Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist vs Optician: Which Eye Care Professional do I need?” Here’s a quick breakdown of each profession to help you decide.
What is an Optometrist?
An optometrist is an eye doctor who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. They examine eyes for vision and health problems, as well as, prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, and medications for eye diseases. Optometrists also provide pre- and post-operative care, but do not perform eye surgery.
To obtain their OD Degree, Optometrist completes a four year undergraduate degree in the sciences, then four years of post-graduate training in optometry school. Plus, they are required to complete continuing education each year to keep their license current.
What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) who specializes in eye care. Ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye surgery, eye exams, and diagnose and treat eye disease.
To obtain their DO Degree, Ophthalmologists complete four years of undergraduate college, four years of medical school, and three years of residency in Ophthalmology. Plus, they are required to complete continuing education each year to keep their license current.
What is an Optician?
An Optician is an important part of the eye care team. Opticians are not doctors. Opticians use prescriptions written by an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist to fit and sell eyeglasses and dispense contact lenses.
For schooling, Opticians complete an opticianry training program and be licensed.
Which Eye Doctor Should I See?
If your eyes are healthy and don’t require specialized medical or surgical treatment, the type of eye doctor you choose for a routine exam is a matter of personal preference. You would select either an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist.
However, if you have been diagnosed with an eye disease or need surgical treatment, your eye care team will work together to get you to the most appropriate provider.
All of our EyeCare providers have different areas of expertise. If you are unsure who to schedule with, call our office and our staff will be happy to assist you.