Types of Eye Doctors

It may interest you to know that there are different types of eye doctors in the field and they all perform different tasks. Our eyes are very delicate, and any issues with them shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is why several individual take years to train in the business of eye treatment.

There are different types of eye doctors in the medical field and an appointment with an eye doctor may require you to see an ophthalmologist, an optician, or an optometrist. Each category of eye care practitioner is trained and experienced in different ways and can provide various services.

This article examines the connections between professionals in the field of eye care. It also addresses other eye care physicians’ positions, including medical assistants, nurses, and technicians.


An optometrist is a different type of eye doctor that performs eye examinations to detect and diagnose vision changes. An optometrist is responsible for the primary care of the eyes. 

Their services include from eyesight examination and correction to diagnosis, management, and treatment of vision anomalies.

It takes no less than four years of post-graduate studies to get a degree in optometry.

Optometry practice involves the following:

  • Carrying out eye tests
  • Performing vision tests
  • Detecting any abnormalities of the eye
  • Designating and supply of corrective lenses
  • Medication prescription for specific eye defects
  • Conducting specialized surgical operations
  • Provision of visual recovery

All optometry board specifies the medications or services that an optometrist may provide in the United States. Also, optometrists practicing in some states in the US can prescribe schedule II drugs, including opioids like Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, and Hydrocodone.

Only five states permit optometrists to carry out a procedure known as “foreign body removal.” Oklahoma, Alaska, Kentucky, and Louisiana are states that allow optometrists to perform laser eye surgeries.

An individual may check the appropriate regional optometry boards to determine the list of things an optometrist can do in a given state or country.

An optometrist is often easier to reach than an ophthalmologist. It helps to know if an optometrist can attend to your eye needs before consulting with an ophthalmologist.


Another type of eye doctor is an optician who has been qualified as a technician to develop and to provide the following visual support:

  • Contact lenses
  • Lenses and frames of eyeglass
  • Additional eye-fixing devices

Opticians make use of prescriptions provided by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to confirm a required visual aid. However, they are not qualified to diagnose eye disorders and aren’t permitted to treat eye diseases.


An individual needs to go to medical school to become an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists will undergo medical training for at least eight years. They are licensed to prescribe medications and perform surgeries after they have become certified.

An ophthalmologist can provide the same health care as an optometrist to correct visibility problems, including administering and modifying glasses and contact lenses. Furthermore, ophthalmologists can also, however, perform the following:

  • Diagnose and manage all eye complications
  • Carry out eye surgeries
  • Undertake clinical studies into the causes and treatment of visual complications

Ophthalmologists may also find issues with their patients’ wellbeing, which are not directly linked to the eye but are noticeable in a regular eye inspection. In this case, the eye doctor will advise you to visit your medical doctor immediately.

Ophthalmologists are specialized physicians, but some of them may select subspecialty. They may choose to continue their training and education in a particular field of surgical or medical eye care.

Other areas of ophthalmology include the following:

Cornea specialist

The cornea is the translucent and protective eye layer. It functions as a mirror to filter light into the eyeball. Corneal disorders including dystrophy and keratoconus can be diagnosed and treated by a corneal specialist.

Operations such as refractive operations and a corneal transplant can also be performed by corneal specialists.

A corneal specialist can also be consulted by individuals with a damaged cornea or complicated contact lens fittings.

Retina specialist

The retina is the thin tissue that covers the back of the eyeball. It is responsible for absorbing light and transmitting visual signals to the brain.

Retina experts can diagnose and treat diseases linked to the retinal. This could include the surgical reparation of scratched or separated retinas.

Also, retina specialists can treat complications of the vitreous. This is the gel-like material in the eyeball.

Glaucoma specialist

Glaucoma specialists are trained to treat eyes affected by glaucoma. This condition is characterized by the build-up of fluid in the eye. The excess fluid pressures the eye and damages the optic nerve.

Neurology specialist

Ophthalmologists whose subspeciality is neurology are known as neuro-ophthalmologists. This specialty area deals with visual complications related to how the eye transmits information to the muscles, brain, and nerves.

Some eye conditions that neuro-ophthalmologists can treat and diagnose include:

  • Double vision
  • Vision loss
  • Optic nerve complication
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Irregularities with eyelids
  • Unbalanced pupil size

Pediatric specialist

Children suffering from eye complications and other eye conditions are attended to by a pediatric ophthalmologist.

The following are some eye conditions a pediatric specialist can treat:

  • Eyes misalignment
  • Differences in vision between both eyes
  • Uncorrected refractive errors

Plastic surgery

Ophthalmologists whose subspecialty is in plastic surgery can restore trauma to the eyelids, bones, or any other composition around the eye. They may also deliver injections to enhance the appearance and function of tissues around the eye.

Other eye care professionals

Ophthalmologists often need additional assistance from the following:


Registered ophthalmic nurses received additional eye care training. These healthcare professionals may administer medications and help in the office.

Some trained nurses that specialized in ophthalmology are usually a hospital or clinic administrators.

Medical assistants

An ophthalmic medical assistant may execute a range of tests to assist during a procedure or an examination.


Technicians or technologists are specially trained to assist an eye care practitioner with composite tests and operations.

For instance, an ophthalmic photographer uses cameras and photography to record the eye condition of a patient.


The three popular eye care practitioners are opticians, ophthalmologists, and optometrists. Technicians, nurses, and medical assistants are also trained to assists these eye specialists.

Depending on the region or country in which they operate, optometrists may provide various services. Certain optometrists may conduct certain laser eye operations, while others may only perform the removal of foreign bodies.

An eye care specialist must be contacted to ensure that the eye or vision condition is adequately cared for.