The principal difference between these two eye care professionals is the presence (or absence) of a medical degree. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors and vision care specialists possessing diagnostic skills, together with the ability to treat eye disorders and diseases.
Ophthalmologists are also qualified to undertake eye surgery, accurately prescribe corrective lenses and dispense advice for preventing blindness. Training in clinical and surgical settings is also a prerequisite.
Optometrists, on the other hand, perform routine eye examinations and general vision care procedures such as screening patients for certain eye disorders like glaucoma. They will also determine the need for, fit and prescribe corrective eyewear and/or lenses.