smsc2009

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I am just curious about what limits Optometrists (OD) have compared to an Opthamologists. (MD) They both have to go to school for four years undergraduate, and then four years medical/optomatry school, and then a four year residency? Opthamologists have to do a residency, what about Optometrists? I know OD are allowed to presribe medication, however only for eye related infections, correct? Opthamologists have the right to do surgey, can Optometrists? I would assume only the MD can admit someone into a hospital, or do Optometrists (OD) have that power too? I was just curious for the differences and figured I would get good answers here,
Thanks
 

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ODs go to optometry school for 4 years and are done. Ophs go to med school, then specialize in eyes, residency, etc. Ophs are MDs first, Opts aren't. Ophs can do surgery, Opts can't.
 

JeffChou

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I am just curious about what limits Optometrists (OD) have compared to an Opthamologists. (MD) They both have to go to school for four years undergraduate, and then four years medical/optomatry school, and then a four year residency? Opthamologists have to do a residency, what about Optometrists? I know OD are allowed to presribe medication, however only for eye related infections, correct? Opthamologists have the right to do surgey, can Optometrists? I would assume only the MD can admit someone into a hospital, or do Optometrists (OD) have that power too? I was just curious for the differences and figured I would get good answers here,
Thanks

As far as I know:

Optometrists: Undergrad-> Optometry school (OD) ->optional residency or just start working
They get TPA certified to prescribe related medicine.

Ophthalmologists: Undergrad-> Med School (MD) -> residency (ophthalmology)
They are trained in surgery and can prescribe the full spectrum of medicine. They can do all the things optometrists do (fit optical stuff).

There are regional differences among the states to be aware of. California, I hear, is much more conservative and typically accepts new trends later (TPA certification, etc.). Some states require continuing education to renew licenses while others don't. Also, there are a handful of states, such as Oklahoma, that allow optometrists to perform some non-refractive surgeries. I know little about the details.

The realm with which each type of doctor prefers to practice in is a much more involved discussion. Some will tell you that this type of doctor is better at this than that type. This is an age old argument and I'm sure you'll find out more than you'd imagine with a search of the old threads. Optometrists are also going in the direction of becoming the "primary eye care providers" who then refer patients with more serious conditions to specialized ophthalmologists. Whether or not this really is the case, I am uncertain.

May any more informed optometrist or student please correct me if I am wrong or add to these details if possible.
 
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KHE

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I am just curious about what limits Optometrists (OD) have compared to an Opthamologists. (MD) They both have to go to school for four years undergraduate, and then four years medical/optomatry school, and then a four year residency? Opthamologists have to do a residency, what about Optometrists? I know OD are allowed to presribe medication, however only for eye related infections, correct? Opthamologists have the right to do surgey, can Optometrists? I would assume only the MD can admit someone into a hospital, or do Optometrists (OD) have that power too? I was just curious for the differences and figured I would get good answers here,
Thanks


Can we please close this thread down right now before the inevitable sniping begins? There is simply no positive outcome to a thread like this and it seems as if this person is so clueless its not even worth discussing these issues.

I don't normally attack someones spelling or grammar on the internet because we all can be pretty bad at times, but come on. Lets be serious now. How can anyone seeking honest answers to questions post a message like the one (s)he did?

I'm smelling the foul stench of a troll here.
 

IndianaOD

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Ok I'm going to chime in here because I think the differences are important to know before you get accepted to a school of either type (OD or MD).

An optometrist (OD) is the primary eyecare provider. There are specializing ODs who do disease, specialty contact lenses, low vision or vision rehab, pediatrics and vision therapy. Most ODs are primary care in that they handle whatever comes in. This would include anything from glasses and contacts to managing glaucoma with meds, eye infections, foreign bodies, headaches and eyestrain etc. If surgery is required to benefit the patient then they are referred to an ophthalmologist. Usually this would be for cataracts but includes other things as well. Some states lag behind, but usually ODs can Rx any topical or oral meds that relate to treating an eye condition. For example an oral antibiotic for preseptal cellulitis (infection of the tissue surrounding the orbit). Optometry is 4 years of didactic and clinical training. More and more opt for a 5th year of residency training as I did to concentrate on a specific area. Optometry also includes extra training in optics and binocular vision.


Ophthalmologist (OMD, eyeMD etc) is usually referred to as an eye surgeon. They have 4 years of med school plus the in between year and 3 years of residency learning about eyes and eye surgery. All of the knowledge about the eye is almost strictly concentrated in the 3 year residency. Some OMDs spend some extra time in a sub-specialty like retina surgery or pediatric surgeries etc. Much less training on routine eye care and most on learning surgical management. In my experience they split their time between the OR and office time with mostly quick and numerous patient encounters.

