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Understanding the Different Types of Eye Care Providers

To ensure you are getting the best eye care possible, it is important to know which type of eye specialist you should be seeing. Ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians all have the same overall goal of providing quality eye care, but their training and areas of expertise are different. Below, the roles of these three different types of eye care providers are explained.

Ophthalmologist

An ophthalmologist is an eye doctor who has obtained an MD (medical doctor) or DO (doctor of osteopathy) degree. Ophthalmologists are surgically trained and are licensed to operate on the eye, and can perform corrective eye surgery. In addition to performing surgery, ophthalmologists diagnose and treat eye diseases, such as glaucoma. They can prescribe glasses and contact lenses, but generally focus on detecting and managing diseases.

Optometrist

An eye doctor that has a DO (doctor of optometry) degree is an optometrist. Optometrists are not medical doctors. An optometrist generally performs eye exams and vision tests. They can write prescriptions for glasses and corrective lenses, as well as medications to treat different eye conditions.

Optician

An optician specializes in fitting eyeglasses and making corrective lenses. Opticians work side-by-side with ophthalmologists and optometrists to fit and adjust prescriptions. Unlike individuals in the other two professions, they do not detect or treat diseases.

Overall Eye Care

All three types of eye care providers work together to serve a patient’s eye care needs. For example, an optometrist could perform an eye exam and prescribe corrective lenses; the optician could then fit the frames and lenses, and, if the optometrist detected an abnormality, an ophthalmologist could provide more advanced care.

When it is time for you to get your eyes checked, get the most comprehensive care in one office by seeing Dr. Mark Hornfeld, an ophthalmologist in New York. To learn more about the services available to cover your eye care needs, call (212) 580-8881.