Qualifications and Services Optometrist Ophthalmologist Undergraduate degree Yes Yes Medical school 4 years optometry school 4 years medical school Post-medical school training 1-year residency (optional) 4–5 years internship and residency Medical degree O.D.
Doctor of Optometry
M.D. or D.O.
Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Performs exams Yes Yes Diagnoses vision issues Yes Yes Prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses Yes Yes Monitors eye health for people with certain medical conditions (diabetes, thyroid issues, multiple sclerosis, etc.) Yes Yes Treats eye-related issues due to complex medical conditions (diabetes, thyroid issues, multiple sclerosis, etc.) Yes Provides pre- and post-surgical care Yes Yes Provides vision therapy Yes Performs corrective procedures and surgeries Yes May be involved in scientific research Yes Yes May sub-specialize by patient type or medical condition with additional training and education Yes Yes