What’s the difference between ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians? Their jobs may overlap, and they may collaborate, but overall there are key traits that distinguish the three experts.
What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a trained medical doctor who has earned an MD (Medical Doctor) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) degree and who is licensed to surgically invade the eye. He or she has typically spent four years in undergraduate studies, four years in medical school and three additional years studying surgery and diseases of the eye. An ophthalmologist's primary focus is treating and managing ocular diseases.
So what is an Optometrist?
An optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry (OD) who has been trained to treat and manage eye diseases, conduct general eye exams, prescribe glasses and contact lenses and remove foreign bodies from the eye. An optometrist has completed four years of undergraduate education and another four years of education from a college of optometry. The four years of study in an optometry school provide courses specifically in enabling people to see better through the use of glasses lenses and contact lenses. There is also a large portion of study devoted to the detection, treatment and management of eye diseases. An optometrist often collaborates with an ophthalmologist to provide the pre- and post-op care to an eye-surgery patient, though an optometrist will not perform the actual surgery.
Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist? In short, an optometrist makes people see better through the use of glasses and contact lenses. An opthamologist primarily treats and manages ocular diseases (e.g., glaucoma, contact-lens-related infections) and removes foreign bodies that can embed in the eye. Another way of saying it is that an ophthalmologist is primarily focused on surgical remedies to treat a diseased eye.
What is an Optician?
Generally, an optician selects, fits and adjusts eyeglasses for patients. He is the person you work with AFTER you have seen your optometrist and have been prescribed glasses. He will take all proper measurements and make recommendations based on your prescription, personal preference and lifestyle.