What are the differences between ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians? (Contributed by r_salis) Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, and Opticians are all eye care providers whose scopes of practice are defined by the types of training they receive. An Ophthalmologist is a physician -- an MD or DO -- who has completed a four year undergraduate degree, a four-year medical degree followed by a 1-year internship and 3-year (or more) residency in ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists (MD or DO) can: -- prescribe glasses and contact lenses -- diagnose eye abnormalities and disease -- treat all eye conditions and disease, including those of the surrounding flesh, bones, and muscle with surgery (conventional and laser surgery), medications, etc. -- diagnose other conditions and illnesses based on symptoms evident in the eyes and refer patients to another appropriate physician for treatment --fit, adjust and dispense eyeglasses _______________________________ An Optometrist is not a medical doctor, but receives the degree of OD at a 4-year optometry school after completing four (or sometimes three) years of undergraduate study. Optometrists (OD) can: -- prescribe glasses and contact lenses -- diagnose eye abnormalities and disease -- treat some types of eye disease -- diagnose other conditions and illnesses based on symptoms evident in the eyes and refer patients to another appropriate physician for treatment --fit, adjust and dispense eyeglasses _______________________________ An Optician is a technician who has either earned a 2-year optician degree from a community college or has learned while on the job. Opticians can: --fit, adjust and dispense eyeglasses Can optometrists do minor surgeries, laser surgeries, or intraocular surgeries? In 49 of 50 states, it is illegal for optometrists to do any of the above. In Oklahoma, because of aggressive optometry lobbying, optometrists (OD) may perform some laser procedures. A recent OK bill will permit OK optometrists to become ophthalmologists with the Optometry Board deciding which surgeries can and cannot be done. This sets a dangerous precedent for a non-surgical specialty to form its own surgical board. In the VA, OK optometrists were performing laser procedures and minor surgeries on veterans. Ophthalmologists must stand together and fight this now and in the future. We should be involved at the state and federal level. Any new optometry surgical bill need to be fought aggressively at the state level. Please give money to your local ophthalmology society, OPHTHPAC, and the new Surgical Scope Fund. Sign-in on www.aao.org first, then load this page. http://www.aao.org/aao/advocacy/ophthpac/index.cfm http://www.aao.org/aao/advocacy/state/ssf.cfm What are the different sub-specialties in ophthalmology? General ophthalmologists can treat the majority of eye diseases medically and surgically. If fellowship training is desired, there are several different sub-specialties including: - Cataract / General - Cornea - Glaucoma - Lasik / Refractive - Neuro - Ocular Pathology - Oculoplastics - Pediatric - Vitreo-retinal After fellowship, physicians may concentrate solely on their sub-specialty or practice general ophthalmology with an emphasis on their trained sub-specialty. For instance, ocular pathologists usually practice general ophthalmology, perform surgery, and concentrate on pathology. For more information about the different sub-specialties please visit here: http://www.eyemdlink.com/Specialties.asp I am interested in pursuing a career in ophthalmology. Where should I start? In medical school, talk to the medical student rotation director for ophthalmology. Arrange to do an ophthalmology elective during the end of your third year. This will allow you to explore the field and build relationships with attendings and staff who can write a letter of support for your application. Doing your first ophthalmology elective as a fourth year is too late because applications should be submitted to the Central Application Service before September of your fourth year of medical school. Read the Pearls in Ophthalmology Newsletter: http://www.medrounds.org/ophthalmology-pearls/ Subscribe to the newsletter: http://www.medrounds.org/ophthalmology-pearls/2006/12/subscribe-to-free-pearls-in.html Should I do a rotation at a different program as a medical student? This is a great idea if you're interested in doing a residency at a specific program. Completing a rotation at an outside institution