Difference Between an Optometrist, Optician, and Ophthalmologist

Eye care refers to the diagnosis and treatment of eye-related conditions and diseases. It can include regular eye exams and prescription of corrective lenses such as glasses or contact lenses. It may also involve treating nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Eye care can include diagnosing and treating eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and AMD. Besides these, it involves expert advice on maintaining good eye health.


Who Is an Optometrist?

Optometrists are specialized healthcare professionals.

They specialize in the following:


  • Examining

  • Diagnosing

  • Treating eye-related conditions and diseases

  • Performing comprehensive eye exams

  • Prescribing corrective lenses

  • Detecting and managing other eye diseases, such as glaucoma and AMD

  • Prescribing medications for certain eye conditions



An optometrist needs to complete a doctor of optometry (OD) degree program to practice. These programs take four years to complete. After this, they must pass a national board examination to get a license to practice.

Besides these requirements, many states have additional licensing requirements. They have the option to become board certified. This is a voluntary process. They do this through the American Board of Optometry (ABO) and the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO).


Who Is an Optician?

An optician is an eye care professional. They specialize in the following:


  • Designing

  • Fitting

  • Dispensing eyeglasses and contact lenses

  • Helping patients choose the appropriate frames for their glasses

  • Operating clinics for prescriptive eyewear

  • Helping people consider factors such as facial structure, lifestyle, and personal style

  • Adjusting and repairing eyeglasses and contact lenses

  • Educating patients on properly caring for and using their prescription lenses

  • Helping with contact lens instruction, insertion, and removal

Usually, they work under the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist.



Opticians need to complete one of two programs of training and an exam. They also need vocational training or an apprenticeship program. Passing a certification exam ensures they get a license to practice.


Who Is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a specialized medical doctor. They specialize in diagnosing and treating eye-related conditions and diseases. These doctors are trained to perform comprehensive eye exams and prescribe corrective lenses. They can diagnose and treat many eye conditions, including common refractive conditions. They also handle more complex and severe conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma.

They can perform eye surgery, including cataract surgery, LASIK, and other procedures. Additionally, they treat conditions that affect the eyes, such as diabetes and hypertension. They can prescribe medications for certain eye conditions.



Ophthalmologists have completed at least eight years of higher education and training. These include a college degree and four years of medical school. It should also include at least four years of ophthalmology residency program training. These doctors must pass another rigorous examination. This one is by the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) to be board-certified.

For more on the difference between optometrists, opticians, and ophthalmologists, visit Advanced Vision Institute at our office in Las Vegas, Nevada. Call (702) 819-9800 to book an appointment today.

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