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  • Writer's pictureBrooke Felger

Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist? What's the difference?

We get this question a lot. What's the difference between an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist? Which one is Dr. Felger?

Well, there's a short answer and a long answer. And as with most things in life, it's not always straight forward when it comes to who can provide what kind of services.

The short answer, is that an ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. These individuals have gone to medical school and usually hold an M.D. or D.O. degree. These medical doctors can also have a specialty that require specific training - for example, in Pediatrics or Retinal conditions.

An optometrist is more of a general practitioner for your eyes. Optometrists still have to undergo many years of training, usually a 4-year degree as well as a 4-year Optometry degree (plus any specialized training on top of it), but are not licensed to perform advanced surgery or hold a medical degree from a medical school.

Seeing your optometrist is like seeing your primary care physician for your regular check-ups - if you require more advanced medical care, your optometrist would refer you to an ophthalmologist, just like your primary care physician may refer you to another specialist.

A general breakdown of services: Optometry and Ophthalmology

In short, optometrists provide eye exams, vision and eye tests, glasses and contact lens prescriptions, and if the doctor is a medical optometrist (like Dr. Felger), medical optometry services. Ophthalmologists may provide these same services, but also provide surgery for things like cataracts, glaucoma or plastic surgery for drooping lids.

About Dr. Dave

Dr. David and Miles Restaurant
Dr. Dave and oldest son, Miles

Evergreen Eye Care of Grand Haven (formerly the office of Dr. Ronda Ruscett - First Vision Care) is thrilled to be serving the Grand Haven, MI and surrounding areas under the care of Dr. David Felger.

"Dr. Dave" (as he likes to be called) is a medical optometrist. He completed his optometry degree at the Michigan College of Optometry, and then went on to complete an additional Ocular Disease residency in Columbus, Ohio. Not only can Dr. Dave and his experienced Opticians (Genevieve and Tonya) provide all routine eye care services, the team can also prescribe medications and help you manage your eye diseases and conditions such as dry eye, glaucoma, diabetic eye issues and more.

As many eye conditions develop without any early symptoms, it's extremely important that everyone (even children) receive annual medical eye exams before any disease may progress. Add an annual visit to Dr. Felger as part of your regular health routine today by giving us a call at 616-486-4200.

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