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Choosing an eye doctor: Optometrist, Ophthalmologist or Optician?

  • Posted on- Jul 09, 2015
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Choosing an eye doctor is an important health care decision. After all, you will trust your eye doctor to safeguard your sense of sight and help you maintain a lifetime of good vision. The point is where do you go when you are having difficulty with your eyesight? There are different types of eye doctors and eye specialists you could see, including an ophthalmologist, optometrist, and optician and you must understand each of them before visiting one.


Ophthalmologists are eye specialists that have expertise in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and also the prevention of eye disease and injury. They can be either doctors of medicine (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO). While medical doctors focus on disease-specific diagnosis and treatment, osteopaths focus on the loss of structure and function in different parts of the body due to disease, including the eye. An eye doctor who practices osteopathy, would provide treatment based on the assumption that treating the parts of the visual system with the use of medicines, surgery, diet, and other therapies, will therefore treat the underlying eye problem. An ophthalmologist is qualified to deliver total eye care including eye examinations, medical and surgical eye care, diagnosis and treatment of eye disease, and visual complications that are caused by other conditions, like diabetes.


Optometrists are eye doctors of optometry (OD). They are professionally trained to examine, diagnose, treat, and manage some diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system. Optometrists examine the internal and external structure of the eyes to detect diseases such as glaucoma, retinal detachment and cataracts. They not perform eye surgeries and are not trained to care for and manage all diseases and disorders of the eyes. An optometrist diagnoses and treats eye problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. They can easily prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye exercises, low vision aids, vision therapy, and medications to treat eye diseases.


Opticians are eye healthcare professionals who work in coordination with ophthalmologists and optometrists to provide services related to the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems and eye disease. They assist optometrists and ophthalmologists in providing complete patient care before, during, and after exams, procedures, and surgeries. Opticians determine the lenses that best meet a person’s needs, oversee ordering and verification of eye-related products from start to finish, dispense, replace, adjust, repair, and reproduce previously ordered contact lenses, eyeglasses, and frames.

Choosing an eye specialist

Optimum eye health is the result of a working partnership between you and your eye healthcare provider. Ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians work collectively and with the patient to ensure good eye health and life-long vision. Because sight is so important, you need to be proactive in the care of your eyes. Choose a qualified eye doctor one that possesses the right training and experience, can give proper diagnosis and treatment, is informative, promotes the best possible results, and shows genuine care for the health of his or her patients. When choosing an eye doctor, always consider the person's qualifications, experience, services offered, and patient satisfaction.


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