How a low vision optometrist and ophthalmologist can help?

Published on
October 7, 2022

This blog discusses the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists and how they work together to treat patients effectively.

Why should someone with low vision visit both an Ophthalmologist and a low vision optometrist?

The simple answer is that an Ophthalmologist and a low vision optometrist work together to improve the health and vision of the patient, each one providing a different aspect of care. The Ophthalmologist's job is to treat the underlying condition and prevent further deterioration of the patient's vision. On the other end the low vision optometrist's job is to monitor the patient's vision while also ensuring that the patient is able to maximize their remaining vision and function to the absolute best that their vision can allow. A low vision optometrist will often have many of their patients referred to by local Ophthalmologists so that their patients can regain their independence and have better visual outcomes after vision loss. 

What is the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists?

When people suffer from vision problems or eye problems, optometrists are the first professionals they see. An optometrist prescribes spectacles, reading glasses, contact lenses, as well as visual aids for those with visual impairments. These professionals diagnose and treat common eye-related problems such as dry eyes, short-sightedness, and reading difficulties. Additionally, they offer comprehensive eye exams that assess eye conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. They are well trained to know when to refer such eye conditions to ophthalmologists.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery, and may also prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. Their services are similar to those provided by optometrists, with the addition of eye surgery.

What eye conditions are treated by both optometrists and ophthalmologists?

Optometrists and ophthalmologists work together to treat eye conditions like:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Dry eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Uveitis
  • Retinal detachment
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Optic nerve disease
  • Strabismus (cross-eye)

How does a low vision optometrist and an ophthalmologist work together?

Optometrists and ophthalmologists work together to treat low vision patients since an ophthalmologist examines the patient's eye health, any eye diseases, and how they might progress, while optometrists examine the health of the patient's eyes, vision, and the best way to improve it. That is why a lot of times, the patient gets referred to an optometrist.

Optometrists and ophthalmologists often collaborate, focusing on treating patients, and performing similar eye examinations. In a low vision evaluation, the goal is to enhance the patient's vision, create comfortable environments and use devices to achieve the vision that they are hoping to achieve, and then refer the patient back to an ophthalmologist so that their disease can be monitored. The team-oriented approach is extremely beneficial, and it is very helpful to have both.

Make an appointment for an eye exam in Long Beach, CA

Being aware of the difference between eye professionals is important for getting the right vision treatment at the right time. If you would like to learn more about the differences between optometrists and ophthalmologists or to schedule an eye exam, please contact Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach at (562) 925-6591.


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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