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Eye Doctors: The Difference Between Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Dispensing Opticians

Optometrists, ophthalmologists, and dispensing opticians are all professionals who work in the field of eye care. You might hear these terms used interchangeably in daily life, however each of these professions have different qualifications, roles and responsibilities. It is important for patients to understand the distinctions between each in order to know who is the correct person to help with their healthcare needs. So what’s the difference?


An optometrist is a healthcare professional who specialises vision care. This involves the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of visual problems and eye diseases. They provide routine eye care services such as prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses, detecting and managing eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts, and providing pre- and post-operative care for patients undergoing eye surgery or LASIK.

woman getting eye exam


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specialises in eye care. This involves the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and injuries. They are trained to perform eye surgery, such as LASIK and cataract surgery, prescribe medication, and provide other medical treatments for a wide range of eye conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

Dispensing Opticians

A dispensing optician is a professional who specialises in the fitting and dispensing of eyeglasses and contact lenses. They work with the prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists. They are responsible for helping patients select appropriate frames and lenses, taking measurements to ensure proper fit, and making adjustments to eyewear as needed.

To recap, optometrists are primarily responsible for routine eye care services, ophthalmologists provide medical and surgical care for eye diseases and injuries, and dispensing opticians help patients select and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Clarity is currently hiring locum optometrists.

Find out more about the benefits and how to sign up over on our blog post here.

Posted on 30 April 2023
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