Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist vs Optician

There are two main types of ophthalmologists: ophthalmologists and optometrists. You don’t know who is who and who does what? Here’s a look at how they’re different. Keep in mind that these professionals can work together and a team approach may be the best option for eye care.

Ophthalmologist: medical and surgical eye care

They went to medical school. After that, they had a one-year internship and a 3-year residency. This is sometimes followed by a 1-2 year fellowship.

They offer comprehensive eye care services:

Optometrist (OD): vision care and eye care services

Optometrists provide primary health care for the eyes. After college, they spent 4 years in a professional program and earned a doctorate in optometry. Some optometrists take additional clinical training or complete a fellowship after optometry school. They focus on regular eye care and they:

Optometrists and ophthalmologists often work together to take care of you.

Optician: glasses and contact lenses

Opticians are not ophthalmologists and cannot perform eye exams. They get a 1 or 2 year diploma, certificate or diploma. They fill the prescription your eye doctor gives you. They also:

  • Check lens prescriptions
  • Provide, adjust and repair eyeglasses, frames and contact lenses
  • Take facial measurements
  • Help decide what type of lenses and frames will work best
  • Order and verify products, including contacts and spectacle lenses

How to choose an ophthalmologist

One type is not automatically better than the other. The right choice depends on your needs. The best eye doctor for you should be:

  • Recommended by your doctor, friends or family
  • Someone you love and trust

A good rule of thumb would be:

  • For primary eye care, you may want to start with an optometrist. From there, they can refer you to an eye doctor if needed.
  • If you think you need eye surgery for cataracts, glaucoma, or another eye condition, an ophthalmologist with the appropriate specialty would be a good place to start.