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Health Library

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Eye Care Specialists

What is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is either a medical doctor (MD) or an osteopathic doctor (DO) who specializes in comprehensive eye care. These professionals provide exams, diagnosis, and treatment for a variety of eye disorders. Ophthalmologists are skilled in all facets of eye care, from prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses to doing complex eye surgery. Many also choose to specialize in one particular disease or part of the eye (for example, glaucoma specialist or cornea specialist).

What is an optometrist?

Picture of piece of eye equipment used to examine the front of the eye

An optometrist is a doctor of optometry (OD) who specializes in comprehensive eye care. These professionals provide exams, diagnosis, and treatment for a variety of eye disorders. Optometrists generally don’t do surgery. But in a few states they can do minor surgical procedures and laser surgery. Some specialize in low vision, contact lenses, or vision rehabilitation. 

What is an optician?

An optician is a technician who fits, adjusts, and fills the prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

What is an ocularist?

An ocularist is a technician who makes and fits artificial eyes (called prosthetic eyes or ocular prostheses).