First of all OP, I apologize for derailing your thread.......
No you don't. So let me clarify:
If I need cataract surgery, which I'm sure I do by now, I'm going to the opthamologist
In the United States, optometrists CANNOT perform cataract surgery. Even if you wanted to have an optometrist to perform cataract surgery, they can't. It's beyond our scope of practice and optometrists will NEVER perform cataract surgery. Major surgery is not
part of optometry and that means optometrists do not and will not perform things like LASIK surgery, retinal surgery, etc.
Scope of practice will vary state to state based on individual state law ( for example Oklahoma optometrist can do quite a few more things than other states, such as laser procedures), but major surgery still will never be something optometry does. Because that's not optometry.
I went to optometrists for years -- and years, who are trained to diagnose various eye issues.
many eye issues. (not just diagnose) The medical list is endless of the things optometrists are qualified and capable of treating.
Now I visit an opthamologist, who is generally an MD with more training than an optometrist to qualify that person to perform eye surgery on the diagnosis the optometrist might have made
In this day and age, really, the only difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist is that the ophthalmologist can do major surgery that involves sticking knives or needles into the eye. But that's it. For example, I can diagnose, treat, and manage a glaucoma patient just as well as an MD. The only caveat is if the patient requires a glaucoma surgery, which of course then they are referred for the surgery. I can also diagnose and manage a macular degeneration patient just as well as an MD (I left out "treatment" because there really isn't treatment available yet), unless they need an injection for wet AMD, and then they get referred for an injection. I can remove metal from the front of the eye, so long as it is superficial. I can diagnose cataracts, refer when necessary, and handle the post-operative care after the surgery. Same with LASIK. Etc and so forth.
So again, the only difference is the surgery aspect. Optometrist can and do handle everything else, and are qualified to do so. I earned a doctorate too
, just like the ophthalmologist. (I also get to spend 30-45 minutes with my patients instead of 5 minutes, which I greatly enjoy.) Optometry and ophthalmology work greatly hand-in-hand and compliment each other. As the baby boomers continue to age, ophthalmology continues to have more than it can handle. They need optometry to do the non-surgical medical care. Just as optometry needs ophthalmology, because they handle the surgical aspect that we don't do. But don't get the impression (or spread the impression) that optometry is LESSER than ophthalmology - because it is not.
Oh, and don't forget the other "h" in your spelling of oph
Okay, I'll get off my soap box now.