What is an Optometrist?


There are generally three types of eye care professionals that can help with your eye care. An optician, an optometrist and an ophthalmologist.

Opticians

An optician is not an eye doctor, and aren't qualified to give eye exams. However, opticians can help evaluate lens prescriptions, adjust and fit glasses, help you decide which lenses and frames are right for you and order eye care products. An optician often works with an optometrist. In our offices, we have opticians that help you choose your glasses and adjust them to fit properly.

Optometrists

 When people talk about going to the eye doctor for an eye exam, they usually mean an optometrist. My wife and I are both optometrists, with four additional years of study after our four-year college degrees. An optometrist can:

  • Perform thorough eye exams
  • prescribe and fit glasses and contacts
  • prescribe medicine and vitamins for eye conditions
  • treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism
  • provide vision therapy
  • provide pre- and post-operative care, including care after Lasik surgery
  • diagnose health conditions, including glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, conjunctivitis, diabetic retinopathy and general health conditions like diabetes, heart conditions and high blood pressure

At our optometry offices, we can perform retinal photography, which helps us diagnose conditions of the eye and body much earlier. By taking pictures of your retinas, we can also track changes over time. See our page on Retinal Photography for more about this extremely valuable tool.

Optometrists can also provide treatment for minor injuries of the eye.

Ophthalmologists

This type of eye doctor is usually only needed when surgery is required to treat a traumatic injury, correct crossed eyes or perform surgery on cataracts, glaucoma or other serious problems. 

An ophthalmologist has more advanced training, including a residency of three or more years and a one-year internship with an experienced ophthalmologist. While they are qualified to perform eye exams, they normally use their training for surgeries and advanced treatments.

When to visit our optometry office

Even if your vision is fine, a yearly eye exam is smart. We can often detect changes and conditions with your eyes before they become a problem, and help you evaluate your overall health, how your nutrition will affect your eyes later in life and what you can do now to prolong good vision.

As mentioned before, your eyes are more than just a "window to your soul." We can actually see signs of health problems as they develop, often before a family physician can detect them.

You might be surprised to find that your vision isn't as good as you thought. It's quite an experience to look through a pair of glasses and realize you hadn't been seeing things clearly - and it's thrilling to see leaves on trees clearly, read signs in the distance, focus on words on a page held close and not end each day with a headache from strained eyes.

We invite you to make an appointment today. Nadine or I would love to meet you, and help you maintain healthy habits.