Not all eye doctors are the same. “Eye doctor” is more of an umbrella term for three different types of eye specialists. Each profession has its own qualifications and realm of expertise. It’s good to know the different types of eye doctors in advance so that you know what kind of eye care professional to look for when you have health concerns. Keep reading for the differences between each profession.
The optometrist covers all your primary eye health needs. Out of all three types of eye doctors, you’ve most likely visited an optometrist at least once, especially if you wear glasses or contact lenses. An optometrist is the one who performs your eye exams and vision tests at the eye clinic. They also have qualifications for prescribing your eyeglasses and contact lenses. Optometrists must have college degrees and go through four years of training for an optometry degree. Some may pursue even more specialized training.
Ophthalmologists are the next step above optometrists in terms of qualifications. Accordingly, they typically attend medical school and several years of training afterward. This may include an internship and a residency period, followed by a one- or two-year fellowship. Their training enables them to perform more intensive eye care services, such as medical and surgical procedures. If you undergo eye surgery to correct your vision, your surgeon would be an ophthalmologist. These doctors use special ophthalmic supplies to diagnose and treat various eye conditions.
Opticians are technically not eye doctors, which means they can’t perform eye exams. Still, you should know the distinction between them and the other eye professionals. They’re the ones who help you find your glasses or contact lenses by filling the prescription your optometrist gives you. They can also repair your frames and even measure your facial features for new ones. They have several options when it comes to education. Some people get a two-year degree, while others train for a certificate or diploma.
We hope this has answered the question, “What are the different types of eye doctors?” The type of eye care professional you need to see will depend on whether you need an eye prescription filled, an exam, or a corrective surgery. Now that you know the differences and required education for each, you can seek a qualified eye doctor for your optical health.