Eye Care Specialists

There are many different types of eye care specialists. We've listed them below, along with a short description of what they do.



An ophthalmologist is either a medical doctor (M.D.) or an osteopathic physician (D.O.) who specializes in comprehensive eye care and provides examinations, diagnosis and treatment for a variety of eye disorders. Ophthalmologists are skilled in all aspects of eye care, from prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses to performing intricate eye surgery. Many also choose to specialize in one particular disease or portion of the eye (i.e., glaucoma specialist or cornea specialist).


An optometrist is a doctor of optometry (O.D.), but not a medical doctor. Optometrists can examine, diagnose and manage many visual problems and eye diseases and are specially trained to test vision in order to prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses.


An optician is a technician who fits, adjusts and fills prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.


An orthoptist is a health professional trained to evaluate disorders of vision, eye movement and eye alignment in children and adults. Orthoptists perform specialized tests to help ophthalmologists diagnose conditions such as lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus) and double vision. They may also work with ophthalmologists and patients in treating these disorders.

Ophthalmic Technician

Ophthalmic technicians assist with the evaluations performed by ophthalmologists (M.D.) or optometrists (O.D.). They perform basic tests and collect data to help with diagnosis and treatment. They may also help educate patients about medical procedures, eye care or contact lenses.


An ocularist is a technician who makes, fits and maintains ophthalmic prostheses (artificial eyes).

Although they do not test vision for prescribing glasses or contact lenses, family practitioners and general internists may medically treat some eye conditions.