KNOW YOUR "O"s
Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, and Opticians are key professionals who participate in the care of your eyes. The National Consumers League (NCL) helps you decipher the differences with these descriptions found on its website:
Opticians fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists. They measure patients’ eyes, recommend eyeglass frames and lenses based on the patient’s needs and can reshape eyeglass frames to fit properly. When licensed to do so, opticians also can fit contact lenses.
Optometrists provide routine, primary vision care.They examine eyes to detect vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, and diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma. They also test patients’ depth and color perception, as well as their ability to focus and coordinate eye function. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, and in some states administer and prescribe medications to help diagnose vision problems and treat certain eye disease.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in all aspects of eye health. They provide primary eye care services including eye exams and prescribe medications and perform surgical procedures, such as laser surgery and lens replacement. Using both surgical and non-invasive techniques, ophthalmologists diagnose and manage eye diseases, conditions, and disorders, and treat and repair eye injuries.
The NCL also offers advice on its website about choosing the correct professional for your individual needs.