Confused about the difference between an optician and an optometrist? Ever wondered what part an ophthalmologist or an orthoptist could play in your eye health?
Read on to learn more about the different eye care practitioners, so you can visit the right person for your vision needs.
A simple guide
This simple guide can combat confusion at a glance.
- An optometrist or ophthalmic optician tests your eyes and eye health.
- A dispensing optician fits your glasses and may also be able to fit your contact lenses too.
- Ophthalmologists are doctors who specialise in eye health.
- Orthoptists specialise in problems related to eye movements and coordination.
More about eye care practitioners
Read below to discover the level of training and places of work of the different eye care practitioners, and what each can do for you.
Optometrists and ophthalmic opticians
Optometrists are also sometimes called ophthalmic opticians. They are trained to examine your eyes, test your eyesight, plus prescribe and fit contact lenses. They can also diagnose eye conditions, prescribe certain eye drugs and refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Optometrists first complete an optometry degree. This is followed by a year of training and supervision. They then take a qualifying exam set by the College of Optometrists.
Some optometrists have further training to specialise in different expert areas of eye health or vision needs, such as eye treatment or sports vision.
Dispensing opticians supply and fit glasses and, with an extra qualification, can also fit contact lenses. However, they don’t test your eyesight.
Ophthalmologists are qualified doctors who specialise in eye health. They diagnose and treat eye conditions or injury and perform eye surgery.
Most ophthalmologists work in eye hospitals. You are likely to visit an ophthalmologist if your doctor or optometrist refers you to a hospital for investigation or treatment.
Orthoptists diagnose and treat defects of vision and abnormalities of eye movement, such as double vision (diplopia) and lazy eye (amblyopia).
Much of an orthoptist’s work is with children, assessing their visual development. They usually work alongside ophthalmologists in hospitals and in other health care settings.
You can find an eye care practitioner who fits contact lenses near you here.