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Do you know what the difference is between ophthalmologists and optometrists? A medical degree and many more years of training, for starters. A recent article from U.S. News and World Report explains what ophthalmologists are and how they can help you look after your vision and your overall health.

As George Bartley, MD, an ophthalmologist at the Mayo Clinic and chief executive officer of the American Board of Ophthalmology, told U.S. News, “[a] typical ophthalmology practice can be very wide, […] you see all ages from newborns up to age 100.”

Since ophthalmologists are also medical doctors, with an MD (medical doctor) or DO (doctor of osteopathy) degree, they are trained to notice other health problems as well. As U.S. News notes, an ophthalmologist may be able to see signs of other health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer by looking at your eyes. Sometimes an eye exam can even diagnose a life-threatening, emergency condition like an artery blockage.

Many ophthalmologists also choose to specialize beyond general practice. Subspecialist ophthalmologists may focus on a particular condition like glaucoma, or on one group of patients, like children. Whether you’re choosing a cataract surgeon or advocating for your child’s health, make sure you know who is taking care of your eyes.

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U.S. News Highlights the Value of Ophthalmologists

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