Who’s who and what they do in the eye care profession.
Ophthalmologist – A medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (OD) trained in eye care. Training includes a bachelor’s degree, medical school, residency, and often a fellowship to specialize in a specific area of expertise like pediatrics. Ophthalmologists are surgeons.
Optometrist – An optometric doctor who specializes in prescribing glasses and contact lenses and can also perform a thorough and complete eye exam. Optometrists complete a bachelor’s degree and optometry school, and may complete a residency or fellowship.
Orthoptist – An allied health professional who specializes in pediatric eye care and adult double vision. Orthoptists complete a bachelor’s degree and a two-year fellowship in training of the binocular vision system.
Ophthalmic Assistant / Technician – A medical professional who assists ophthalmologists and optometrists in caring for patients’ eyesight. There are different levels of technicians, all of which are certified by the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology.
Ocularist – An ocularist completes an apprenticeship during which they are taught the skills to fit, design, and care for ocular prostheses.
Optician – An optician will help pick out and order frames and lenses for eyeglasses.