The difference between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an optician

If you know the difference between the three vision care professionals, it will help when you go to your next comprehensive eye exam. Ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians all provide eye care services, but the levels of training and expertise are different. An eye doctor, either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, will oversee your eye exam, and an optician will likely be the specialist who will fit and dispense your corrective lens. Here’s some more information on each eye care professional:

Ophthalmologist

Ophthalmologists specialize in medical and surgical conditions of the eye. They will perform eye surgery and treat eye diseases. An ophthalmologist could be a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathic medicine. They usually work in a medical office and may be affiliated with a hospital. Their education includes an undergraduate degree, medical school and four years of medical residency. They are also board certified.

Optometrist

An optometrist is a doctor of optometry. Typically, optometrists complete four years of undergraduate work and a four-year postgraduate degree program, which includes medical training. An optometrist’s work includes the diagnosis and management of eye diseases, and optometrists may treat eye diseases with medications.

Optician

An optician fits and dispenses corrective lenses like eyeglasses and contact lenses. Optician educational training can vary but may include certificate programs or associate degree programs. Licensing depends on the state laws.

Check to see if your eye doctor is in the Advantica network or find a vision care professional in the Advantica network.

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