Choosing an eye doctor is an important decision.

But if you choose a lower-level eye doctor, you might not realize it. You’ll still get glasses and contacts. You’ll still get most of the eye care that you need. There are just some things that not all eye doctors can do.

Ophthalmologists vs. optometrists vs. opticians

There are a few different levels of eye doctor that you need to be aware of.

First there are ophthalmologists. These eye doctors went to medical school, had a residency and offer complete eye services up to and including medical and surgical eye care. They’re more expensive and exclusive than other types of eye doctors most of the time because they provide more specialized eye care.

Then there are optometrists. These are widespread and are able to perform eye exams, treat basic vision conditions like astigmatism and nearsightedness, prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses and detect diseases and disorders related to the eyes.

At the lowest tier you find opticians. These eye doctors are ocular experts too, but they don’t have the level of knowledge the other two types have. They can’t give eye exams and prescribe eyeglasses or contacts. Their main role is filling prescriptions from other eye doctors.

Opticians check prescriptions, provide and adjust glasses and contacts, take facial measurements and deal with the products used in an eye doctor’s work.

Can an optician prescribe medication?

Opticians are not able to prescribe medication, eyeglasses, or contacts. They are qualified to deal with prescriptions written by others, though. They can adjust eyeglasses and contacts and help with any of the things you need in a regular eye doctor’s office—provided there’s an optometrist or an ophthalmologist there to write the prescriptions.

Whatever your needs, you need to find an eye doctor who can provide them. For most people that’s going to be an optometrist, but opticians are an essential part of many eye doctor practices.

An optician can’t prescribe medication or glasses. But they can help you with just about everything else. Here at Oklahoma City Vision, our staff can help you with just about any vision problem. Call us or visit us today and find out what sets us apart from the competition.