will allow the faculty to know you better and increase your chances of being recognized during the selection process. However, this experience may also work against you if you're not liked. Contribute to or search the EyeRounds.org database of ophthalmology rotations: http://www.eyerounds.org/rotations.htm Is there a good book to teach me about examination techniques? I recommend these books published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology: "Practical Ophthalmology, A Manual for Beginning Residents" Edited by Fred M Wilson II, MD http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1560550341/eyeroundsorg-20/002-0240177-6525654?creative=327641&camp=14573&link_code=as1 "Basic Ophthalmology for Medical Students and Primary Care Residents" by Cynthia A. Bradford http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1560553618/eyeroundsorg-20/002-0240177-6525654?creative=327641&camp=14573&link_code=as1 You can also browse for other ophthalmology texts here: http://www.eyerounds.org/books.htm and on MedRounds. A free video on how to do complete a Two Minute Eye Exam for Students and Primary Care Physicians can be found here: http://www.medrounds.org/bookstore/ProductDetail.php?product_id=32 Learn to to refract - Refraction Tutorial: The Fundamentals for the Beginner and Expert by Todd Zarwell, OD http://www.medrounds.org/refract/menu.htm What is the Central Application Service (CAS)? This is a centralized application service for ophthalmology and a few other medical specialties. You submit all your letters and application materials to this service. The service will then send copies of your applications to the programs you are applying to. The Dean?s letter is sent after November when CAS receives it. The website is www.sfmatch.org. Ophthalmology is an early match and results are known in January. This allows time for students to arrange for an internship program which is organized by the NRMP (http://www.nrmp.org). How competitive is ophthalmology? All applicants must be graduates from a medical school with the M.D. or D.O. degree. Applicants are very strong candidates with good grades in medical school, excellent board scores, demonstrated interest in ophthalmology, and outstanding letters of recommendation. Here are some statistics from the 2001 match: CAS Participants: 798 (662 rank lists submitted) Matched Participants: 435 (379 were new US Seniors, 83% of new US Seniors matched) Matched Avg. USMLE I: 224 Unmatched Avg. USMLE I: 206 Avg. applications: 36 Avg. interviews: 7.5 Number of IMGs matched: 23 For the 2004 Match: CAS Participants: 786 (639 rank lists submitted) Matched Participants: 438 (369 were new US Seniors, 82% of new US Seniors matched) Matched Avg. USMLE I: 228 Unmatched Avg. USMLE I: 218 Avg. applications: 41 Avg. interviews: 7.9 (Average offers 4) Number of IMGs matched: 35 Percent Matched AOA - 20% For the 2005 Match: CAS Participants: 761 (596 rank lists submitted) Matched Participants: 443 (374 were new US Seniors, 86% of new US Seniors matched) Matched Avg. USMLE I: 229 Unmatched Avg. USMLE I: 213 Avg. applications: 43 Avg. interviews: 8.4 (Average offers 4.4) Number of IMGs matched: 34 For the 2006 Match: CAS Participants: 743 (620 rank lists submitted) Matched Participants: 446 (382 were new US Seniors, 88% of new US Seniors matched) Matched Avg. USMLE I: 230 Unmatched Avg. USMLE I: 215 Avg. applications: 45 Avg. interviews: 8.1 (Average offers 4.4) Number of IMGs matched: 26 For the 2007 Match: CAS Participants: 792 (648 rank lists submitted) Matched Participants: 449 (399 were new US Seniors, 89% of new US Seniors matched) Matched Avg. USMLE I: 231 Unmatched Avg. USMLE I: 215 Avg. applications: 47 Average offers 4.0 Number of IMGs matched: 25 SDN 2004 Match Stats: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=100344 SDN 2005 Match Stats: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=169692 SDN 2006 Match Stats: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=253556 SDN 2007 Match Stats: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=353655 SDN 2008 Match Stats: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=483563 SDN 2009 Match Stats: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=593386 How many interviews do I need to ensure matching at a program? Historically, applicants who have at least 7-8 interviews have the most likelihood of matching. However, with recent competition rising, most people will encourage the completion of 10 or more interviews, depending on your competitiveness.