Any breach of the tissue is surgery – this includes injections into and around the eye and laser surgeries. Downplaying the risk of surgery or obfuscating by referring to surgeries as “procedures” is dangerous and irresponsible. A cavalier attitude toward surgery will often result in patient harm.
Going straight from college to optometry school (not medical school), their training focuses on primary eye care services such as examinations, refraction and contact lens fitting. As they are not physicians, accreditation standards for optometry schools do not include either education or clinical training in surgery or surgical care of patients. Their education and training focus on primary eye care services (e.g., eye exams/refractions and contact lens fitting) but not in the medical or surgical treatment of serious eye disease.
Every ophthalmologist is a medically trained physician and surgeon, having completed medical school and four or more years of an ophthalmology residency in a hospital setting. Each ophthalmologist has logged approximately 17,000 hours examining thousands of patients before practicing independently, the minimum needed to perform surgery safely.
Surgery can be learned only through years of training with diverse pathology and one-on-one supervision from experienced physicians. The surgery itself is only part of quality care; a fully trained physician will work with patients to decide which procedure or treatment is needed, if at all.