Optometrists vs. Ophthalmologists in Buffalo, NY: What is the Difference

Protecting your vision and the health of your eyes is essential. However, there are two types of professionals available: optometrists and ophthalmologists. While both dedicate their lives to preserving and enhancing vision, they possess distinct roles, training, and areas of expertise. Understanding the differences between these two professions is crucial for making informed decisions regarding eye health.

Both Buffalo ophthalmologists and optometrists offer valuable services. Let’s explore the skills and disparities between the two and when to visit each.

What is the Role of an Optometrist in Buffalo, NY

Optometrists play a pivotal role in the primary care of your eyes, focusing on vision care and the health of these structures. Here’s a breakdown of their responsibilities, scope of practice, and services offered:

  • Definition and Role of an Optometrist

Optometrists are healthcare professionals who specialize in examining, diagnosing, and treating various eye conditions and diseases. They are trained to prescribe corrective lenses, such as glasses and contact lenses, and medications for specific eye problems. Optometrists also guide maintaining optimal eye health through lifestyle changes and preventive measures.

  • Scope of Practice

Optometrists are proficient in conducting comprehensive eye exams to assess visual acuity, eye coordination, and overall eye health. They diagnose refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism and prescribe appropriate corrective measures. Additionally, they manage conditions such as dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, often collaborating with other healthcare professionals for comprehensive patient care.

  • Services Offered

Optometrists offer an array of services, including routine eye exams, vision correction, contact lens fitting and prescriptions, treatment of eye infections and injuries, management of chronic eye conditions, and pre- and post-operative care for certain eye surgeries.

What is the Role of an Ophthalmologist in Buffalo, NY

In contrast to optometrists, ophthalmologists are medical doctors specializing in diagnosing, treating, and managing eye diseases and disorders. Let’s explore their role, scope of practice, and services provided:

  • Definition and Role of an Ophthalmologist

Ophthalmologists are physicians who undergo extensive medical training, including medical school, internship, residency, and often fellowship in a subspecialty of ophthalmology. They are qualified to provide comprehensive eye care, from routine eye exams to surgical interventions for complex conditions.

  • Scope of Practice

Ophthalmologists are trained and equipped to diagnose and treat a wide range of eye diseases and disorders, including cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal diseases, corneal conditions and more. They perform surgical procedures such as cataract surgery, LASIK, retinal detachment repair, and corneal transplants, among other procedures. Ophthalmologists may also specialize in areas such as pediatric ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology, or oculoplastic surgery.

  • Services Offered

Ophthalmologists provide comprehensive eye care services, including diagnostic testing, medical treatment, surgical interventions, and ongoing management of eye conditions. They offer specialized expertise in treating complex eye diseases and performing advanced surgical procedures to restore or improve vision.

Key Differences Between Optometry and Ophthalmology in Buffalo, NY

While optometrists and ophthalmologists share a common goal of preserving eye health, several distinctions set them apart:

  • Educational Background and Training

Optometrists typically complete a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree program, which involves four years of undergraduate study followed by four years of optometry school. Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, are medical doctors (MDs) or doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) who undergo extensive medical training, including medical school, residency, and often a fellowship in a subspecialty of ophthalmology.

  • Scope of Practice and Services

Optometrists primarily focus on vision care and routine eye health, offering services such as eye exams, vision correction, and management of common eye conditions. Ophthalmologists have a broader scope of practice, encompassing medical and surgical management of eye diseases, specialized treatments, and surgical interventions for complex conditions.

  • Patient Care and Referral Process

Optometrists often serve as the first point of contact for patients seeking routine eye care or experiencing common eye problems. They may refer patients to ophthalmologists for specialized treatment or surgical interventions when necessary. Ophthalmologists collaborate with optometrists and other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care for patients with complex eye conditions.

  • Collaborative Efforts

Optometrists and ophthalmologists frequently collaborate to ensure optimal patient outcomes. They may work closely together to co-manage patients undergoing surgical procedures, monitor the progression of certain eye conditions, or provide interdisciplinary care for patients with systemic health issues affecting the eyes.

When to Visit an Optometrist in Buffalo

Optometrists are your go-to professionals for routine eye care, vision correction, and management of common eye conditions. Consider scheduling an appointment with an optometrist for the following reasons:

  • Routine Eye Exams and Vision Correction

Regular eye exams are essential for maintaining good eye health and detecting potential problems early. Optometrists can assess your vision, screen for eye diseases, and prescribe corrective lenses to improve visual acuity.

  • Contact Lens Fitting and Prescription

Suppose you wear contact lenses or consider them an alternative to glasses. In that case, optometrists can perform a comprehensive eye exam and fit you with contact lenses that suit your prescription and lifestyle.

