Do optometrists go to medical school?

People often get different medical fields confused, especially in the optometry realm. Opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists are all different, including the requirements. Let’s take a look at the differences between each profession and what the school requirements are.

What is an optician?

If you’ve ever visited a vision care store, you’ve most likely met an optician. They work directly in customer service to help customers select eyewear that fits them best. 

Opticians take measurements of different parts of your eye, including your PD. They can also interpret prescriptions that have been issued by optometrists and create eyewear orders.

There are different ways to become an optician, but medical school isn’t one of them. You can become an optician by obtaining a high school diploma or GED, or you can gain a certificate from a post-secondary school.

What is an ophthalmologist?

Surgical eye procedures typically fall into the field of ophthalmologists. They can perform routine eye exams or refill prescriptions, but their main service is performing eye surgeries. 

Because they have to know how to perform all types of in-depth eye procedures, it requires a more extensive educational background. Ophthalmologists are required to have 12 or more years of training in medical school.  

What is an optometrist?

Optometrists are the primary healthcare providers for your routine eye care. You should visit an optometrist for your routine eye exams, but they also provide other important services such as:

  • Diagnosing eye conditions
  • Prescribing medications for eye conditions
  • Issuing prescriptions for glasses, contacts, or other visual aids
  • Performing minor surgical procedures
  • Providing post-surgical eye care

Optometrists are required to complete a postgraduate program that usually takes about four years, with full-time clinical training for the last one to two years. The program includes both basic and advanced eye exam techniques, case studies, natural science courses, and more.