You have probably heard the words ophthalmologist, optometrist, and optician thrown around when it’s time to get a routine eye exam. While each works with vision, they offer different levels of service that may make a difference based on your medical needs.
What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist holds the highest level of training and education of the three. Since they are a medical doctor with a minimum of 8 years of training in the field, they are licensed to practice medicine and perform surgery. They can write prescriptions and diagnose patients. Some also devote time to research to find the cause and cure for various eye disorders.
All of the doctors at Eye Michigan – Les Grosinger, M.D., Alan Spigelman, M.D. and David Grey, M.D. – are experienced ophthalmologists.
What is an Optometrist?
An optometrist falls in between the optician and ophthalmologist. While they have more abilities than an optician, they are not a medical doctor like the ophthalmologist. They receive a license to practice optometry which includes vision tests, writing prescriptions, and dispensing corrective lenses. They can also detect abnormalities and prescribe medications for some diseases.
What is an Optician?
An optician has the most limited job scope of the three. This type of professional cannot diagnose or treat diseases and is not allowed to write prescriptions or perform vision tests. Their primary job is to design and fit corrective devices like contact lenses and eyeglasses.
Who Should I See?
If you only need corrective eyewear or basic services, an optometrist or optician may be sufficient. It’s important to see an ophthalmologist at some point before age 40, even if you aren’t experiencing noticeable problems. An ophthalmologist will be able to take a closer look at your eyes and provide a thorough review of your vision health so you have a baseline as you age.