Eyesight can be impacted by family history, high blood pressure or diabetes. Eye disease can sneak up without symptoms, so it is important for patients to see the right eye care provider at the right time.
Ophthalmologists have medical degrees and have undergone thousands of hours of residency and supervised training. They are licensed to practice medicine and surgery.
Optometrists are not medical doctors, but they do complete four years of optometry school to receive a Doctor of Optometry (OD), which provides no clinical training managing patients with different systematic diseases. Furthermore, there are no accreditation criteria for optometry schools with respect to the minimum requirements for the number of visits with patients who have ocular disease or for ocular surgical operative experience. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing some medications.
Fortunately, Texas has an abundance of ophthalmologists, with a strong pipeline of medical school and residency graduates, along with a growing number of optometrists. Both professions should continue to work in collaboration to take care of all Texans.