  • Management of Common Eye Conditions

Optometrists can diagnose and manage various eye conditions, including dry eye syndrome, conjunctivitis (pink eye), allergies, and minor injuries. They can provide treatment options or refer you to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation if needed.

When to See an Ophthalmologist in Buffalo

Buffalo ophthalmologists specialize in diagnosing and treating complex eye diseases, performing surgical interventions, and providing specialized care for advanced conditions. Consider consulting an ophthalmology practice in Buffalo for the following reasons:

  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Diseases and Disorders

Suppose you have been diagnosed with an eye disease or disorder such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy. In that case, an ophthalmologist can provide expert evaluation, medical treatment, and ongoing management.

Buffalo ophthalmologists excel in diagnosing and treating a myriad of eye diseases and disorders. They utilize advanced diagnostic tools and techniques to accurately assess conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment. Once diagnosed, ophthalmologists develop personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs, which may include prescription medications, laser therapy, or surgical interventions. Their expertise in managing complex eye conditions ensures patients receive the highest quality of care to preserve vision and enhance overall eye health. Consulting an ophthalmologist to diagnose and treat eye diseases and disorders ensures comprehensive evaluation and effective management strategies.

  • Surgical Interventions

Ophthalmologists are skilled in performing a wide range of surgical interventions to address various eye conditions. From routine procedures like cataract surgery to more complex surgeries such as retinal detachment repair and corneal transplants, ophthalmologists utilize advanced surgical techniques and technology to achieve optimal outcomes. Additionally, they specialize in refractive surgeries like LASIK and PRK to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Patients can trust in the expertise of ophthalmologists to deliver safe and effective surgical care, helping to restore vision, alleviate discomfort, and improve overall quality of life. Seeking surgical intervention from an ophthalmologist ensures access to specialized expertise and state-of-the-art treatment options.

  • Specialized Care for Complex Eye Conditions

Ophthalmologists provide specialized care for complex eye conditions, offering expertise in diagnosing and managing challenging cases that require intricate treatment approaches. These conditions may include rare disorders, advanced stages of common eye diseases, or cases with complicating factors that necessitate specialized attention.

For example, if you have a complex or rare eye condition requiring specialized expertise, such as pediatric eye disorders, neuro-ophthalmic conditions, or ocular oncology, an ophthalmologist with expertise in that area can provide tailored treatment and management. In pediatric ophthalmology, ophthalmologists are adept at diagnosing and treating eye conditions unique to children, such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), and congenital cataracts. These doctors employ specialized techniques and tools to assess visual development and address issues that may impact a child’s vision for life.

Ophthalmologists specializing in ocular oncology provide comprehensive care for patients with eye tumors, including melanoma, retinoblastoma, and ocular lymphoma. They employ advanced diagnostic imaging, genetic testing, and treatment modalities such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgical removal to manage these complex conditions.

In addition to these subspecialties, ophthalmologists may focus on cornea and external diseases, glaucoma, retina and vitreous, or oculoplastic surgery. Each subspecialty requires additional training and expertise to deliver specialized care tailored to patients with unique needs related to complex eye conditions.

In addition to these subspecialties, ophthalmologists may focus on areas such as cornea and external diseases, glaucoma, retina and vitreous, or oculoplastic surgery. Each subspecialty requires additional training and expertise to deliver specialized care tailored to the unique needs of patients with complex eye conditions.

Patients with complex eye conditions benefit from the multidisciplinary approach adopted by specialized ophthalmologists, who collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care. By harnessing the latest advancements in technology and treatment modalities, ophthalmologists strive to improve outcomes, preserve vision, and enhance the quality of life for individuals facing challenging eye conditions. Seeking specialized care from an ophthalmologist ensures access to the expertise and resources necessary to manage complex eye conditions and optimize visual health effectively.

For All of Your Eye Health Needs Contact the Top Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in Buffalo, NY

If you seek out ophthalmology in Buffalo, call on the experienced, caring professionals at Eye Care & Vision Associations. We are highly dedicated to preserving and enhancing your vision. We offer a variety of locations and are staffed by top clinicians along with a caring and professional administrative and support team. You can reach us at 716-631-EYES (3937).

Safely Viewing the April 2024 Solar Eclipse in Buffalo, NY

As the April 2024 solar eclipse approaches, excitement builds in Buffalo, NY, where observers anticipate a breathtaking event. According to NASA, the partial eclipse will commence at 2:04 p.m., with totality beginning at 3:18 p.m. However, it’s crucial to prioritize eye safety during this awe-inspiring moment. Buffalo, NY, finds itself in the path of totality, offering a rare opportunity to witness the sun completely obscured by the moon. Here at ECVA, we’re dedicated to guiding you on safely viewing this extraordinary phenomenon. 

