There are three separate fields in the optical industry and differentiating between them can be confusing. Opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists are all a part of the industry, and if you’re confused by these terms, you are not alone. They may sound similar but the reality is that they are very different and knowing the differences will provide you with a better understanding of each.
You can think of opticians as technicians because they are the ones who receive optical prescriptions and fill them. They are experts when it comes to lenses and frames, and know exactly how to fit lenses properly by taking all of the necessary measurements. During their studies, they must learn how to adjust frames to fit a patient’s face properly and must understand what frames will work best on different face shapes. They are very knowledgeable when it comes to progressive and bifocals, refractive index, anti-glare coatings and other technical aspects that allow them to get the right lens.
An optometrist is an eye doctor that you must visit regularly so that they can monitor your eyes and ensure they are healthy. If you ever experience any problems with your eyes, an optometrist is who you need to see because they will be able to eliminate your pain and find you a solution. Some people wait until there is a problem with their vision before scheduling an appointment with an optometrist but it is important that you visit one regularly because they can detect problems that you might be unaware of. There is a lot of schooling involved if you would like to pursue this field, including a minimum of a three year undergraduate degree followed by a four year course and national board exams, after which you would be licensed to work as an optometrist if you successfully pass all of the requirements.
Complex eye surgeries can only be done by ophthalmologists who are eye surgeons. They are required to do even more schooling than optometrists and patients will only be able to see them if they have a referral from their optometrist or family doctor who would refer you if the problem is severe and beyond their capabilities. If you had a cataract, for example, your doctor would refer you to an ophthalmologist that specializes in cataract surgeries because that is an issue they would be unable to treat, whereas an ophthalmologist would be able to deal with complex matters as they have the knowledge for such issues specifically.
All three of these professions are an integral part of your vision care team and Orangeville Optometric Centre will make sure your vision is healthy. We offer eye exams and tests and our optometrists can take care of all of your eye care needs. If you are in the Orangeville area, give us a call today!