Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist vs Optician

An optometrist is the primary eye doctor of choice for routine eye health and vision examinations in Canada. University trained, a Doctor of Optometry is trained to diagnose, treat, manage and prevent conditions and disorders of the eye and visual system.  Expertise in prescribing, dispensing eyeglasses, fitting contact lenses, binocular vision therapy and low vision therapy are also part of the training of this profession.  Identification of systemic disorders and referral to the appropriate medical specialist are common duties of the optometrist. Co-management of various ocular diseases with the ophthalmologist is also part of the mandate of this profession.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor that has pursued a specialty in ocular disease and surgery. Many ophthalmologists have specific interests in various aspects of this profession such as glaucoma, retinal conditions, corneal problems and refractive surgery, binocular vision muscle surgery, genetic conditions and neurological aspects of vision. Cataract surgery is one of the most frequent procedures that this surgeon performs and co-management with optometrists can lead to some of the most dramatic quality of life changes in the visual sciences.  As partners in ocular health these professions are responsible for the vision of our country.

An optician provides eyewear whether it is eyeglasses, contact lenses, sunglasses or low vision devices. They rely upon the prescription from the optometrist or ophthalmologist in order to make the eyewear required by the patient. They develop knowledge and skills working with new materials in frames, lenses  and contact lenses. The best prescription provided will not serve well unless the glasses are measured, manufactured and fitted properly by the optician. Commonly working in a retail environment, opticians are often employed by optometrists or ophthalmologists in a full service environment. Opticians are required to complete a two year college program.

All information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant as a substitute for advice from your optometrist.  Therefore, we assume no responsibility for any omissions or errors in the content. 

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