Ophthalmologist, Optometrist And Optician: What's The Difference?


So, it's time for you to go to the eye doctor. You have all of your paperwork in order, you're mentally prepared to have your eyes examined, you're fully clothed, but – what sort of eye doctor should you see? You've noticed that there are three types of professionals who deal with eyes: ophthalmologist, optometrist and optician. What are the differences between the three? Which ones specializes in what? Do I need to see one, a combination of two, or all three? Well, never fear. This brief article is here to set you on the right track. Throughout, you will learn what each particularly eye professional does and which one you should see depending on your specific eye care needs.


An ophthalmologist is basically an eye medical doctor, one who has specialized in osteopathy, vision and eye care. An ophthalmologist has completed college, as well as at least eight additional years of medical school and licensed to practice surgery and medicine.

An ophthalmologist is a highly trained jack-of-all-trades. He or she can prescribe medicine to treat your eyes, perform a number of surgeries, usually quite familiar with the gamut of eye conditions and diseases that can befall you and, last but not least, he or she can prescribe you corrective eye wear. In addition, ophthalmologists are many times involved with scientific research and studies regarding the eyes. In other words, ophthalmologists have a lot on their plate!

Ophthalmologists tend to have subspecialities as well. This means that he or she has completed an additional year of medical school to focus on one particular eye-related condition or disease. Many times this is something like glaucoma, eye related neurology or even eye related plastic surgery. You may be able to find an ophthalmologist that specializes in whatever ailment has befallen you.


An optometrist is not a medical doctor, but is a licensed healthcare professional. An optometrist deals with primary vision care and perform many tasks for you, from proctoring sight seeing tests to diagnosing vision ailments that may have befallen you.

An optometrist must complete four years of optometry school and then, usually, an additional three years of college. The degree bestowed upon him or her is a doctor of optometry. The chances of you visiting an optometrist are quite high, especially if your vision is less than stellar. An optometrist's primary money maker is actually the ability to prescribe lenses and corrective seeing wear.


Opticians are those individuals that are trained to design and fit eyeglasses and lenses specifically to your needs. They can also verify that a prescription matches the aesthetic or utilitarian design concerns specific to your wants when it comes to eyewear. An optician matches the design to the prescription, but is not licensed to prescribe eyewear to you, nor is he or she allowed to perform or proctor any sort of vision test that would lead to you receiving a prescription. Opticians are not licensed health professionals, either, so they cannot correctly or legally identify any eye conditions or diseases that may be present.

It does sound a bit confusing at first, of course. All of this alliteration! Certainly there can't be much of a difference between an ophthalmologist, optician and an optometrist, right? Well, hopefully, this brief article has steered you in the right direction, and now you know that there is, in fact, a marked difference between the three breeds of eye care professionals. So now you know, without a doubt, that an optician can't take care of diagnosing glaucoma, and it might be faster for you to get an eye test through an optometrist rather than an ophthalmologist! You can also click here for more about this topic.


18 August 2015

Visiting Your Optometrist Early

When a friend of mine started experiencing cloudy vision, they decided to put off a trip to their optometrist's office. Unfortunately, three months later, they found themselves completely blind in one eye—a condition that ended up being permanent. It turned out that they had an undiagnosed eye infection that destroyed their vision. After hearing about that problem, we realized that it might be smart to visit our eye doctor early—before permanent problems set in. Check out this blog for reasons not to skip out on early vision appointments, so that you can protect your family's vision and keep everyone happy and healthy.