Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist

Both start with the letter ‘O’ and both are eye doctors… so what’s the difference? Ophthalmologists are physicians, having gone to medical school and offer complete eye care services. Optometrists are medical professionals but not physicians. They focus on eye care and can prescribe glasses or contacts. Here are the different services each can provide:


  • Vision services, including eye exams
  • Medical eye care — for conditions such as glaucoma, iritis, and chemical burns
  • Surgical eye care — for trauma, crossed eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, and other problems
  • Diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions related to other diseases, such as diabetes or arthritis
  • Plastic surgery — for drooping eyelids and smoothing wrinkles


  • Vision services such as eye exams
  • Treatment of conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism
  • Prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Provide low vision aids and vision therapy
  • Diagnose eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and conjunctivitis
  • Pre- or post-operative care for people who need surgery

Who should I go to and why?

The decision to go to an ophthalmologist or an optometrist is based on your individual needs. A quick eye exam can be done by either professional. A more complex and in-depth treatment or surgery can only be done by an ophthalmologist. In the Corona area, Dr. Schneider has been named “Top Ophthalmologists” seven times by Consumers Research Council of America. He has helped set the standard of eye care in the Inland Empire for 20 years, has over 15 years of LASIK experience and has gained a reputation for unsurpassed quality patient care. If you are deciding between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist, why not choose Dr. Schneider?