What is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a doctor who has been specially trained to diagnose and treat problems or diseases related to vision and the eyes. This doctor will be either a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO).

Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists (OD), who are eye doctors that people often see if they need an eye exam or a prescription for glasses or contact lenses. Ophthalmologists, who have more training than optometrists, can handle more serious problems and perform more procedures. This includes eye surgery and other advanced eye treatments, such as laser correction. That said, ophthalmologists also can test your vision and prescribe corrective eyewear.

Many ophthalmologists specialize in a particular area, becoming experts in pediatric problems, glaucoma or problems with the cornea or retina, for instance.