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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologist?

    Who do I see for an exam? Eye surgery? What are their qualifications and job duties?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 5


    Andrew Koch


    Andrew works in Tasmania at Total Eyecare, a group of independent practitioners that is Tasmanian owned.  He is part of a team that includes some of … View Profile

    Optometrists are eye care professionals who care for people's vision and eye health. Optometrists check visual function and focussing issues, detect and treat common eye diseases and refer if surgery or specialist treatment is required.

    Most Optometrists now are registered to prescribe eye medications to treat common eye diseases, so it is ok to think of an Optometrist as a “GP for eyes”. 

    Your Optometrist is generally the best first place to go if you have any eye or vision concern. The can diagnose eye focussing issues and recomend ways for you to get the best vision possible.

    Ophthalmologists are eye surgeons who treat eye disease and do eye surgery. They are highly trained medical practitioners and surgeons. You require a referral from an Optometrist or GP to see an Ophthalmologist, and the referring practitioner will select a specialist who has the skills and experience that is relevant for your eye condition.  

    Ophthalmologists usually concentrate on their areas of medical specialty and they refer patients to Optometrists for refractive care, spectacles and contact lenses. 

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