Finding an Eye Care Professional

Finding the right eye care professional when you are having difficulty with your eyesight can be a daunting task. Based on the extent of your problem, Elmquist Eye Group can help you decide which type of eye doctor can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Finding an Eye Care Professional

Elmquist Eye Group has been serving Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and communities throughout Southwest Florida for 25 years. Our skilled team includes board certified ophthalmologist Yasaira Rodriguez, MD, board certified optometrists Kate Wagner, OD (partner) and Nina Burt, OD, and highly trained opticians.

Which Type of Eye Doctor Do You Need?


Ophthalmologists, like Dr. Rodriguez, are medical doctors and have earned a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) degree. This requires at least four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of internship, and three to six years of residency training.

Ophthalmologists are trained and licensed to provide a full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to performing complex and delicate eye surgery. They can prescribe a broader range of prescription medications than optometrists.

If you have a serious condition, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or medically unmanageable glaucoma, or are considering eye surgery, an ophthalmologist is the right choice.


Optometrists, like Dr. Wagner and Dr. Burt, have earned a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree.  This requires four years of college (just like medical doctors) plus another four years of optometry school. During the last two years of optometry school, they examine patients in eye clinics and hospitals, work with eye surgeons and specialists, and do ophthalmic research.

Optometrists perform the majority of comprehensive eye exams in the U.S. They are also licensed to prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses, prescribe some medications, and perform minor surgical procedures. They perform vision tests, diagnose and treat many eye conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal diseases, and are trained to detect systemic diseases that may manifest in the eyes, such as diabetes.

When you have questions or concerns about your eye or vision health, a visit to your local optometrist is a good first step. He or she will refer you to an ophthalmologist for any difficult medical conditions.


Opticians are not eye doctors but play an important part of your eye care team. They are trained to use a prescription provided by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to design, fit and dispense corrective lenses and frames, but cannot perform eye exams. In general, they receive a one- or two-year degree or certification and are not qualified to diagnose or treat vision problems or eye diseases. Opticians can assist you in selecting just the right frame and lenses to fit your unique lifestyle and personality.

Whether you need an eye exam, your eyeglasses prescription reevaluated, or eye surgery, finding the right type of eye care professional is simple at Elmquist Eye Group. Our highly qualified eye doctors and opticians each have different training, expertise, and unique strengths. Get in touch with us today at (239) 936-2020 to schedule an appointment.