Summary: If you want to take care of 95% of ocular problems become an optometrist. If you want to make the big bucks and spend time in the operating room become an ophthalmologist.

P.S. Don't base your opinions by contact with only 1 or 2 doctors from either camp. There are numerous duds on each side.
 

luckyfool

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Summary: If you want to take care of 95% of ocular problems become an optometrist. If you want to make the big bucks and spend time in the operating room become an ophthalmologist.

I am not too sure about 95% of the ocular problems or anything in the vicinity of it -- it's safer to say majority rather than giving a specific percentage. Anyway, the problem is that OMDs are trying to do the bulk of patients with simple eye problems that ODs can manage. Ex. People with headaches, watery eyes, dry eyes...etc.
 

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I am not too sure about 95% of the ocular problems or anything in the vicinity of it -- it's safer to say majority rather than giving a specific percentage. Anyway, the problem is that OMDs are trying to do the bulk of patients with simple eye problems that ODs can manage. Ex. People with headaches, watery eyes, dry eyes...etc.


Geesh, what kind of reply is that. 95% or majority what does it matter, I'm sure the point will get across. ODs handle simple and not so simple. Diabetics, glaucoma, recurrent iritis. I commonly order MRIs and lab work. I'm really not sure what the point of your reply was.
 

luckyfool

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Geesh, what kind of reply is that. 95% or majority what does it matter, I'm sure the point will get across. ODs handle simple and not so simple. Diabetics, glaucoma, recurrent iritis. I commonly order MRIs and lab work. I'm really not sure what the point of your reply was.

The problem - you trivialized a percentage (95%) to make it seem like ODs are the sole primary vision care provider [and i'd be happy to see some references for the 95%] I don't know where you live, but your proposed % certainly doesn't apply to where I live. Here optometrists don't provide close to all primary vision care. There are OMDs who do surgeries and see tons of patients with simple vision problems..and demand them to come back for followup. If i had to make a rough guess, ODs provide about 60% of vision care here.


You said you commonly handle lab work? I'm not sure how that's relevant to your argument.
 

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I give up.:mad: There is no meaning in 95%, it was a figure of speech. I figured you were on one of the coasts. Here in the midwest it is nothing like that. I said you could take care of 95% of what people see an eye doctor of either type for, not that ODs provide 95% of all eyecare. Ocular pathology is not really all that common. If its not a surgically ready cataract, retinal detachment/hole, proliferative diabetic retinopathy that is ready for surgery, eye muscle surgery, or some other rare conditions; you can take care of it or monitor the condition until surgery is necessary. Also things that some people consider "routine" have a huge impact on peoples lives, for the good or bad depending on how seriously its addressed. Please read carefully if you are going to reply again. I was answering the questions from previous posters.
 

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I'll just repost to move this thread back up since I think its important.
 

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Ophthalmologist (OMD, eyeMD etc) is usually referred to as an eye surgeon. They have 4 years of med school plus the in between year and 3 years of residency learning about eyes and eye surgery. All of the knowledge about the eye is almost strictly concentrated in the 3 year residency.

FYI, the "in between" year is called "internship". In regards to ophthalmic knowledge; all MD's/DO's must know the eye manifestations of primary and systemic diseases (Viral vs. bacterial conjunctivitis, DM, HTN, and Wilson's Dz) before graduation. It's part of the USMLE's (medical boards). The ophthalmology residency will train you in how to diagnose and treat those eye conditions/manifestations. Just my 2 cents…:thumbup:

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did you have to give your 2cents? such a waste of time
 
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IndianaOD

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FYI, the "in between" year is called "internship". In regards to ophthalmic knowledge; all MD's/DO's must know the eye manifestations of primary and systemic diseases (Viral vs. bacterial conjunctivitis, DM, HTN, and Wilson's Dz) before graduation. It's part of the USMLE's (medical boards). The ophthalmology residency will train you in how to diagnose and treat those eye conditions/manifestations. Just my 2 cents…:thumbup:

DiveMD
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I have no problem with your 2 cents though med-school training on the eye is extremely limited. You will realized this after you get through Ophth. I have 3 very close friends that are MDs. 2 FPs and one ER. They have all told me they don't know crap about the eye. This is backed up by prescribing practices of PCPs and ER docs. They dump a crappy antibiotic on everything. I think its crazy they even treat red eyes without a good knowledge base or a slit lamp. There is yet another MD being sued for mistreating a corneal MK. If I was not an OD or Ophth I sure wouldn't touch the eye. A few classes on eye conditions is not sufficient at all when there are 2 professions completely devoted to a single organ.

