What's the Difference Between an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist, and Optician?

When it comes to eye care, many people use the terms ophthalmologist, optometrist, and optician interchangeably. However, all of these terms mean distinctly different things. Here's a closer look at these concepts.

What is an Optician?

An optician is an optical technician. Along with their optician training, they are required to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, some opticians have an associate's degree, and roughly half of all states require these professionals to be licensed.

These professionals generally work for optometrists or ophthalmologists. Their role is to help patients choose their glasses, and they also fit glasses and contact lenses for patients. They work under the supervision and guidance of optometrists and ophthalmologists.

What is an Optometrist?

An optometrist has significantly more training than an optician. These eye care professionals have a college degree and then attend four years of optometry school. At the end of their coursework, they receive a doctor of optometry (OD), and they must also get licensed in the state where they want to practice.

An optometrist performs general eye exams and can diagnose issues with your vision. They can also treat and manage a range of visual disorders and diseases of the eye. An optometrist can be your primary eye doctor.

Many optometrists throughout the Vero Beach area refer their surgical eye care patients to the eye surgeons at New Vision Eye Center. We are happy to work with these professionals to correct visual issues or disorders for their patients and then return the patient to their care.

What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in surgical correction of visual errors in eyes. These professionals have completed a bachelor's degree and have also gone through at least eight years of medical school and training.

Like optometrists, they can diagnose and treat issues with vision and eye disease, but ophthalmologists can also perform eye surgery. Many ophthalmologists are also engaged in research that's focused on looking for cures for eye related diseases.

Should You See an Optician, an Optometrist, or an Ophthalmologist?

If you want to know if you need glasses or contacts, or need to have a routine eye exam, you can make an appointment with an optometrist. They may also have an optician in their office to help you with some elements of the process.

If you have more serious eye care concerns, or if an optometrist has recommended you see an ophthalmologist, you may want to make an appointment with New Vision Eye Center. If you have glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, or a range of other issues, you should see an ophthalmologist to ensure you get the diagnosis and treatment you need.

In addition, if you have an injury to your eye, double vision, loss of peripheral vision, or any other serious issues, you should also consult with an ophthalmologist. Similarly, if you have a disease that's commonly linked to eye issues such as diabetes, Grave's disease, or HIV or AIDS, an ophthalmologist can also help.

At New Vision Eye Center, all of our specialists are ophthalmologists. We provide cataract surgery, the latest treatment options for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and a range of other conditions. If you're tired of wearing glasses, we also offer laser vision correction surgery. Contact us today-our ophthalmologists in Vero Beach, FL are looking forward to helping you with the procedures you need.