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Donald C. Bartnick, CMPE, CEO
What You Need To Know About Caring For Your Eyesight
Maryland Eye Associates
. http://marylandeyeassociates.com

What You Need To Know About Caring For Your Eyesight

Our eyesight is a precious gift. Regular vision care helps to protect your eyesight and your general health and well-being.

Unless directed otherwise by your vision care expert, you should have a routine vision care appointment with an ophthalmologist or optometrist at least every other year.


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD or DO). In general, he or she has completed four years of college, four years of medical school and four years of post-graduate residency training, three of which are in the specialty of ophthalmology. The ophthalmologist must be licensed in the state. He or she is licensed as a medical doctor to perform eye examinations and prescribe lenses or other corrective treatments. He or she is authorized to prescribe and/or dispense medicine or drugs for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. He or she is a surgeon trained to perform invasive ocular procedures to protect and restore vision. An ophthalmologist can provide complete eye examinations, laser vision correction, medical and surgical treatment of cataracts, diabetic eye complications, glaucoma, macular degeneration, ocular plastic surgery and related vision care services.

An ophthalmologist becomes Board Eligible when he or she successfully completes the educational requirements at an approved institution. The board eligible physician achieves Board Certification when he or she passes a written and oral multiple-day test and demonstrates to a panel of experienced, board certified ophthalmology experts that he or she exhibits the knowledge and clinical expertise to warrant becoming a Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology.


An optometrist is a vision care expert who has completed at least four years of college level study and four years at an accredited college of optometry, having earned the degree of Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) An optometrist must be licensed to practice in the state and must pass an examination to become licensed. In general, a licensed optometrist can perform an optometric examination that includes reviewing the patient's history, a visual analysis, ophthalmoscopy of the internal eye, tonometry without an anesthetic agent when indicated (usually the puff of air test), a muscle balance examination and provide a prescription for glasses or contact lenses. The optometrist should provide follow up progress care as needed.

An optometrist may use a topical ocular Diagnostic Pharmaceutical agent (DPA) if the optometrist provides evidence to the State Board of Examiners in Optometry that he or she has the required education and experience to safely use topical pharmaceutical agents for diagnostic purposes but not as a treatment. These optometrists are DPA Certified.

Some optometrists are Therapeutically Certified. TPA certified optometrists are licensed to administer certain drugs for treatment purposes.


An optician is a professional specifically trained to assist you in selecting and fitting high quality lenses and fashion frames. He or she reads prescriptions for visual correction, orders lenses and dispenses spectacles and contact lenses. In the State of Maryland, an optician may elect to become certified by passing certain certification tests.

Your vision ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians working together in concert to protect and restore your vision.

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