If you don't mind me asking, why ophthalmology?
 

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did you have to give your 2cents? such a waste of time

there was absolutely nothing wrong with DiveMD's post. Please try to keep the conversation civil.

I know to many of us that have been on SDN a long time.. the whole MD vs OD thing is old hat. But, remember guys, SDN is cyclical and new people/ younger people are discovering the site all the time.

This is an EDUCATIONAL site. That's what it's here for.. to educate.

Explaining the difference between the MD and OD degrees is part of it. If you can't handle that here.. how are you going to handle it the three or four times a week people ask you out in practice. Are you going to snipe at them, too?

Yes, these threads tend to head into trollish grounds.. it's our jobs to stay professional and answer them honestly.
 

DiveMD

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I have no problem with your 2 cents though med-school training on the eye is extremely limited. You will realized this after you get through Ophth. I have 3 very close friends that are MDs. 2 FPs and one ER. They have all told me they don't know crap about the eye. This is backed up by prescribing practices of PCPs and ER docs. They dump a crappy antibiotic on everything. I think its crazy they even treat red eyes without a good knowledge base or a slit lamp. There is yet another MD being sued for mistreating a corneal MK. If I was not an OD or Ophth I sure wouldn't touch the eye. A few classes on eye conditions is not sufficient at all when there are 2 professions completely devoted to a single organ.

If you don't mind me asking, why ophthalmology?

Most physicians are aware of the repercussions of certain conditions in ocular health (maybe you should round one day with internal medicine). But I agree with you that most are not proficient in treating those conditions. That’s why most MD’s should be smart enough to refer or consult ophthalmology (if ER or inpatient) when necessary. The human body is too complex to know everything about every organ/system. That’s why we have specialists in every single organ/systems with sub-specialties within the same organ/system. Eye care is not the exception. But just because I am not an ENT (otolaryngologists), does not mean that I don't know anything about the vestibulo-cochlear system, external, middle or inner ear pathology. We must have general knowledge about all body organs in order to diagnose multi-organ pathologies and refer them to specialists when necessary. Then again, we should keep this discussion in a professional level. Whoever is oversensitive or have some sort of inferiority complex should refrain from replying these posts.

Why ophthalmology? … Why not?
 

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there was absolutely nothing wrong with DiveMD's post. Please try to keep the conversation civil.

I know to many of us that have been on SDN a long time.. the whole MD vs OD thing is old hat. But, remember guys, SDN is cyclical and new people/ younger people are discovering the site all the time.

This is an EDUCATIONAL site. That's what it's here for.. to educate.

Explaining the difference between the MD and OD degrees is part of it. If you can't handle that here.. how are you going to handle it the three or four times a week people ask you out in practice. Are you going to snipe at them, too?

Yes, these threads tend to head into trollish grounds.. it's our jobs to stay professional and answer them honestly.

Got it. I didn't quite intend it to come out like it did! (though in hindsight I shouldn't have posted that response in the first place.) But yes, i agree, these threads are very good and having open discussions is helpful for everyone (myself included or I wouldn't be here!) Sorry for any offence chaps...
 

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Most physicians are aware of the repercussions of certain conditions in ocular health (maybe you should round one day with internal medicine). But I agree with you that most are not proficient in treating those conditions. That's why most MD's should be smart enough to refer or consult ophthalmology (if ER or inpatient) when necessary. The human body is too complex to know everything about every organ/system. That's why we have specialists in every single organ/systems with sub-specialties within the same organ/system. Eye care is not the exception. But just because I am not an ENT (otolaryngologists), does not mean that I don't know anything about the vestibulo-cochlear system, external, middle or inner ear pathology. We must have general knowledge about all body organs in order to diagnose multi-organ pathologies and refer them to specialists when necessary. Then again, we should keep this discussion in a professional level. Whoever is oversensitive or have some sort of inferiority complex should refrain from replying these posts.

Why ophthalmology? … Why not?

Interesting you said consult with ophthalmology. You're brainwashed already. Don't be too overconfident about training that you hear once and don't practice. You'll end up on the wrong side of the courtroom. If you're stating I have an inferiority complex, please. I turned down medical school. You'll never understand the visual system like I do, at least not from schooling. Try not to insult people or professions you know little about.

My posts were objective and I was even respectful to you, but if you are going to start flaming you can go elsewhere.
 

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They have all told me they don't know crap about the eye.

If you don't mind me asking, why ophthalmology?

I was planning to go into Opthalmology but...

