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Optometrists, Ophthalmologists & Opticians: What Are the Differences?

In the world of vision, it is sometimes hard to differentiate in between the different specialists working in that field. The optician, optometrist and ophthalmologist worked in concert for the health of your eyes, however, they each have a very specific area of expertise.

The Optician:

Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, Optician, what are the differences

The mission of the optician is to prepare, fill, adjust and replace your glasses or contact lenses as per the prescription issued by your optometrist. He makes sure that the chosen correction fits in with your work or life style. He will guide you in choosing the proper lenses and through the different options. In general, the optician concentrates more on the technical aspect of the correction than the medical side. He can give you valuable tips concerning the maintenance and adjustment of your frame as well as caring, cleaning your lenses.

Another side of the optician area of expertise is aesthetics. He can accompany you in finding the proper shape of the lenses and color of frame that suit you best. He makes sure that the glasses or contact lenses that you choose are the best adapted to your needs as well as complimenting for your complexion and face.

The optician does not make diagnosis, nor can he write a prescription.

The Optometrist:

The optometrist, or doctor in Optometry, is a specialist that does full eye exams, prescribes and adjusts contact lenses, diagnoses eye affections and writes prescriptions.

His role comprises several tasks:

  • Complete eye exam
  • Prescription for proper visual correction
  • Treatment of eyes infection
  • Diagnosis of several pathologies of the eye such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or cataracts
  • Glasses, contact lenses adjustment and distribution as well as security glasses, visual aides for low vision
  • Foreign body removal from eyes

The optometrist is the first in line for the health of your vision. He meticulously follows the health of your eyes. He is the one who will refer you to other specialists such as ophthalmologists for the treatment of ocular illnesses and in certain cases, eye surgery. The optometrist works closely with other specialists working in eye care like the optician to whom he can transfer the prescription for the correction of the vision with recommendation for the best adaptation possible.

The Ophthalmologist:

The ophthalmologist is a doctor in medicine specialized in eyes, an eye surgeon. He can evaluate vision but is more focused on the health of the eye. He treats eye pathologies with either medication and/or surgery. His approach is strictly medical. He takes care of patients previously referred by the optometrist and can also refer to a colleague of different speciality such as cornea, strabismus, retina or cataracts. The ophthalmologist is the one you see after being referred by the optometrist for eyes health issues.

Quentin Reinhart – October 23, 2019

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I See Optometry

19 Clarence Street
Ottawa ON K1N 5P4

T (613) 241-3937
F (613) 241-5776

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