Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist | The Vision Gallery Edmonton




Opticians do not have a medical degree, but they are still highly educated and certified to medical standards. Their main duties include filling eyewear or contact lens prescriptions, often fitting and customizing the product to each specific customer. Opticians usually handle day-to-day operations such as customer service and product ordering, among many other tasks– opticians are an essential part of any optometry team.


Optometrists are doctors that have studied in and completed a Doctorate of Optometry (OD), generally seven to eight years of post-secondary schooling. As with medical doctors (MD), optometrists are licensed to diagnose health conditions and prescribe medication– but their field is tied directly to eye and vision health. Optometrists can also give eye exams, prescribe glasses or contact lenses and provide vision therapy (including pre- and post-operative care for patients that require surgery).


An ophthalmologist has received a medical doctorate (MD) and is fully-fledged physician, but has also completed several years of additional schooling and training to concentrate in ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists can offer all vision services, as well as specialized medical eye care (ie: diseases, emergencies, trauma, etc), invasive eye surgery and even plastic surgery to the surrounding tissue.


You should consult an optician if:
  • Your glasses or contact lenses fit incorrectly or uncomfortably
  • You need corrective lenses and your prescription is up to date
  • You have questions about the availability of certain eyewear brands or eye health products


You should consult an optometrist if:
  • You need a regular eye exam
  • Your vision has worsened slowly over the time since your last exam
  • You require an updated or valid prescription for corrective lenses
  • You have an ongoing eye health condition that requires exams or therapy


You should consult an ophthalmologist if:
  • Your eye or vision condition requires surgery
  • You have a chronic eye or vision issue or disease
  • You have experienced trauma or injury to the eye area
  • You require or want plastic surgery around the eye area


In most cases, a person with any eye health issues will deal with each of the eye health professionals described above at some point or another. Opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists work in concert to provide the public with healthy eyes and vision. Here at The Vision Gallery, we pride ourselves in providing top-notch care to our patients and customers– visit or contact us today and experience the difference for yourself.


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