Navigating the Different Avenues of Eye Health Care

There are three basic providers of eye health care in this country and each one provides a different type of service. Opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists all take care of your eyes but each one is vastly different. Do you have any idea which one you should go to for your eye health care needs? By understanding the different education levels required to perform these particular professions, you will have a good understanding of who you need to see for your different eye issues.

Optician Profile

The primary role of opticians in terms of eye health care is that they help fit your prescription eyeglasses as prescribed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. They take physical measurements of the eyes so as to help guide you into the right pair of glasses that suits your face shape. They also adjust glasses so that they fit properly and can earn special licensing to fit contacts lenses.

In terms of education, opticians usually become licensed by their particular state after earning an associate’s degree in opticianry or have gone through a two year apprentice ship. Many opticians become certified by the American Board of Opticianry after passing a certification exam and must retake the test every three years for renewal.

Optometrist Profile

Optometrists provide you regular eye health care by examining your eyes for vision problems such as astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness. Eye diseases such as glaucoma are usually detected by optometrists as well as problems with eye coordination, focusing issues, depth perception and color observation.

Licensing by their state is required in order to be able to prescribe contacts and eyeglasses as part of the total eye health care for patients. Depending on where they live, they can prescribe medications for certain eye problems as well as treat a few diseases that inflict the eye. Education requirements for optometrists begin with an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college, followed by four years of optometry school in order to earn a Doctor of Optometry degree. They have to pass clinical and written exams as well as report every three years for a license renewal.

Ophthalmologist Profile

Ophthalmologists are actual medical doctors who earned a four year degree followed by four years of medical school as well as an internship and then a three year residency in their specialty field of ophthalmology. Written and clinical exams are taken to receive their medical license.

All aspects of eye health care are taken care of by an ophthalmologist from eye exams to prescription medications to surgical procedures. This type of medical doctor performs cataract surgery, laser treatments and much more. Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat eye diseases and disorders and are eye health care specialists you go to with suspected infections, eye injuries and more.

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