The roles played by the various eye care professionals are varied but complementary. It is important to understand these different roles and know which to visit depending on your needs. First, who are these professionals?
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and management of eye diseases and surgical procedures of the eye. They may provide routine care such as vision testing and prescribe and fit eyeglasses or contact lenses, but ophthalmologists are primarily surgeons.
The role of an optometrist is to provide primary eye care by, addressing both eye health and vision concerns. This includes undertaking testing, assessment and diagnosis; and providing vision correction through vision training, glasses or contact lenses
An optician is one who dispenses and fit spectacles and other optical aids, to both adults and children, working from the prescriptions written by optometrists and ophthalmologists. He/she advises patients on various types of lenses and spectacle frames, including style, weight and colour.
There are significant differences between an optometrist, ophthalmologist, and optician.
Optometrists are not medical doctors; they are doctors who provide vision care. Optometrists are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves eye exams, vision tests, and identifying and treating certain eye abnormalities and eye diseases and performing non-invasive procedures.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor licensed to diagnose and treat all eye diseases and vision problems, as well as perform eye surgery.
Opticians are technicians who design, check, and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct eyesight. Using the prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists, they help patients get the correction they need. They do not test vision, write prescriptions, or diagnose or treat eye diseases.
AREAS OF OVERLAP
These professions sometimes overlap in some areas. For example, optometrists can help the patient choose frames and contact lenses, and some have actually gone through the technical training to learn how to cut the lenses. And just like ophthalmologists, they diagnose and perform non-invasive procedures.
The ophthalmologist, just like the optometrist, can carry out refraction for eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Now you know that you will see the optometrist for eye examinations and diagnosis, the ophthalmologist for treatments and surgery, and the optician for the best eyeglasses or contact lenses just for you.
So stay healthy and know who to contact in case of an eye emergency.