Schedule Eye Exam
Blog, Eye Exam, Eye Information, Eyeglasses

Is an Optometrist a Doctor?

Blog, Eye Exam, Eye Information, Eyeglasses

When you attend an eye exam at For Eyes, a variety of eye professionals may assist you, including an optometrist. For standard vision tests, they have the expertise you need, and they can set you up with a great set of prescription glasses or contacts based on the results of your exam. 


But while this industry expert may be a valuable addition to your eye care team, you might be wondering if an optometrist is a doctor. Let’s discuss.

Is an optometrist a doctor?

Every optometrist holds a doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree, making them qualified to treat a wide array of eye issues. So, since they have an O.D., is an optometrist a doctor? The answer is tricky. They aren’t medical doctors, which would require a medical doctor (M.D.) degree, but they are doctors of optometry. On the other hand, ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in the eyes. 


Despite not having an M.D. degree, an optometrist is well equipped to take care of the majority of your eye concerns. They can perform general eye exams, provide you with eye drops, and prescribe corrective lenses to treat your unique eye issues. They can also identify a variety of eye abnormalities, which require further testing to diagnose. 

What are the education requirements of an optometrist vs. an ophthalmologist? 

To get an O.D. degree, it requires a bachelor’s degree and four years of additional schooling. But remember that while this certifies optometrists as doctors of optometry, optometrists are not medical doctors, so they cannot conduct surgery. 


So, what is the difference in education between an optometrist vs. an ophthalmologist? An ophthalmologist must complete an undergraduate program and pass four years of medical school to graduate with their M.D. degree. 


They also must often complete a residency, an internship, and four years of extra training specific to ophthalmology. With this experience, they can conduct surgical procedures.

Summary: Optometrists

Optometrists are doctors of optometry, which means no, an optometrist is not a doctor in the medical sense. You see them for primary care, such as basic eye exams and vision tests. However, they cannot perform surgery, so you’ll need to contact an ophthalmologist if you suspect a procedure is necessary. 


To receive an O.D. degree, an optometrist must complete a four-year degree plus three additional years of schooling. If you’re not sure if an optometrist can assist with your eye concerns, ask your nearest For Eyes, and explain your situation. Optometrists can help with many common eye issues, and they are happy to recommend you to a specialist if you need a service they do not offer. 


Click here to get in touch with your local For Eyes today. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Was this article helpful?