Eye care professions

There are several professions in eye care. Each profession fulfills different tasks and responsibilities. What do opticians, optometrists or ophthalmologists do?


Opticians are trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames and to dispense contact lenses or other devices to correct eyesight. In several European countries, opticians also perform eye exams as well as contact lens fittings, and write eyewear prescriptions. Opticians do not diagnose or treat eye diseases.


Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care, ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of changes in vision. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses and detecting certain eye abnormalities. An optometrist’s scope of practice varies in different countries.


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. As a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and perform surgery. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats eye diseases and performs eye surgery. Additionally, he or she can prescribe eyewear prescriptions and contact lenses to correct vision problems. Many ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific research on the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision disorders.

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