Your eyes are essential for interacting with the world around you. Taking care of them requires seeing the right professional at the right time. Here are the main types of eye professionals and their roles in caring for your vision.
When you simply need a new glasses prescription, you may only need to see an optician. Many complete a one-to-two-year program focusing on the eyes but are not medical doctors. They may be in solo shops, part of an optical franchise or working with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Some states may not require formal training for opticians, but they still provide a valuable piece of your vision care network.
Optometrists have earned a Doctor of Optometry and search for health problems in your eyes while examining your vision. They can prescribe corrective lenses to correct refractive errors in the eyes. Vision therapy and low vision care are other services the optometrist may provide. They can treat certain diseases and problems in the eyes. After eye surgery, the optometrist may be essential for your post-operative care.
When you need eye surgery or treatment for an eye disease, chances are you need to see an ophthalmologist. These medical doctors can also examine the eyes and prescribe medications. They might even provide a contact lens or glasses prescription after the exam. These medical professionals have additional training in surgery enabling them to perform a variety of procedures on the eyes.
Depending on what eye care needs you have, you may need to see one or all three of these doctors during your lifetime. If you develop an eye disease, regular appointments with an optometrist are essential to keep the disease in check. Many people opt for LASIK surgery to correct their vision or need cataracts removed as they age. Both these types of surgery need the skills and expertise of an ophthalmologist.