Your Vision Care Team
There are three main “O’s” who have to do with your eye care. They are:
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the eye. Some ophthalmologists also perform simple refractions, designed to determine what visual correction is needed, and prescribe spectacles or corrective eyewear as required.
Optometrists (O.Ds’s) have a post-graduate university degree in the science of optometry. They test your eyesight, and check your eyes for medical conditions that mean you should be referred to an ophthalmologist. (In New Brunswick, a number of optometrists are also now qualified to prescribe drugs to treat some conditions of the eye.) Many optometrists also dispense spectacles and contact lenses.
Opticians are to ophthalmologists and optometrists what pharmacists are to medical doctors. They are the highly trained, licensed specialists in dispensing, i.e. in taking the prescription that the optometrist or ophthalmologist gives you and translating that into a pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses that exactly suits your needs. When the optometrist or ophthalmologist finishes testing your eyesight and hands you a prescription for corrective lenses, there are still many choices to make – contact lens vs. eyeglasses; various types of progressive lenses, many types of coatings designed to enhance your vision or protect your sight. Your optician can guide you to choose the options that best suit your needs.