blog graphic ophthalmologist vs. optometrist

Ophthalmologist vs. Optometrist vs. Optician?

What is the difference between an optometrist, an ophthalmologist, and an optician? Dr. Myers has the answer!


eye exam opthalmologist vs. optometristAn optometrist is an eye specialist who has earned a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. This degree generally requires an undergraduate degree with a science background. It also requires four years of graduate training at an optometry school.

Optometrists can provide eye exams to correct poor eyesight with glasses or contact lenses. They can also detect diseases and abnormalities of the eye. They are limited by state law in the range of conditions they can treat.

In Illinois, they are not licensed to perform major and minor surgery of the eye. Illinois law also states that for more complex conditions or diseases of the eye, there are even more rules. The optometrist shall refer the patient to a physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches. A good example of this would be an ophthalmologist.


eye examAn ophthalmologist is a physician who is a Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). They specialize in the eye. Either degree typically requires an undergraduate degree in science. Then there are four years of graduate study in medical school. After that, a one-year medical internship. Then a minimum of three years participating in an ophthalmology-based residency in a hospital.

Ophthalmologists provide eye exams to correct poor eyesight. They can prescribe eyeglasses/contacts, treat eye diseases, and perform eye surgery.

Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists because they have wider expertise in general medicine, as they have roughly four more years of medical training. This additional training allows ophthalmologists to detect and fully treat conditions that are out of the scope of an optometrist.


Opticians work in an optical shop and use prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists to help customers select eyeglass frames and lenses and contact lenses. Opticians educate customers on options for glasses such as different styles for frames, bifocal lenses, and anti-reflective coating. They do not diagnose or treat eye conditions.

Our Services

The Dr. Myers Eye Care Center is headed by a physician (MD) and ophthalmologist, Dr. Clifford Myers. Our vision center also includes an optical shop carrying premium brands of glasses and an experienced optician dedicated to finding the right pair of glasses or contacts for you.

Our office provides a single-stop solution for all your eye care needs and eye problems, as you can get a professional medical eye exam and pick out a pair of prescription glasses or contacts in one visit!

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