Sometimes choosing the right kind of eye doctor in Grand Rapids can be a little difficult. It can be confusing to understand the differences between Optometrists, Opticians, and Ophthalmologists, so that you know which professional is best. Understanding the services provided by each can help you choose the right professional for your personal needs.
Optometrists check vision and check your eyes to ensure health. They complete four years of optometry school after completing at least three years of college to receive a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. They are not medical doctors, but they can diagnose and treat certain eye conditions, like glaucoma and cataracts with medications. In addition, they prescribe vision correction and help manage changes to your vision. For many people, an optometrist is the only eye doctor needed.
Opticians cannot diagnose or treat vision problems or eye diseases. They are much like pharmacists, in that they fill the prescriptions written by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They are specially trained to design and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses. You would never visit an optician without having a prescription already in hand. In most cases, eye doctors in Grand Rapids employ an optician on staff to handle choosing and fitting your glasses and contacts after they write a prescription.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors, and have completed four years of college and eight years of medical school. They can perform any services performed by an Optometrist. In addition, they can treat any an all eye diseases, and perform surgery. Some specialize in certain diseases of the eye. If you choose an ophthalmologist as your eye doctor in Grand Rapids, you will be able to have all your medical needs met for your eyes.
Many eye doctors in Grand Rapids actually have all three types of eye care professionals under one roof. You can visit the optometrist to check your eyesight and write prescriptions for your glasses and contact lenses, using the onsite optician to fill your prescription. If the optometrist sees an eye disease or problem that warrants treatment by an ophthalmologist, he or she will refer you to the medical doctor at the same practice. Choosing such a practice is helpful because it allows you to stay with the same people no matter what eye issues you encounter. It also allows the whole family to use the same practices, even when each family member has different needs.
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