What is an Opthamologist?

Welcome to the Online Opthamologist Guide. Here you will find general information about ophthalmology (or “opthalmology”, as most people tend to spell it), and the Opthamologist profession. Furthermore, you can now also read about the Optometrist profession, Eye doctors and you can even search for opthamologists online. Plus, we have added a glossary on the various eye ailments and eye surgery techniques.

What is an Opthamologist (Ophthalmologist)?

Opthamologists are essentially eye specialists.  This doctoral branch of medicine deals with diseases of the eyes and will also deal with issues with the visual pathways of the eyes. An opthamologist may perform eye surgery and will also deal with other problems that  occurs in any of the areas surrounding the eye.

Opthamologists also deal with the lacrimal system and problems with the eyelid.  Essentially, these doctors are bale to give eye care in all the areas of eye treatment, unlike other types of eye doctors, who are trained only in more ‘basic’ eye care. The big difference is the level of schooling that each has.

Opthamologist | Ophthalmology
Opthamologist | Ophthalmology is a medical field that require extensive training.

Opthamologist vs Optometrist.

An Optometrist is a health care professional who can  provide primary eye care services, such as:

* Examining, diagnosing and treatment of visual conditions such as astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness and presbyopia.

* Prescription of glasses, contact lenses and medications as well as performing  minor surgical procedures, such as the removal of foreign bodies in the eye.

* Examining and diagnosing of eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal diseases.

* Diagnosing related systemic (bodywide) conditions such as hypertension and diabetes that may affect the eyes;

An optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry, an O.D. (not  a Doctor of Medicine, an M.D.). To become an optometrist, one must complete pre-professional undergraduate college education followed by 4 years of professional education in a college of optometry.

An Ophthalmologist is an eye M.D., a medical doctor whospecialize in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care: These specialists can be found prescribing glasses and contact lenses, should they so choose too, and are also capable of  complex and delicate eye surgery. They may also be involved in eye research.  These professionals are required to have approximately 13 years of college and residency, before they can receive their degree.  This is what allows them to move flexibly through anything in this field.

There is a lot of training involved in becoming an expert in the field of opthamology.  This is the training an opthamologist will undergo in the US:

Four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of internship, and three years of residency or hospital based training.  But for someone that is good in the sciences, and has a desire to help others with issues with their vision, this is an exceptional field of medicine to choose as a profession.

When someone chooses to become an opthamologist, that person can choose to go for this highest level degree.  But after the numerous years of college and medical education and training, they then must pass a rigorous, two part examination given by the Board of Opthamology.

These specialists then are able to treat a whole host of eye issues for patients,  such as:  eyelid abnormalities, excess tearing, anyone with a family history of eye disease, loss of peripheral vision, double vision, misaligned eyes, bulging of one or both of the eyes, a curtain or veil blocking vision, haloes, an injury or eye pain, red eye, floaters, distorted vision, and more.  Unlike optometrists, opthamologists can, due to their advanced training,  perform treatment ranging from the most minor to the most extreme and complex of eye surgeries.

Opthamologists can also specialize, as  neuro opthamologists or pediatric opthamologists.

Opthamologists’ annual wages in the US vary greatly, from as little as $ 80000 to, at the maximum of about $ 400000 a year.

The average annual salary for an ophthalmologist is about $ 200.000. For more on the Opthamologist salary vs the Optometrist salary, please see the correct page on th right hand side.

Opthamologist vs Optometrist. Opthamologist Salary.
Opthamologist – Optometrist. An Opthamologist at work with an eye patient.

AN INTERESTING VIDEO: A Journey through the Human Eye.



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16 Thoughts to “OPTHAMOLOGIST”


    Please, if you a a question about ophthalmology, then ask it here, for other users to comment on. Also, if you are an opthamologist, then please leave your contact details here in the comment section.

  2. Dala

    I haven’t been feeling well the past weekend. My daughters family (my grandchildren) all have runny noses, coughing…so I thought I must be coming down with whatever they’ve had. I’ve had a headache and a slight runny nose and sore throat over the weekend, but it’s gone now except for the headache. I also suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome, so sore throats are pretty common for me. I never know when I’m really sick until I get a fever, but I don’t think I’ve had one.

