Eye Surgeon verses Optometrist- An unfair but essential comparison

Do you think the corporate spectacle shops ( including online ones)  & the optometrist at the corner of your road can diagnose and  treat you for your eye vision problem completely & accurately? After reading this post , you may need a change in your opinion.

One should be aware of signs of simple condition like myopia which are on a regular basis now a days by optometrist who calculates eye power.

  • Signs of near sightedness( myopia)- include, genetic predisposition if mothers and fathers are myopic, squinting, eye strain , feeling fatigued when driving or playing sports, malignant myopia where the vision loss can be rapid due to elongation of eyeball and is irreversible. Similarly there are various reasons for presbyopia, astigmatism.
  • The people with high myopia may suffer from Retinal detachment( laser is required for its correction) .
  • An optometrist is incompetent/not trained to look behind your lens. If he misses the retinal detachment and does not refer you to the eye surgeon, you will have to face the consequence.
  • In case of compound power, it is purely the competence of optometrist which will help in determining the power of lens. Many cases are coming up with wrong power calculation. It is advisable to consult an eye surgeon before going to a spectacle shop. Once the eye power has increased, it cannot be lowered without surgical intervention.
  •  It’s for the patient to decide whether he considers optometrist ( guys with degree in power calculation sitting in corporate and local eye shops, authorized to calculate eye power , competent enough to diagnose even these condition completely and afford to miss the retinal detachment and silent diseases like glaucoma or other associated eye pathology if they are present in eyes.
  • The patient’s power will increase through incorrect or incomplete diagnosis and harm his eyes.It’s your eyes , always consult an experienced eye surgeon before you go to any spectacle shop to buy your spectacles
  • There are silent and irreversible disease in family like glaucoma or kala motia which has a family history.
  • It is the duty of the doctor to ask history of such disease. Can you expect your local optician to ask such history? If he misses your glaucoma by not checking your eye pressure, you vision loss is irreversible.
  • The guy sitting in spectacle shop may sell you a branded  eyeglasses, give a very good deal and pamper you with snacks but what purpose it serves if the some part of your diagnosis is missed and causes irreversible loss of vision.
  • The optometrist is trained just in power calculation and dispensing of contact lenses. He is not trained to diagnose and treat any eye disease, look behind the lens through indirect opthalmoscope, use instruments like slit lamp.  He is incompetent to treat any eye disease like amblyopia or lazy eye. 
  • If he is giving medicine/drugs along with dispensing of spectacles , he is most probably committing a crime.
  • If you are going to optometrist first , it purely depends on his training and expertise whether he is able to suspect any associated pathology or not and refers you the eye surgeon and if he misses it or makes a wrong diagnosis, the loss is yours and only yours.
  • Lastly the optometrist will be never held responsible for wrong diagnosis. The doctor’s prescription caries a legal value and he will always advice in patient’s best interest.


Dr Arjun Kumar Singh

Avadh Eye Hospital, Patna



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