Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist

If you have ever wondered about this, then you are not alone! There is a lot of confusion about the differences between optometry and ophthalmology.  They both play a very important role in eye care, but their areas of expertise are quite different.

In short:

An OPTOMETRIST tests for and provides glasses.

An OPHTHALMOLOGIST diagnose and treats eye diseases and performs eye surgery.

But there is more to this than meets the eye!

An OPTOMETRIST is an eye care professional that obtained a degree in optometry.  They provide primary vision care by doing vision tests and basic eye examinations, prescribing and dispensing spectacles and assisting with contact lens fittings and supplies.

They can also detect certain eye abnormalities, provide non-prescription eye drops for certain conditions (like dry eyes) and assist with a referral to an eye specialist.

An OPHTHALMOLOGIST is a medical doctor who specialized in eyes to become an “EYE SPECIALIST”. They provide a full eye examination in order to diagnose and manage all eye conditions.  Their treatment can include prescribing medications (eg. for glaucoma), providing laser therapy (eg. for diabetic retinopathy) or doing surgery (eg. for cataracts).


While ophthalmologists are trained to care for all eye problems, some take a special interest in a specific sub-speciality area  –  like retinas, or refractive surgery, or strabismus (among many others).  They sometimes receive additional training in order to take care of more complex cases or specific conditions in certain areas of the eye.

Like ophthalmologists, some OPTOMETRISTS also has certain specific areas of interests and sub-specialities like contact lenses, sports vision or low visual aids.

Your sight depends on seeing the right eye doctor at the right time so it’s important to know the difference between your eye care professionals.