Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist: What's the Difference?

When it comes to your eye care, there are a number of experts you can see—depending on your needs. There are two main types of doctors who perform eye exams and prescribe treatments: ophthalmologists and optometrists. What is an optometrist? What is an ophthalmologist? Learn about the differences between the two eye care experts below.

What Is an Optometrist?

An optometrist is responsible for your primary eye care. All optometrists have spent four years in a professional program and have a Doctor of Optometry degree. Services optometrists can offer include:

  • Conducting eye exams, contact lens exams, and refractive exam tests
  • Writing eyeglasses and contact lenses prescriptions and performing fittings
  • Diagnosing and monitoring eye conditions, such as diabetic retina
  • Treating eye conditions like glaucoma and pink eye
  • Providing vision therapy

What is an Ophthalmologist?

Optometry vs. ophthalmology, what’s the difference? The difference is that ophthalmologists can perform medical and surgical procedures. Ophthalmologists went to medical school, completed a one-year internship, and a three-year residency. Their services include:

  • General vision services, including eye exams
  • Medical eye care for conditions such as cataracts, chemical burns, and diabetic retinopathy
  • Surgical procedures for trauma, cataracts, and LASIK
  • Treatment for eye conditions and diseases that affect the eyes like diabetes or arthritis
  • Cosmetic surgery

What Is an Optician?

When it comes to an optometrist vs. an optician, the difference is that opticians aren’t doctors and can’t perform eye exams. They have a one-year degree, certificate, or diploma. Opticians are primarily responsible for filling lens prescriptions written by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Their services include:

  • Checking and filling lens prescriptions
  • Providing, repairing and replacing glasses, frames and contact lenses
  • Taking facial measurements
  • Providing recommendations for frames and lenses

Pearle Vision has a team of eye care experts working together to ensure you get the best eye care possible. Whether you need to see an eye doctor or fill a prescription for your eyeglasses, we can help. In need of eye care? Make an appointment at your neighborhood Pearle Vision EyeCare Center.

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