Who are Optometrists?

Optometrists are not to be confused with Ophthalmologists or Opticians, although you will find the three professions work closely together. Read about the differences below:

Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide eye and vision care. As your primary eye care providers, optometrists perform routine eye exams, diagnose eye diseases, and treat eye disorders. They can also prescribe medication as well as vision aids, such as glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses and specialized devices for low vision. Doctors of Optometry receive their title by completing a Bachelor degree, followed by a four-year Doctor of Optometry Degree.

Ophthalmologists are specialists in eye disease and are licensed to practice medicine and surgery, in addition to diagnosing and treating eye disorders. They have completed a university degree, medical school, and a residency at a hospital specializing in the eye care. Ophthalmologists are secondary level healthcare providers; therefore, patients usually require a referral from their optometrist to receive an appointment for treatment or surgery. Ophthalmologists in Ontario are regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Opticians are licensed professionals trained to fit and dispense vision aids such as glasses and contact lenses. They do not perform eye exams but are able to interpret and fill eye prescriptions. Opticians complete a minimum of 2-4 years of postsecondary training before being able to dispense vision aids. Opticians in Ontario are regulated by the College of Opticians of Ontario.

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