Opthamologist or Optometrist?

There are so many types of physicians and specialists in the world that it can be hard to know exactly who will be the most helpful for you. And there may be a specialist out there that you didn’t even know existed!

If you’re just exploring physicians for your eyes, for example, you may get hung up on what the difference is between ophthalmologists and optometrists. Which one do you need? Though they both work with the eyes, they are different in some ways. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between ophthalmologists and optometrists so you can make a better decision about who you want to see.


An optometrist is an eye doctor who examines eyes for vision and health problems. They are able to prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision issues. Some optometrists may also provide low vision care and vision therapy, though not all will do this.

Optometrists are also licensed to prescribe medications to treat certain eye problems and diseases. Depending on the state you’re located in, they may be allowed to do more. For instance, though many are not trained to perform eye surgery, some may be able to do so. They may also help support your pre- and post-operative care if you are having surgery on your eyes.


Similar to optometrists, opthamologists also examine eyes and are able to prescribe glasses and contact lenses for you. Where they differ is in areas of surgery. Ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat eye disease, prescribe medications and also perform eye surgery.


Hold on, there’s another type of eye specialist that we have to mention. Though opticians are not eye doctors, they do help with your vision. They take the prescriptions from your optometrist or ophthalmologist to correctly fit and provide you with your glasses. They may own their own store, or they may partner with your optometrist.

Who should I see?

Generally, it’s up to you who to see for your eyes. If you are interested in specialized medical treatment, or surgery, then you will want to find a physician who is trained and qualified to give you the best advice regarding those procedures.

If you’re interested in learning more about eyes, give us a call at 781-245-5200 to schedule a consultation.

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