Do you want to help people protect their sight and see as clearly as possible? If so, you may want to consider becoming an optician, optometrist, or eye doctor. All three of these professions play an important role in providing eye care, but it's important to understand the differences between them. An optician is a technician who places eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision correction devices. They are not allowed to perform any eye exams or diagnose or treat any eye conditions.
An optometrist is a professional who examines, diagnoses, and treats patients' eyes. They specialize in treatments for the health of the eyes, the orbit and the visual systems. Optometrists are primarily concerned with eye health, performing comprehensive and routine eye exams and prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. They also provide first aid for common conditions and injuries, such as corneal abrasions and foreign bodies.
An eye doctor, or ophthalmologist, is a doctor who is highly qualified in allopathic medicine or osteopathy who specializes in eye care and in the medical field of ophthalmology. Eye doctors diagnose and treat all eye diseases, perform eye surgery, and prescribe and adjust eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. They can also identify serious health problems, such as optic disc papilledema, pupil abnormalities that may indicate aneurysms, and eye cancers. Eye doctors receive 12 or more years of training to be able to perform in-depth surgical procedures for eye diseases. Optometrists have a doctorate degree in optometry.
After completing four years of undergraduate studies, they must attend four years of optometry school. Depending on the scope of practice in the state, both optometrists and eye doctors can perform laser and other minor eye surgical procedures for eye care. However, unlike eye doctors, optometrists don't perform complex eye surgery such as cataract surgery. It's important to note that opticians are not trained as eye doctors and therefore cannot perform eye exams, diagnose medical eye problems, such as dry eye, or prescribe contact lenses. Eye dilation is an important part of a complete eye exam but it can take up to 6 hours for the effects to wear off. You can visit an optometrist for an annual eye exam, to fill out eyeglasses or a contact prescription, or even to receive medications and treatments for certain eye conditions.
Many optometrists are also involved in scientific research on the causes and cures of eye diseases and vision disorders. In conclusion, all three professions – opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists – play an important role in providing quality eye care. Opticians place eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision correction devices; optometrists examine, diagnose, and treat patients' eyes; while ophthalmologists are highly qualified doctors who specialize in medical and surgical treatments for eye conditions.