If you ever searched for an eye care doctor, you are probably aware that there are many different types of eye specialists out there. There are optometrists, ophthalmologists and opticians who are all eye care professionals.
An optometrist is a type of eye doctor who is able to examine, diagnose, and treat your eyes. While an ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is able to perform medical and surgical treatments for eye conditions. An optician is an eye care professional who is able to help you fit your eyeglasses, contact lenses and other vision-correcting devices.
Optometrists are professionals who give you primary vision care, which ranges from sight testing and correction to getting a diagnosis to treatment and management of any vision changes you will undergo throughout life. Keep in mind that an optometrist is not a medical doctor. In school, they receive a doctor of optometry (OD) degree after four years of optometry school. Which are preceded by at least undergoing three years of college. Then they are licensed to practice optometry, mostly consisting of performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting specific eye abnormalities and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.
Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, are specially trained to care for all eye problems and conditions. Some have a specialization in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. This certain type of ophthalmologist is called a subspecialist. They will typically complete one or two years of additional, in-depth training known as a fellowship in their main area of specialty. For instance, glaucoma, retina, cornea, pediatrics, and others. This additional training and knowledge prepares an ophthalmologist to take care of many more complex or specific conditions in certain areas of the eye or in certain groups and types of patients.
Having healthy eyesight will depend on seeing the right eye doctor at the right time for you, so it’s important to understand the difference between eye care professionals.