Although Optometry & Ophthalmology are often confused with one another, they are indeed independently trained professions -- both entrusted with caring for the eyes & visual system of the public, albeit with overlapping responsibilities depending on the nature of one's visual difficulties or eye health challenges.
Here at Kittery Eye, we consider ourselves fortunate to enjoy the varied talents & experience of nine eye doctors, all of whom depend on the unique skills of one another to ensure our patients receive the finest eye-care available. Kittery Optometric Associates [a.k.a. "KOA"] is a primary/secondary care practice consisting of six Optometrists providing comprehensive eye exams, spectacle & contact lens services, as well as diagnosis and treatment of various eye injuries, infections, & diseases for patients of all ages. KOA patients typically appoint themselves for regular evaluation of their eyes or are otherwise referred by their family doctors, other physicians, and/or local emergency rooms to determine the nature of uncertain eye problems.
Kittery Ophthalmic Consultants [a.k.a. "KOC"] is a secondary/tertiary care practice consisting of three Ophthalmologists specializing in medical management and surgical treatment of often complex eye disorders. KOC patients are typically seen via referral from another doctor (often other eye doctors) for specific care such as cataract surgery, retinal detachment repair, laser procedures, severe ocular trauma, etc.
It's sometimes helpful to consider the analogous relationships in dental care, such that several specialties share integrated responsibilities. One's family Dentist (akin to Optometry) is typically the primary "entry level" mouth doctor, but often refers his/her patients to a wide variety of specialists depending on the nature of more esoteric oral problems -- e.g. Orthodontists, Periodontists, Endodontists, and Oral Surgeons (akin to Ophthalmologists).