Where to Get Eclipse Glasses in Buffalo 

Thanks to Erie County’s support, free eclipse glasses are now at the Buffalo Museum of Science (limit: two per person). You can also get them at all 37 branches of the Buffalo & Erie County Library System. Call your library ahead to check availability. If buying your own, choose reputable sellers like RainbowSymphony.com. Make sure the glasses are certified for solar viewing and meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standard for direct observation of the sun. 

Dangers of Unprotected Viewing 

Staring directly at the sun, even during an eclipse, can cause severe eye damage or even permanent blindness. The sun’s intense rays can burn the retina, leading to solar retinopathy, a condition where the cells of the retina are damaged by solar radiation. Therefore, it’s crucial to emphasize that looking at the eclipse without proper eye protection is extremely dangerous. 

Why Can’t I Wear My Sunglasses to Watch The Eclipse? 

 While sunglasses are essential for shielding your eyes from harmful UV rays during regular daylight, they are not suitable for viewing a solar eclipse. Regular sunglasses do not provide adequate protection against the intense brightness of the sun during an eclipse. Staring at the sun through them can still cause significant damage to your eyes. 

Using Specialized Eclipse Glasses 

The safest way to view a solar eclipse is by using specialized eclipse glasses. These glasses are equipped with solar filters that block out harmful ultraviolet, infrared, and visible light rays. When choosing eclipse glasses, ensure they meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standard to guarantee sufficient protection for your eyes. Additionally, inspect the glasses for any damage or scratches before use, as compromised lenses can allow harmful light to penetrate. 

Making Your Own Solar Eclipse Viewer 

If you’re unable to procure specialized eclipse glasses, you can create a simple solar eclipse viewer using household items. One method involves constructing a pinhole projector using cardboard or paper. By poking a small hole in one piece and allowing sunlight to pass through onto another surface, such as a piece of paper or the ground, you can safely observe the eclipse’s progress without looking directly at the sun. 

Our Focus is on Care 

Whether you’re using specialized eclipse glasses or crafting a DIY solar eclipse viewer, take the necessary precautions to safeguard your vision. Let’s make this celestial event a memorable and safe experience for everyone in Buffalo, New York. 

Big News: Orchard Park Vision Care Office Reopens with a Fresh Look!

We are delighted to announce the reopening of our Orchard Park eye care center, which officially took place on Monday, October 30th. This marks the beginning of a new chapter for us, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with our cherished southtown community. 

A Commitment to Excellence 

At our Orchard Park center, we’ve poured our hearts into a comprehensive revitalization, driven by our unwavering commitment to delivering top-tier eye care that exceeds your expectations for both quality and service. Our mission is simple – to provide exceptional eye care while treating you as not just a patient, but as a unique individual. 

What’s New: 

  • Spacious Environment: The new center boasts a more spacious and comfortable setting, creating a welcoming and soothing atmosphere for all our patients. 
  • Cutting-Edge Technology: We’ve invested in state-of-the-art medical equipment to ensure that you receive the highest standard of care. Your eye health is our priority, and we’ve equipped our center accordingly. 
  • Expanded Optical Shop: Our Optical Shop has nearly doubled in size, offering an even wider selection of eyewear, frames, and accessories to cater to your style and vision needs. 

A Team Dedicated to You 

Our entire team, including our skilled ophthalmologists and dedicated staff, are united by a singular goal – to care for you as a person, not just a patient. We understand the importance of eye health in your overall well-being, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. 

Unmatched Eye Care Expertise 

Our specialized team of doctors and certified technicians are committed to providing the highest level of care for your eyes. We pride ourselves on dedicating time and attention to understanding the root causes of your eye conditions. This enables us to create personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique needs. 

Schedule Your Visit in The Southtowns 

For any questions or to schedule an appointment at our newly rejuvenated Orchard Park center, please feel free to call us at 716.631.3937 (EYES) or 716.648.5329. We’re here to serve you, and we can’t wait to welcome you to our refreshed facility. 

Thank you for entrusting us with your eye care, and we look forward to providing you with the highest level of service and expertise at our Orchard Park location. 

ECVA Giving Back to the Community

Every year, ECVA gives back to the community by adopting a local veteran family for the holidays. This ECVA tradition started in 2015, and it’s become a moment our team and patients look forward to every year. 

ECVA aims to make supporting its community and giving back a joyous occasion for all involved, including our employees and patients. Here’s a look at how ECVA gives back and how you can take part in this holiday tradition. 

Supporting Veterans and Their Families Through Basket Raffles 

At ECVA, we hold a basket raffle every year that benefits a veteran and their family during the holiday season. The baskets are created with donated items from staff members. Once they’re put together, raffle tickets are purchased by employees and patients, and the money raised through ticket sales is matched by our doctors. 

