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What’s the difference between an Optometrist, an Ophthalmologist and an Optician?

optometrist, Eyecare specialist in Virginia

What is an optometrist?

Optometrists are the frontline of eye and vision care, America’s primary eye health care providers. Medicare recognizes Doctors of Optometry as essential health care providers that can examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. A common misconception of Optometrists is that they only provide vision care to assist a patient into glasses or contacts, but that is not the case! Doctors of Optometry play a major role in an individual’s overall health and well-being by detecting systemic diseases, and diagnosing, treating and managing ocular manifestations of those diseases, and providing vaccinations.

Doctors of Optometry: 

  • Prescribe medications, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacle lenses, contact lenses and perform certain surgical procedures.
  • Counsel patients regarding surgical and on-surgical options that meet their visual needs related to their occupations, avocations and lifestyle. What is an Ophthalmologist?

Ophthalmologists also focus on the health, wellness, and treatment of eyes and vision; they are, however, medical doctors of MDs. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats a wide variety of eye conditions and diseases. 

A main difference in the practice of ophthalmologists is that they can also perform eye surgery in order to treat specific conditions in the eye. 

Training to become an ophthalmologist covers all eye problems and conditions, however many choose to specialize in one specific area of medical or surgical eye care. This specialization can make them experts in areas like glaucoma, retina, cornea or even pediatrics. 

What is an optician?

Another member of the eye care team that is vital to treatment and correction is an optician. Opticians are trained technicians that design, fit, and verify eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses, and any other corrective vision devices. 

While they do not test vision or write prescriptions, opticians work to bring designer eyewear near patients needing corrective glasses and ensure proper fit and comfort. Having corrective devices that are comfortable and stylish improves their overall use, greatly impacting the treatment plan.

Opticians offer other vital services, as well. For example, the optician team at Gilbert Eye Care provides eyeglass repair in both the Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA locations

It’s important to understand the differences among eye care professionals and to work closely with your care team to keep your vision healthy. To learn more about the differences between optometry and ophthalmology or to schedule a vision check-up with a Dr. Gilbert eye doctor in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, call us at 757.425.0200/ 757-622-0200.

Virginia Beach Location

Our Virginia Beach Eye Care office is conveniently located off Laskin Road in Hilltop.

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