Vision Tips with VIA: Ophthalmology vs. Optometry vs. Low Vision Specialist

Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine specializing in the anatomy, function, and disease of the eye.

An ophthalmologist is a medical or osteopathic physician specializing in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and the prevention of eye diseases. Ophthalmologists diagnoses and treats refractive, medical and surgical problems related to eye diseases and disorders. An ophthalmologist will have the initials M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) or D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) after their name.

Optometry is a vision care specialty concerned with the health of the eye, the visual system, and related structures.

An optometrist is a healthcare professional specializing in function and disorder of the eye, detection of eye disease, and some types of eye disease management. They conduct eye examinations, prescribe corrective lenses, and diagnosis and treats eye diseases and disorders. An optometrist will have the initials O.D. (Doctor of Optometry) following their name.

Low Vision Specialist
Many optometrists and some ophthalmologists have additional credentials or specialization in Low Vision testing, diagnosis, and treatment. They are trained to conduct the Low Vision Eye Examination and to prescribe special Low Vision Optical Devices.

If experiencing significant vision loss, a Low Vision Specialist can help determine whether special optical or non-optical devices, lighting, or other specialized Vision Rehabilitation Services can help maximize one’s remaining vision, independence, and quality of life.

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Contact VIA Now


There is no denying a diagnosis with vision changes or visual loss can present challenges. However, it does not change who you are, what you believe or, what you want to accomplish.

For over 100 years, VIA: Visually Impaired Advancement has provided rehabilitation and social services to individuals in Western New York who are visually impaired. We pride ourselves on being a comprehensive resource for people experiencing vision loss or who are legally blind to help them adapt to new ways of independence. Our team of vision professionals will customize services to help you manage vision loss at any age.

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