Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist vs Optician: The Differences Explained


Around 12 million people over the age of forty have vision impairment in the United States. It goes without saying that eye problems are common and you’ve likely had an eye exam a few times in your life. 

But who do you visit when you need eye care? 

Check out this guide to the differences between an optometrist vs ophthalmologist vs optician so that you know exactly who to seek out. 

What Does an Optometrist Do?

An optometrist is the primary health provider for routine eyecare. This routine eyecare will range from sight testing and correction to diagnosis and treatment of management changes. 

Optometrists are not doctors. It takes four years to complete a postgraduate optometry program. 

You’ll visit an optometrist if you need to do an eye exam, get a prescription for glasses, and post-surgical eye care, among other reasons. 

You may also visit an optometrist for minor surgeries such as laser eye surgery. 

If you’re in need of any of these services, check out these tips to help you find the best optometrist

What Does an Ophthalmologist Do?

The most obvious difference between an optometrist vs ophthalmologist is that the latter is a medical doctor. Ophthalmologists specialize in surgical eye procedures. But you can still visit this doctor for a routine eye exam and prescriptions. 

Ophthalmologists must complete an education that consists of a full medical program and a residency program in ophthalmology. 

You’ll visit an ophthalmologist for the diagnosis and management of internal and external eye diseases. They offer surgical treatment of eye diseases, and post-surgery care and rehabilitation 

An ophthalmologist, then, performs all the routine eye care duties and services as an optometrist. However, they are not limited in the surgical treatment they can provide. 

What Does an Optician Do?

The differences between an ophthalmologist vs optician are vast. The main connection is that an optician uses the prescriptions given by ophthalmologists and optometrists to design eyeglasses and contact lenses.

You can think about an optician as the person that works at the front of an optometrist’s office or in a vision care store.

They provide customer service and can answer general eye care questions. They may also be trained to design, verify, and lenses and frames. 

You can discuss your options for lenses, glasses, and contacts with opticians but they may not diagnose you or prescribe anything. 

The education is very informal and opticians can obtain certification through an associate’s program or in-house apprenticeship. 

A Footnote: Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist vs Optician.

Wow, it’s quite a mouthful. But understanding the difference between an optometrist vs ophthalmologist vs optician is actually pretty simple. It’s natural to think of an optometrist as your all-round eye doctor, and you’d be kind of right — except they’re not doctors. 

These distinctions are particularly important so you can make sure that you go to the right specialist for the right care. 

Did you enjoy this post? Our site is full of health-related content for you to enjoy. Keep exploring for more informative articles!

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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Joseph Brill
Joseph Brill
2 years ago

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