Many people may unclear about the precise difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. When a person is seeking eye care or a major procedure such as eyelid surgery, it is important for them to understand the distinction between the two.

Dr. Jennifer Hui is a well-known oculoplastic surgeon and ophthalmologist providing state of the art eye care procedures to patients in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Coachella Valley, and surrounding locations.


Optometrists were traditionally trained to diagnose and treat certain vision conditions as well as prescribe and fit prescription eyeglass lenses and contact lenses. Vision correction exams or ‘refractions’ were an important part of an optometrist’s job, and it still continues to be that way.

However, today optometrists are trained more comprehensively in eye disease diagnosis and treatment. The training in optometry has become more medically oriented now. Apart from refractions and optics, the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease as well as other systemic eye health conditions are a part of their training now.

While optometrists are not MDs, most of them can prescribe certain medications as well as diagnose and treat eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal disease, and certain ocular disorders. Patients should note that not all optometrists are trained in these areas, particularly if they graduated prior to 2000.


An ophthalmologist is an M.D. or medical doctor specializing in eye care. There are certain marked distinctions between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. Dr. Hui, a leading expert in cosmetic surgery as well as eyelid surgery, receiving patients from Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Coachella Valley, and nearby areas.

Patients should be aware that an ophthalmologist is trained to perform eye surgery, but optometrists are not. Surgery for cataract removal, Lasik vision correction, or surgeries related to burns, eye trauma or detachments of retina may be performed by an ophthalmologist. Dr. Hui is a highly trained and experienced eye surgeon providing cutting edge eye care procedures.

An ophthalmologist receives specialized training in diagnosing and treating complex medical eye conditions. Sometimes they may work in coordination with an optometrist to treat and manage an eye disease. As M.D., an ophthalmologist is authorized to prescribe a wider range of prescription medications than an optometrist.

Education and Training

An ophthalmologist would have received at least four or more years of pre-medical undergraduate education, four years of medical school, and an additional year of internship to acquire their doctorate degree. After becoming a licensed physician, they will undergo at least three or more years of residency, with medical and surgical training in eye care.


While an ophthalmologist may leave day to day vision correction services such as eye exams, refraction, and lens prescription to an optometrist, they are fully trained to provide these services. Their main focus would usually be on eye surgery procedures, which require advanced training and expertise.

It is not unusual for an ophthalmologist and an optometrist to work in the same office and provide treatment to the same patient in coordination with each other.

If you are looking for more information about cosmetic eyelid surgery and non-surgical eyelid treatments and procedures performed by Oculoplastic Eyelid Surgeon Dr. Jennifer Hui and live in or around Palm Springs, La Quinta, Coachella Valley, Palm Desert, Riverside, Redlands, Yucaipa, Loma Linda California, Rancho Mirage call 760 610 2677 or click here to contact us.

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