    Anyway, when I woke up this morning, my right eye hurt a little behind my eye when I moved it and I found a small nodule at the outer corner of my orbit when I look towards my nose. Not on the eye, but in the flesh of the orbit surrounding the eye. I took a couple of pics of it and that can be seen here: http://flickr.com/photos/64724301@N08/

    It can’t be seen unless I pull back the skin as seen in the pics. It looks a little like a varicose vein, in a way, purplish. It doesn’t hurt much when I push on that part of my eye. No worse than the left eye does in the same place. When I look to the far left (like I’m trying to look at my nose) it doesn’t hurt where this ‘thing’ is, it hurts above and behind my eye like it’s my sinuses, which isn’t anything unusual …I’ve had my eyes hurt like this before at times. I just thought it was sinuses, which it may just be, and I may have had this ‘thing’ for years, just didn’t notice it before. I did a lot of reading yesterday, books and laptop (was on the couch most of the day). I thought the eye pain might be from eye strain (I don’t normally do a lot of reading due to blurred vision from my meds).

    Any idea’s what it could be?


      hi dala, sorry i didn’t see your post. From judging the photo, you should see an opthalmologist or eye doctor, to get a proper diagnosis. If any other visitors are able to tell exactly what it is form those photos, then please leave a comment.

  3. Jack

    I’m in high school and have been looking for careers and I can’t decide what would be better Ophthalmologist or optometrist witch do you think would be more worth it for me in the long run?

    1. Ophthalmologists Online

      Hi, Jack it takes more training to become a qualified Ophthalmologist, but usually the pay is also better. You must decide for yourself :)

      1. Adisney P.

        Hello, I am a Senior in High School, and I have been very interested in the medical field of Opthamology… What are things you think would be key for me to know before I head to college? Also what are the classes I will be taking? Which degree do you recommend?

        Thank you (:

  4. rivsmom

    what are the preop and post op medications for cataract surgery? i am doing a nursing report

  5. Sam

    Please i want to know what is called squint. Somebody said my 8 mnths old baby has it. Thank you

    1. Ophthalmologists Online

      H sam – “‘Strabismus’ is another word for ‘squint’. Squint is the term used when the two eyes are not pointing in the same direction.
      An eye may turn in (convergent squint) or turn out (divergent squint). Occasionally one eye may be higher or lower than the other (vertical squint). The squint may be constant (present at all times) or occur only intermittently. “

  6. Sekwala

    Being in the field of opthamologist i think it is great,because you are able to examine the whole eye,but becoming an opthamologist takes so many eyes and i’m intrested in this career,i just want to know which university or college should i go to,to study opthamologist and where do opthamologists work

  7. Sekwala

    I’m intrested in the field of opthamologist,i just want to know which college or university should i go to study and pursue my career as an opthamologist and where do opthamologists work,thanks

    1. Ophthalmologists Online

      Hi Sekvala, there is a list of good Optometry schools and universities on our ‘Optometrists’ page.

  8. Nomi Mtwana

    I am a 25yr old lady. In 1992 I was shot and my right eye optic nerve totally damaged or broken.
    Every night I put ointment in the eye. My eyes are not alined. for this reason I never take any pictures without sunshades or too shy to do so.
    I do not wear specs as I visited an optometrist he told me I don’t need them.
    The last time in had an oparation on my eye was when I was I think 8 or 9.
    I might never be able to see with this eye again, but I need to line them at least to look normal. People look profusely and makes me feel uncomfortable. Is there a surgery you may suggest.

    1. Ophthalmologists Online

      Hi nomu, it is usually possible to have eyes aligned, but it might take more than one operation to perfect. Some patients gain fully normal function, with coordinated use of both eyes (binocular fusion and depth perception), but each patient’s potential for a good result is different. This fact must be well understood to avoid disappointment. You need to have a consultation with a local eye doctor/opthamologist in your local area to find out the prospects for you.

  9. becky

    I’ve had an issue with my left eye for quite some time. I wear contacts, however, I don’t sleep with them in. My eye continues to water alot. I’ve been to an optomatrist and my regular doctor. Both thinking it may be allergy related. I’ve tried prescriptions for it as well as an allergy eye drop (i.e. visine). Neither seem to help long term. The watering will go away at certain times, then return. It also seems tobother my contact, like it feels like its torn or dirty. At this point, I don’t know which type if doctor to see. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you

  10. Evelyn Germaine

    One way to remember the different between the two specialists is to think about the word. A “metrist” measures, and a “thamologist” has to go to “thirteen years of school to measure as well as a bunch of other things. Hope that helps! Next time you’re in Arizona, come check out centralphoenixeyecare.com.

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