Understanding the Different Types of Eye Doctors: What to Know Before You Go

There are several types of eye doctors, each specializing in different aspects of eye care. Here are some common types of eye doctors:

1. Optometrist

Optometrists are primary eye care providers who examine, diagnose, and treat various eye conditions. They perform comprehensive eye exams, prescribe corrective lenses (eyeglasses and contact lenses), and provide treatment for common eye problems like dry eyes and eye infections. Optometrists may also provide pre- and post-operative care for certain eye surgeries.

2. Ophthalmologist

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and disorders. They can perform comprehensive eye exams, prescribe medications, and perform surgical procedures, including cataract surgery, corneal transplants, and retinal surgeries. Ophthalmologists may also provide vision correction services and manage complex eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

3. Pediatric Ophthalmologist

Pediatric ophthalmologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions in infants, children, and adolescents. They are trained to address issues related to children’s eye health, such as refractive errors, lazy eye (amblyopia), strabismus (crossed or misaligned eyes), and congenital eye disorders. Pediatric ophthalmologists can perform eye exams, prescribe glasses or contact lenses, and provide medical or surgical treatment as needed.

4. Orthoptist

Orthoptists are specialized eye care professionals who primarily work with children and adults with eye movement disorders, binocular vision problems, and eye muscle imbalances. They assess and manage conditions like strabismus (misaligned eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye) through non-surgical treatments such as vision therapy and eye exercises. Orthoptists often work in collaboration with ophthalmologists or optometrists.

5. Ocularist

Ocularists are professionals who specialize in the fabrication and fitting of artificial eyes, also known as ocular prosthetics. They work closely with individuals who have lost an eye due to injury, disease, or congenital conditions. Ocularists create custom-made artificial eyes and provide ongoing care and maintenance to ensure optimal comfort and appearance.

It’s worth noting that there are other specialized eye care professionals and subspecialties within the field of ophthalmology. The specific eye care provider you may need to see depends on your eye condition or concern. It’s recommended to consult with your primary care physician or optometrist to determine the most appropriate specialist for your specific eye care needs.