What is the difference between an ophthalmologist, optometrist, and optician?
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An ophthalmologist is a physician who specializes in care of the eyes. Ophthalmologists conduct examinations to determine the quality of vision and the need for corrective glasses or contact lenses. They also check for the presence of any disorders, such as glaucoma or cataracts. Ophthalmologists may perform surgery or prescribe glasses, contact lenses, or medication, as necessary.
An optometrist is a specialist trained to examine the eyes and to prescribe, supply, and adjust glasses or contact lenses. Because they are not physicians, optometrists may not prescribe drugs or perform surgery. An optometrist refers patients requiring these types of treatment to an ophthalmologist.
An optician is a person who fits, supplies, and adjusts glasses or contact lenses. Because their training is limited, opticians may not examine or test eyes or prescribe glasses or drugs.