If you’ve ever been to an all-encompassing eye care practice, you’ve probably been introduced to several different kinds of eye care practitioners ¬– ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians. But what exactly does each of these do, and how can they help improve your vision?
- Ophthalmologists – Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who are trained to fully care for your eyes. This includes giving eye exams to patients, performing surgery, prescribing corrective lenses and diagnosing/treating eye diseases. Ophthalmologists must complete four years of pre-medical undergraduate work, four years of medical school, one year as an intern, and at least three years of specialized training in surgical eye care. Only ophthalmologists are licensed to perform surgery. You can recognize an ophthalmologist by his or her title, which is either MD (medical doctor) or DO (doctors of osteopathy).
- Optometrists – Optometrists offer many of the same eye care services as an ophthalmologist, but they do not have a medical degree. Optometrists are required to have a degree from a four-year accredited college of optometry and are trained to diagnose eye disorders and conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. They can also prescribe corrective lenses and medications to treat existing problems with the eye. In general practice, optometrists perform eye exams and recognize vision deficiencies like nearsightedness and farsightedness. For more complex issues or for surgery, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist.
- Opticians – Opticians assist both ophthalmologists and optometrists in the care of a person’s vision. They have earned a two-year technical degree and help care for patients during an eye exam. Opticians assist eye patients in ordering prescriptions, determining the best lenses for a person’s eyes, and repairing or adjusting contacts and frames. Opticians are not considered to be doctors.
Each of these eye care professionals plays a part in making sure your vision care is as complete as possible. It’s recommended that you visit an eye doctor at least once a year for an exam. Make sure you check your vision plan and schedule an appointment today with a participating practitioner to receive significant savings.