People, including healthcare providers, too often confuse optometrists with ophthalmology and opticians. Although the work involved with these three careers is closely related, their field of activity is quite specific.
Optometrists provide almost 80% of all eye care in Canada. We are university trained doctors who detect, manage, and appropriately refer diseases of the eyes. We provide most prescriptions for eyeglasses, contact lenses as well as for treating eye diseases, and we also make and sell eyeglasses and contact lenses. If you do not require surgery, then, like the vast majority of Canadians, you eye health as well as other eye care and eye wear needs are fully met by a visit to your optometrist.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in treatment of diseases and surgery of the eyes. Often, ophthalmologists have a particular interest and only specialize in the diseases and surgery of retina or cataracts or other eye diseases. Most ophthalmologists do not specialize in providing prescription eye glasses or contact lenses.
Opticians are trained technicians graduated from a non-university community college, who sell eye glasses and contact lenses as prescribed by either an optometrist or ophthalmologist.