The Three O’s

Who’s Who?

In the eye care business, it’s important to know the difference between what is known as “The Three O’s:” Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Opticians.

Each of these O’s play a vital role in the health of your vision, and they all work together to ensure that your eye care is their number one priority!


An optometrist is usually your primary eye-care provider. They specialize in the examination of your eyes for both vision and health through diagnosis, prevention and ongoing management of any possible eye diseases and disorders.

Optometrists are independent health care providers with many responsibilities. They are able to prescribe medication to treat and prevent specific eye disease, diagnose conditions of ageing such as cataracts and macular degeneration, prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, and much more.


An ophthalmologist is a highly-trained medically licensed specialist. They are physicians and their expertise is in the medical and surgical care of the visual system.

As a medical doctor, ophthalmologists are licensed to deliver total eye care, perform eye surgery, prescribe medications, as well as diagnose and treat all ocular diseases and injury. They are licensed to practice both medicinal and surgical procedures.


Opticians are at the front line of vision care. They are not doctors, but they are the first people you see when you arrive at the optometrist or ophthalmologist office.

These are the people who have been educated to specialize in eye care services; they understand the technical terms and can read an eye doctor’s prescription in order fit your eyeglasses, contacts and sell other eye care items.

Who Do I Go To?

Ophthalmologists and optometrists are obligated to accomplish continuing education in order to maintain their license. This also helps them stay on top of the latest trends and information about eye care.

Optometrists and ophthalmologists work together to ensure the health of your eyes. While they are both trained to perform routine eyes exams and diagnose any issues, medical and non-medical, they are able to work in cooperation with one another.

Your best course of action is to contact your optometrist, who can then refer you to a specialist if the need should arise.

The specialist will diagnose the situation and choose how to go forth with the treatment. Once the condition is treated, the ophthalmologist will then send you back to your optometrist who will continue to monitor and treat you post-operatively.

It’s important to keep your vision as healthy and strong for as long as possible. Optometrists, ophthalmologists and opticians are all an integral part of helping you maintain your sense of sight for long and productive life.