You’re not a MD. What kind of school did you go to?
MDs go to medical schools. ODs go to optometry schools. Optometry schools are four-year programs that, surprisingly, provide a very similar education to medical schools in the first year. In fact, David and his brother in med school had the same textbooks. The second and third years of optometry school are focused on the eye and how it relates to the rest of the body. Did you know that multiple health problems can be seen in the eye before other symptoms appear? Fourth year consists of four, three-month externships where students have on-the-job training. Some ODs call this their “residencies,” but they’re actually required externships.
After the fourth year, students who pass the three-part national board are officially ODs and can begin practicing. If an OD wants to do a yearlong residency after graduation, he or she has to apply for placement and it’s highly selective. These residencies place ODs in hospital settings where they work with optometrists and ophthalmologists to focus on medical optometry. Dr. Ephraim completed his residency in ocular disease and cornea/contact lenses.
So what does an OD do for me?
Optometrists do much more than spin dials to get your prescription. They should look in your eye for potential problems, diagnose and treat mild diseases, remove any foreign objects your eyes have collected by not wearing safety glasses (ahem) and treat infections, among other things.
Dr. Ephraim believes one of the most important aspects of his job is recognizing when a patient needs to see an ophthalmologist. He takes great pride in the relationships he has built with local ophthalmologists and if you need to see a specialist or sub specialist he will refer accordingly. Not to toot our own horn, but he can also bump you to the front of the line on an ophthalmologist’s schedule if it’s an emergency.