrists complete a four-year postgraduate program to obtain a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree, and some complete fellowship training in Binocular Vision and Pediatrics, Neuro-Optometry, Behavioral Optometry, Contact Lens, Low Vision Rehabilitation, and Community Eye Care.
Though often confused, Optometry and Ophthalmology are different specialties. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors possessing M.D. degrees, and while they also provide routine vision services such as eye exams, an Ophthalmologist’s practice extends beyond general Optometry to include the diagnosis and treatment of complex eye diseases, and the performance of eye surgery. Though both specialties often refer patients to one another, Optometrists evaluate general eye health and treat common conditions related to the eye and vision. With very few exceptions, optometrists are not trained or licensed to perform eye surgery.
Optometrists focus on eye exams, vision tests, and treating conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. They also prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, provide low-vision aids and vision therapy, and detect diseases, injuries, and disorders related to the eye. In addition to working with Ophthalmologists, Optometrists also work with Opticians who design, fit, and dispense corrective lenses, contact lenses, and artificial eyes. Opticians are technicians (not healthcare providers) who check lens prescriptions, adjust and repair glasses, take facial measurements, and order and dispense products.
Litigation against Optometrists is uncommon but typically involves allegations of failure to diagnose a specific disease or failing to refer a patient to an Ophthalmologist for further intervention. Other areas for litigation include:
- Retinal detachments
- Missed diagnosis due to lack of pupillary dilation
- Contact lens complications
- Ocular tumors
To secure a hand-selected Optometry expert for your case, please contact Elite Medical Experts and speak with a physician or nurse on our Case Strategy Team.
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