Optometrists are your primary care eye doctors. Doctors of optometry are trained to provide the best standards of comprehensive eye care, ranging from an assessment and review of overall eye health and visual function to providing a prescription for eyeglasses, treating eye diseases medically, or referring for secondary treatment by an ophthalmologist with surgery or drugs.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have completed a specialized residency in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of eye disorders and disease. They are secondary-level health care providers and they usually use drugs and/or surgery for treatment. A person who requires ophthalmological care (cataract surgery, for example) would usually require a referral from the optometrist or family doctor.
Opticians are technical practitioners trained through a college program to design, fit and dispense vision aids according to the prescription of an optometrist or physician. Opticians are licensed to provide spectacles, and they may also dispense contact lenses and other vision aids. However, opticians do not assess, diagnose, or treat eye conditions, nor do they determine the prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses.