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Health Library

Eye Care Specialists

What is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is either a medical doctor (M.D.) or an osteopathic doctor (D.O.) who specializes in comprehensive eye care and provides examinations, 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 performing intricate eye surgery. Many also choose to specialize in one particular disease or portion 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 (O.D.) who specializes in comprehensive eye care and provides examinations, diagnosis, and treatment for a variety of eye disorders. Optometrists are skilled in all facets of eye care, but do not perform surgery with the exception of minor surgical procedures and laser surgery in Oklahoma and Kentucky. 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 ophthalmic prosthesis.

Although they do not test vision for prescribing glasses or contact lenses, family practitioners, or general internists may medically treat some eye conditions.

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