ATTENTION: Read about our COVID-19 precautionary measures.

What’s The Difference Between an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist, Orthoptist, and Optician Anyway?


So what is the difference between certain eye doctors?

So What’s The Difference Between an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist, and Orthoptist? Actively learning and educating yourself about an the eye industry’s occupation organization will help you make the best choice for your individualized eye care. The three O’s of eye care involve differences in education, practice areas, and structures of the eye. This week we’ll explore, in greater detail, the difference between ophthalmologists, optometrists, orthoptists and opticians. Read on to find out which eye care professional you’ll need to see if you ever experience vision problems.


An ophthalmologist is, essentially, an Eye M.D, who specializes in eye and vision care. An ophthalmologist is someone who attended medical school (4 years after college) followed by a residency training in ophthalmology (an additional 4 years). An ophthalmologist is a licensed medical professional who can diagnose and treat medical and surgical problems, but who can also prescribe corrective glasses and non-invasive treatments. They can practice surgery, diagnose and treat all eye diseases, and prescribe corrective vision lenses. Ophthalmologists conduct research as well, actively working with other experts in the field to uncover the causes and cures for eye disease and vision impairment.


An optometrist has the designation “O.D.” (doctor of optometry) which requires 4 years of optometry school after college. Providing primary vision care through sight testing/correcting, treatment, and management of vision changes, optometrists differ from ophthalmologists in that they do not perform eye surgery. Their daily tasks include performing eye and vision exams, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for specific eye diseases.


A certified orthoptist is trained to evaluate and manage childhood and adult eye alignment problems. With 2 years at an accredited program after completing a bachelor’s degree under their belts, certification requires passing a written exam given by The American Orthoptic Council. Essentially a physical therapist for the eyes, they assess focusing ability, eye movement and binocular functions (merging images from both eyes into one distinct image). Orthoptists typically work closely with pediatric ophthalmologists since these are the ophthalmologists that treat strabismus.


Opticians fit and craft eyeglasses. They help find you a stylish new pair of glasses , and will adjust them according to facial features and ear size. They use prescriptions prescribed by Ophthalmologists and optometrists, but do not test vision or prescribe glasses. They cannot diagnose or treat eye diseases either.

Now That You Know The Difference, Schedule An Eye Exam With One Of Our Many Specialized Eye Doctors!

Pediatric Eye Care of Maryland takes your eye health very seriously. With a full staff of highly skilled Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, and Orthoptists we’ve got ocular health covered. If you feel any concern about your vision, have questions concerning eye health, or need information on the services we offer contact us today. With 4 convenient locations in Maryland, we are your number one choice for eye treatment.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at 1:40 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.