Every ECVA office has its own raffle. Once winners are selected in early December, staff members contact the winners the following week, allowing them to pick up their baskets. 

After gathering the donated funds, the money is used to purchase gifts for the veteran and their family members. Along with traditional presents, ECVA aims to provide gifts that are enjoyable all year-round, such as annual passes to the Buffalo Zoo & Aquarium and movie theatre gift cards. In some years, furniture and appliances were also given as presents. 

Partnering with WNY Heroes to Connect with Veteran Families in Need 

ECVA is proud to partner with WNY Heroes to connect with a veteran family in need this holiday season. Since 2007, WNY Heroes has worked diligently to provide veterans and their families with critical support, ensuring they have access to essential services, financial assistance, and more. 

WNY Heroes identifies veteran households during the holidays that could use help to have a brighter holiday season. ECVA adopts a family in need every year, raffling off gift baskets to gather donations that are then used to purchase items for the veteran and their family. 

How You Can Help Give Back and Support Local Veterans 

Patients and other community members are always welcome to get involved and help support local veterans and their families. You can purchase raffle tickets at our offices, allowing you to donate funds for a good cause and have a chance at taking home an amazing gift basket. 

Raffle tickets are still available, and this year’s drawing will occur on December 2. If you want to participate, stop by one of our offices at any time before the drawing and speak to the receptionist about raffle tickets. Each office has a unique raffle, so feel free to head to other offices to have a chance at winning one of the many fantastic gift baskets our teams created this year. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Family looking at eyeglasses

A Big Thank You To Our Patients

Each year, ECVA hosts an annual basket raffle for the month of November to benefit a family in need at Christmas. The money raised gets matched by our physicians and this year, ECVA employees raised an amazing $7,410! 

Thanks to our patients and staff, we were able to adopt a local veteran family of 9 through Western New York Heroes which is a local veterans’ assistance organization. This would not have been possible without your support, so we want to say,  

Thank You for your generous donations! 

This is truly a rewarding experience that touches all of our hearts, particularly at the holidays and especially when we are able to assist those who served our country and their families. Our employees look forward to this project every year and are always eager to help out. 

Since starting our basket raffle in 2015, ECVA employees and partners have raised more than $31,000 to assist needy families throughout  Western New York. 

Thank you for your support.


Eye Care and Vision Associates

We Are Growing Our Team To Meet Western New York’s Growing Vision And Eye Care Needs

Eye Care & Vision Associates, LLP (ECVA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. David Styn, O.D. A licensed optometrist, Styn will be responsible for providing primary eye care for patients, including eye health exams and vision correction.

This key hire provides ECVA with a tremendous opportunity to better serve the Western New York community. The demand for eye care services has been strong, and the addition of Dr. Styn enables ECVA to increase the delivery of eye care services and reduce patient wait time. As an optometrist, Dr. Styn will free ECVA’s Orchard Park and Williamsville ophthalmologists to focus more on acute care patients as needed.

Born and raised in Western New York, Styn received his undergraduate degree in biology from Canisius College and earned his O.D. from Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He brings more than 20 years of experience to his new role, and has both received his therapeutic certification and been published in Review of Optometry. “I’m thrilled to join ECVA’s team and excited to do what I love most: improve patients’ vision,” said Styn. “This organization is much more than an eye care practice. They’re a team of medical, surgical and optical professionals who are dedicated to delivering the highest quality eye care, resulting in the best quality outcomes. I’m looking forward to pursuing my passion, working hand-in-hand with Western New York’s top eye care experts to help people see and live better.”

“We are excited to have Dr. Styn become a member of the ECVA team because of his strong reputation as a highly successful optometrist in the Western New York community,” said ECVA CEO Bradley Hall. “His addition bolsters the clinical strength of our already phenomenal team, while helping ECVA to fulfill our strategic plans of expanding both our footprint in the Western New York community, as well as the availability of primary care optometric services within our practice.

“With more than 20 years of successful experience as an optometrist, Dr. Styn has earned a strong reputation in the area for providing exceptional customer service and high quality care for his patients,” continued Hall. “We welcome Dr. Styn’s overall enthusiasm and passion for providing extraordinary optometric care.”

Offering patient eye care through state-of-the-art technology, experienced, board-certified ophthalmologists, surgeons and optometrists, and a dedicated and caring staff, Eye Care & Vision Associates is a recognized leader in cataract and lasik surgery, eye exams, diabetic eye care, glaucoma management and medical retina treatment.

Schedule Your Eye Care Appointment With Dr. Styn Today

Dr. Styn is currently seeing patients at our Williamsville and Orchard Park locations. Schedule your appointment online today, we would love to help you see more clearly!