What is the difference between an OPTOMETRIST, OPH

What is the difference between an OPTOMETRIST, OPHTHALMOLOGIST, and OPTICIAN?

The two main differences between these three professions are education and scope of practice.

Today’s doctors of optometry, OPTOMETRISTS, have completed a Bachelor of Science degree and a four-year Doctor of Optometry degree at an accredited university’s School of Optometry. An optometrist is educated, clinically trained and licensed to:

  • Examine, assess, measure and diagnose disorders and diseases of the human visual system, the eye and its associated structures, as well as recognize related systemic conditions.
  • Prescribe and provide treatment, management and correction, including, but not limited to, the dispensing and fitting of corrective lenses (eye glasses and contact lenses), vision therapy, low vision therapy, prescribing of topical medications to treat anterior segment disorders, removal of foreign bodies, referral to medical specialists for treatment of systemic disease or eye surgery, and co-management of ocular diseases with ophthalmologists.
  • Conduct research and promote education in the visual sciences.

An OPHTHALMOLOGIST is a medical doctor who, in addition to a Bachelor Degree and 4 years of Medical School at an accredited university, has completed a residency in medical and surgical care of the eyes in an accredited hospital. Most ophthalmologists specialize in secondary and tertiary treatment of eye diseases and disorders, including the surgical correction of some ocular problems.

An OPTICIAN designs, finishes, fits and dispenses eye glasses and contact lenses, based on a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Opticians develop their skills by working in an optical dispensary while completing a two-year independent home study program which is supplemented with  evening lectures and lab sessions. An additional two-year program of home study and work experience must be undertaken before an optician can be licensed to fit and dispense contact lenses.

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