One of the questions that come up frequently at Clarity Eye Care has to do with my title.  Everyone knows that I’m an “eye doctor,” and you may even know that I’m an optometrist, but what exactly is the difference between an optometrist, optician, ophthalmologist, and obstetrician.  Well, maybe not the last one, but it has actually come up a few times!  So, let me do my best to clear up the confusion and shed some light on the topic.  Haha, a little eye doctor pun never hurts.

First of all, an obstetrician specializes in pregnancy, delivery and birth.  Since I specialize in the other end, we can put that one to rest.  There are no obstetricians in eye care, and when I use drop to dilate…oh, never mind!  Let’s get on with it.

Opticians design, measure, fit, and adapt eyeglasses, frames, and contact lenses for clients according to prescriptions from ophthalmologists or optometrists. Opticians measure a client’s eyes, including the distance between the centers of the pupils and between the eye surface and a lens to determine the best fit for each individual. Opticians use a range of factors to determine and recommend frames and lenses for a client, from facial features to occupation. Opticians will prepare a work order for an optical laboratory containing instructions for grinding and mounting specific lenses in frames. They will verify exactness of finished lenses and adjust frame and lens position to fit the client. The best opticians blend the style and art of frame selection with the science and technology of optics.

Optometrists, also known as doctors of optometry, or ODs, are health care professionals who specialize in vision and eye care. They examine people’s eyes to diagnose vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, and they test patients’ depth and color perception and ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. Optometrists may prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses, or they may prescribe or provide other treatments, such as vision therapy or low-vision rehabilitation. Optometrists may also provide patients with preoperative and postoperative care for cataract, laser vision correction, and other eye surgeries. Optometrists can prescribe medication to treat eye inflammation, infections, or allergies.  They also test for glaucoma and other eye diseases and diagnose conditions caused by systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, referring patients to other health practitioners (such as an appropriate ophthalmologist) as needed.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eye and vision care and function, including diagnosing and treating eye diseases and injuries. Eye M.D.s, as ophthalmologists are often called, are primarily eye surgeons.  They perform complex and delicate surgical procedures of the eye, including laser eye surgery, to prevent the occurrence of eye diseases and correct vision problems. Some ophthalmologists specialize in areas such as glaucoma, corneal disease, or reconstructive surgery. Many Eye M.D.s are also involved in scientific research into the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision problems.

Thanks for reading!

-Dr. Bryant



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