What Is The Difference Between An Optometrist And Ophthalmologist?

by | Jan 23, 2013 | Eye Care

There is often a misunderstanding about the role of an Optometrist in Clarksville TN and an Ophthalmologist.

It’s not all that difficult to define their respective roles. An Optometrist in Clarksville TN is a primary health care practitioner who examines your eyes for any potential ocular and general disease as well as prescribing corrective lenses to correct sight defects.

On the other hand an Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has decided to specialize in eye care. These doctors are trained to do the full gamut of services, from prescribing corrective appliances to performing delicate eye surgery.

The Optometrist in Clarksville TN first and foremost must determine if there is a problem. The sequence starts with a question and answer session between the Optometrist and the patient where any vision problems are discussed as is the patient’s medical history, his or her occupation and hobbies. When the session is over the next phase is a full eye examination to determine the condition of the eye both inside and outside, determine the relative movements of the eye and the reaction to different stimulus. From the results of the dialogue and the tests the Optometrist can determine if corrective lenses are needed or not.

The tests may unearth a problem that causes referral back to the patients GP who in turn will make arrangements for the patient to see an ophthalmologist. These issues may be glaucoma, detached retina or cataracts. There may also be the discovery of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or anemia. Although these issues may be discovered, in most cases the Optometrist in Clarksville TN will diagnose a visual impairment that can be corrected with lenses or contacts.

When the patient wishes spectacles to correct his vision problem the Optometrist in Clarksville TN will discuss the patient’s preferences. There is a range of lens materials, glass or plastic. The lenses can also be tinted or toughened all depending on the wishes of the wearer. The Optometrist usually has a wide selection of frames available which are sure to meet the fashion expectations of the wearer.

If the patient expresses a desire for contact lenses further investigation is often needed. The Optometrist in Clarksville TN must determine the suitability of the eye to accommodate contacts. A wide range of contacts are available and it is the job of the Optometrist to see that the patient gets the right choice which can be soft lenses or hard, gas permeable, disposable or extended wear.

To become an O.D. one has to finish an undergrad course and then a further four years of professional education at a specialized school of Optometry.


The Optometrist in Clarksville TN can treat near and far sightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia as well as performing low level procedures such as the removal of foreign objects from the eye. With over 30 years of service, ten of which have been with LensCrafters, Dr. Lewis & Associates is in a position to offer walk in service to suit the patient’s schedule.



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