Who’s Who in Eye Care: Understanding the Roles of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, and Opticians

Our growing Atlantic Eye staff of skilled eye care professionals includes ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. Given that these differing roles can seem confusing, let’s take a moment to talk about how each contributes to our mission to provide the highest quality eye- health care for our patients.

Ophthalmologists are eye doctors with advanced medical and surgical training, typically a four-year college degree followed by at least eight years of additional medical and surgical training. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery and prescribes and fits eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.

Because they are medical doctors, ophthalmologists can sometimes recognize other health problems that aren’t directly related to the eye, and refer those patients to the right medical doctors for treatment.

An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry (OD) degree after completing 2 to 4 years of college-level education, followed by four years of optometry school and often by additional clinical training or specialty fellowship. They are licensed to practice optometry but are not medical doctors. Optometrists primarily do the following:

  • Perform eye exams and vision tests
  • Prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Monitor eye conditions related to diseases like diabetes
  • Manage and treat conditions like dry eye and glaucoma
  • Provide low-vision aids and vision therapy

You could have regular eye exams and get glasses or contact lens prescriptions from your optometrist. Your optometrist might spot signs of a more complicated eye problem, like cataracts, during your exam. They’ll refer you to an ophthalmologist if you need medicine or surgery to treat an eye condition.

Atlantic Eye recently welcomed two experienced optometrists, Dr. Gangisetty and Dr. Molbegott, to our professional staff. We introduced them in our January newsletter, https://atlanticeye.com/news/

Opticians are technicians who design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses and other devices to correct eyesight. They use prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists but do not test vision, write prescriptions, or diagnose or treat eye diseases. Atlantic Eye locations have full-service optical departments where our patients will be correctly fitted for eyeglasses or contact lenses, and know who to trust for any future adjustments.

This team has got you covered for the full complement of professional eye care you can expect from Atlantic Eye.