People are often confused by the eye care field and do not know the difference between the three O's: Opticians, Optometrists, and Ophthalmologists.
Well, to put it simply:
Opticians are experts in frames and lenses. The sell and repair glasses. In some states they can also fit contact lenses.
Optometrists are doctors that are vision specialists. They deal with the function and health of the eyes. They can prescribe glasses and contacts and can treat eye disease with medication.
Ophthalmologists are doctors that are concerned primarily with the eyes and diseases of the eyes, which they can treat with medicine and surgery. They can also prescribe glasses and contacts.
The American Optometric Association has long known about the confusion between the 3 O's and has recently produced a wonderful video about our profession:
This video discusses how Optometrists provide a wide range of care, including:
* Detect and diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal disorders, lid disorders, and infections such as conjunctivitis.
* Prescribe medication to treat eye diseases.
* Evaluate and treat vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia, amblyopia, binocular vision problems.
* Perform minor surgical procedures such as removing foreign objects from the eye.
* Provide pre- and post-operative care, especially for glaucoma, laser, refractive, and cataract patients.
* In some instances, perform laser, refractive or glaucoma surgeries.
The video also shows how Doctors of optometry are on the forefront of advanced research into the development of new treatments for eye diseases and disorders.
* The research dollars awarded by the government through the National Eye Institute to optometrists has quadrupled in less than 10 years.
* Optometric researchers are using these funds to advance solutions in areas such as glaucoma, vision therapy and preschoolers' access to vision care.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.