Professional eye care has become more highly regarded as eye health continues to become more important. Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Opticians are the main types of eye care professions. Each one is significant, but they serve different roles and provide somewhat different services. However, they all have one thing in common- to assist all their patients with the best eye care in order see their best. And each profession requires different educational requirements.
When you need an "eye doctor" you might be thinking about an Optometrist when what you really require is an Ophthalmologist. Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine that deals with the diseases of the eye and their treatment. It literally means "the science of eyes."
An Ophthalmologist is a Medical Doctor (M.D.). As a medical doctor, an Ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine, perform surgery, in addition to performing, diagnosing and treating eye diseases, giving eye exams, and writing eyeglasses or contactlens prescriptions.
Becoming an Ophthalmologist requires graduation from an accredited medical school and a medical license. Medical school usually takes 4 years to complete after completing 4 years of undergraduate education. After completing medical school, graduates enter medical or surgical residency that may last several years depending on the specialty chosen. After the first residency an Ophthalmology residency requires 3 additional years dedicated to medical and surgical eye care training.
Becoming an Ophthalmologist is a long, arduous journey but for people who have the patience and talent, the rewards of helping people, saving people's sight, and even saving lives justifies the long road.