Finding the Right Eye Care Professional for You

Eye Care

Choosing an eye specialist is an essential health care decision, as your eye doctor will safeguard your valued sense of sight and help keep a lifetime of better vision. In your decision-making, it is important to understand that there are three different types of eye doctors: optometrist, ophthalmologist, and optician.


An optometrist is an eye care doctor with a Doctor of Optometry degree. They examine eyes for both health issues and vision and correction of refractive errors by prescribing contact lenses and eyeglasses. Most optometrists provide medical treatment for common eye issues like eye infections, dry eyes, and specific chronic eye diseases like glaucoma. Some of them also provide vision therapy and low vision care. In the U.S, they are also licensed to prescribe medication to heal certain eye diseases and problems. The extent of medical attention that can be offered by an optometrist is determined by the state of law. They might also participate in your pre- and post-operative care in case you have your eye surgery done by an ophthalmologist. 

Optometrists are not trained or licensed to carry out eye surgery in the U.S. but can perform it with few exceptions. Optometrists must finish a four-year college degree program in the sciences, with four years of post-graduate professional education in optometry school. They are needed to fulfill continuing education needs on an ongoing basis to keep their licensure and remain current with the new eye care standards like ophthalmologists. The education needs of an optometrist are the same as the requirements of a dentist.  You can find out more by going to 

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An ophthalmologist is a doctor of osteopathic medicine who is specialized in eye and vision care or a medical doctor (MD). They are trained to do eye exams, diagnosis, and treatment, perform surgery and prescribe medication. They also prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses. Generally, ophthalmologists finish four college years, four years of medical school, a one-year internship, and at least three years of hospital-based tenancy in ophthalmology. The training and education of an ophthalmologist are more or less the same as that of an oral surgeon whereas the education of an optometrist is the same as that of an overall dentist. Both an ophthalmologist and an optometrist carry out eye examination and are trained to identify, diagnose and manage eye diseases that need non-medical and medical treatment. They also prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses.


An optician isn’t an eye doctor but is an essential part of your eye care group. They use prescriptions that are written by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to fix and sell eyeglasses and other eyewear. Other states in the U.S do not require opticians to have formal training or licensure but some allow the optician to fix contact lenses, after finishing a certification program.

For those with healthy eyes that don’t require specialized medical or surgical treatment, the choice of an eye specialist for a routine eye examination is an individual preference. For persons with an eye condition or disorder like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, etc., it is advisable to seek specific medical care from the specific eye doctor either optometrist or ophthalmologist in accordance with the medical attention that they need. In most cases, these eye specialists work as a team to achieve a common objection. 

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