Know the 3 different types of ophthalmologists

Depending on your specific eye problem, you may think you have three different types of eye doctors to choose from to get your problem professionally taken care of.

But only one of them is a medically trained professional ophthalmologist. Opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists each have a distinct role to play in keeping your eyes healthy and performing well.

Knowing the specific role of each of these eye care professionals can save you time and effort each time you try to book an appointment to address a particular issue with your eyes. Although the levels of training and certification are different for each, they each provide a necessary facet of eye health care.


Opticians are often confused with optometrists because many eyeglass stores test your vision and supply your lenses these days. These types of eye care professionals help optometrists and ophthalmologists fit eyeglass frames and lenses, but they cannot test your vision or write prescriptions for corrective lenses. They also cannot treat or prescribe medication for eye diseases. They are not doctors.

When you visit an eyewear store that does not offer eye tests but does carry different styles of prescription glasses, an optician is someone you will be dealing with to make a new pair of glasses with your old prescription. .


An optometrist is also not an ophthalmologist. An optometrist is someone who has earned a degree in optometry after completing four years of optometry school. It is a graduate degree preceded by three or more years of undergraduate study.

Optometry is the practice of performing vision tests and eye examinations. This includes detecting certain types of eye diseases and abnormalities and prescribing medications to address them. A large part of an optometrist’s practice involves prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses. The optometrist works with the opticians and prescribes the lenses which are then created by the optician.


An ophthalmologist is a medically trained ophthalmologist who specializes in vision and eye care. They have a higher level of training than optometrists or opticians. They have completed college and have at least eight years of additional medical training. They are licensed to practice medicine and surgery.

Although the ophthalmologist may prescribe and fit corrective lenses as part of his practice, he is also often involved in researching the causes and treatments of eye diseases and disorders. They are also ophthalmologists who perform all types of eye surgery, including Lasik and cataract surgery.

Most eye doctors in Malaysia work with clinics or hospitals. They have a team of nurses and technicians to support them and provide you with top level treatment and eye care. These ophthalmologists are the ones to see if you have an eye problem that does not involve corrective lenses but the eyes themselves.