Q: What is the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist ?
A: Both optometrists and ophthalmologists are eye doctors and regulated health professionals. An optometrist is trained to examine your eyes and diagnose, treat and manage most eye conditions medically (without surgery) and they can test your vision and provide you with a prescription for glasses or contact lenses. Ophthalmologists are trained eye doctors with a medical degree who can treat and manage eye diseases, including advanced ones, and are able to perform surgery on an eye.
Q: How do the optometrist and ophthalmologist work together at the Ottawa Eye Clinic ?
A: Our model starts with you being seen for a specific eye problem or followed regularly for eye exams where your vision is checked and you are screened for various eye diseases. If during an exam you are diagnosed with an eye condition your optometrist will determine if they can treat it medically (without surgery) and do so if indicated. This is known as primary eye care. However if your eye condition is more complex, or requires a second opinion or even requires surgery, your optometrist will refer you to one of our ophthalmologists if is appropriate. The ophthalmologist will then taker over your care until it is appropriate to refer you back to the optometrist or they will continue your care if needed.