Ophthalmologist, Optometrist, Optician. Do You Know Which One You Need?

Photo Credit: Starck Ting

All three of us in our family need corrective lenses, and quite honestly we’re all blind as bats.  Both my husband and I have been wearing glasses since we were young kids, so when our daughter needed glasses when she was eight years old it wasn’t a surprise to us at all.

We go to the ‘eye doctor’ every year for eye care check-ups…and yes until recently I always just called him the ‘eye doctor’ because I never knew which of those similar yet different words of ophthalmologist, optometrist or optician, he actually was.  

When we first moved here, we actually first started looking for an eye doctor in the Yellow Pages.  When we move we’ll probably Google one, or use Angie’s List or something like that.  But here’s the deal, say your visiting Boston, walking the Freedom Trail and you trip and fall, smash your glasses and need an eye doctor do you Google: ophthalmologist Lynn MA?  Well maybe…maybe not. Here’s why:

An ophthalmologist cannot only give you a complete eye care checkup and dispense your prescription for corrective lenses, but they also went to school to do actual surgery on your eyes.  They are actually phyiscians with a medical degree. 

Optometrists on the other hand, can you give you the whole eye care health checkup and also write that script for your glasses or contacts, but they aren’t physicians.  They are still called doctors though, which I suppose for me is where the confusion was until I researched the differences.  They don’t get that MD after their name, they get an OD.

Opticians just fit and order your glasses with the prescription your ophthalmologist or optometrist wrote for you.  Think Pearl Vision, or where you can get glasses at the store fronts in Walmart or Target.  We’ve actually used a variety of opticians in the past, but with our current insurance program it’s just as easy for us to get our glasses or contact lenses directly from our optometrists office.

I’m glad I researched what each one actually does, because with all three of us depending completely on our corrective lenses for seeing, finding eye care professionals is travel preparation when we go on vacation.  I try and have a list of opticians with us when we travel, just in case we need to make a visit to get a new pair of glasses in case ours break or are damaged (and trust me that’s happened before, even when packing a back up pair!).  I also find out which ophthalmologists and optometrists our insurance covers and note their names in case we’d need their services when out of state.  I’m kind of paranoid like that!

This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own.

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