I recently had the pleasure of celebrating my one year anniversary with Silverdale Eye Physicians. In reflecting upon my experience since joining the practice, one of the most common questions I encountered was, “What’s the difference between an ophthalmologist (Dr. Cheung) and an optometrist (myself)?” Ophthalmologists attend four years of medical school followed by four years of an ophthalmology residency. Some ophthalmologists elect to pursue an additional year of specialized fellowship training, such as Dr. Cheung did with a pediatrics and strabismus fellowship. Ophthalmologists diagnose and manage ocular diseases as well as operate within and around the eye.
Optometrists attend four years of optometry school followed by an optional year of
residency training. Optometry residencies are an opportunity for advanced training in areas such as ocular disease, pediatrics, specialty contact lenses, and low vision rehabilitation. In general, optometrists focus more on primary care of the visual system, including the prescribing of glasses and contact lenses, as well as the diagnosis and management of ocular disease.
Think of it like going to your primary care physician for a yearly checkup. While they will be able to manage most early to moderate disease, they will refer you to a specialist for advanced care or surgery if they encounter a problem outside of their expertise.
At Silverdale Eye Physicians we strive to give our patients the best of both worlds. Dr.
Cheung frequently sends patients to me for contact lens fittings, and I refer patients to him when they are ready for cataract surgery. We hope that by combining our strengths we can provide the best possible care for you and your family.