An optometrist (OD) is specially trained to diagnose and treat thousands of different eye health and vision problems. They identify certain conditions by performing eye exams, vision tests, and prescribing medications.

When to see an optometrist

If you need a routine eye exam, have vision changes, or have a minor eye disease or condition, start by visiting an optometrist. It is also best to see an optometrist annually to help maintain healthy vision and avoid potential issues. Optometrists can treat common eye problems, such as:

  • Vision changes
  • Dry eyes
  • Nearsightedness and farsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetes

Optometrist or ophthalmologist?

Depending on your situation, whether you should see an optometrist or ophthalmologist will vary. However, it is best to start by seeing an optometrist. They will help you determine the best option, and they may later refer you to an ophthalmologist.

What to expect when visiting an optometrist

Visiting an optometrist can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. Typically, your eye doctor will take you to an exam room for a comprehensive vision test to determine how well your eyesight is. They will then examine your eyes for any underlying health conditions or vision problems, such as astigmatism. Once the exams are completed, you will get an eye prescription or a prescription for medication, depending on the issue. If you are lucky, you will walk out with perfect vision.