I assure you, after you spend 40 some odd hours hours searching for the optic, occulomotor, trochlear, and abducent nerves...you too will know crap about they eye. Add several months more of nervous tract systems and you too will learn to hate the eyes! And then there is Robbin's Pathology...there are like 50 billion hormonal problems... I tell you, the teachers are all in on it.

And I swear, all those lesion problems with the hypothalamus impinging on the optic chiasm and middle CA infarct... all those glorious Edinger-Westphal questions can eat my shorts.

So that is why I am not going to be an opthalmologist.

Arterial Circle of Willis? Lateral tegmental tract? Medial longitudinal track of the thalamus. Or better yet, the Paranucliue pontine nuclear reflex arch for your lateral rectus and medial rectus....Give me a break. I can't even bloody pronounce some of the names.

Nevertheless I think all you ODs and eye MDs are people are pretty cool people. Eyes are important, so you guys get a thumbs up:thumbup: . But I will still burn up the genetics and neruoanatomy books.
 

DiveMD

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Interesting you said consult with ophthalmology. You're brainwashed already. Don't be too overconfident about training that you hear once and don't practice. You'll end up on the wrong side of the courtroom. If you're stating I have an inferiority complex, please. I turned down medical school. You'll never understand the visual system like I do, at least not from schooling. Try not to insult people or professions you know little about.

My posts were objective and I was even respectful to you, but if you are going to start flaming you can go elsewhere.

What do you know about medicine? How can you make statements about medical education if you've never been in medical school? And if you are such a happy optometrist; then why post every other day in the ophthalmology forum? The only thing worst than being ignorant, is being arrogant and ignorant. By the way, I was being very generic in my "inferiority complex" comment. I was not trying to personally attack you. But don't worry..this is my last post in this hostile forum.
 

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I was only on the ophthalmology forum I think 2 or 3 days until I started winning the debate with facts and the moderator got nervous and shut down the thread.

Please leave the name calling at home. I know about medicine from my close friends, working with residents, and seeing patients after things went wrong. I think you probably know far less about optometry than I do medicine. It doesn't matter, when you get out and practicing all that medicine will fade away as routine sets in. Come back for a civil chat once you're the one in charge of your patient's eyecare.

My responses on this thread were constructive and respective of Ophth until another MD comes in with the god-complex. I truly do wish you the best with your education and future. The eyes are a magnificently complex organ.

Unfortunately eyecare did not develop like dentistry where surgeons start with the specialty schooling and can expand. In the perfect world the 2 eyecare professions would work perfectly together with ODs handing all the routine exams, binocular vision, and medical eyecare. Then if surgery was warrented they would be referred to Ophthalmology. In this way there would be no overlapping turf and the surgeons would have more specialized surgical scope where "practice makes perfect" Its not hard for optometrists to take offense though since organized ophthalmology constantly attacks and degrades the profession. In a local legislative meeting in my state, the committee members remarked that they were tired of Ophthalmology insulting Optometry. Optometry should be a self legislating profession as it was set up to be. Very few ODs actively insult or degrade Ophthalmology. We can only hope that taking the high road pays off.
 
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I would like to get this clear: How many years of education are needed to become an Oph ?

4 undergrad + 4 in Med + 4 in specialty ???
 

mtrlOATgal

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in QC its 1 yr undergrad + 4 yrs med school + residency

for certain students from CEGEP who go through some grilling interviews and essays and those with the highest ranks in their program
 

LizUMD

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Typically four years of college, four years of medical school, one year general internship, and three years residency as minimum (12 years). Optional fellowship (usually two years) for sub-specialization.

Typically optometry would be four years of college and four years of optometry school as minimum (8 years). Optional residency (usually one year) for specialization.


(IndianaOD... you left out the internship year for medicine. Also the 90 credit/3 years undergrad is relatively rare, both in medicine and optometry. Typically less than 5% of accepted students in both fields do not have a four year degree.)
 

IndianaOD

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Typically four years of college, four years of medical school, one year general internship, and three years residency as minimum (12 years). Optional fellowship (usually two years) for sub-specialization.

Typically optometry would be four years of college and four years of optometry school as minimum (8 years). Optional residency (usually one year) for specialization.


(IndianaOD... you left out the internship year for medicine. Also the 90 credit/3 years undergrad is relatively rare, both in medicine and optometry. Typically less than 5% of accepted students in both fields do not have a four year degree.)

Liz, it was my understanding that with the internship year its actually closer to 4 calendar years. It seemed like my Med-school friends were in this phase while I was still a fourth year OD student. Doesn't really matter.
 
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