Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine specializing in the anatomy, function, and diseases of the eye. An Eye MD is an ophthalmologist - a doctor of medicine or osteopathy – who specializes in eye health and vision care. Eye MD's are trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses to complex eye surgery.
In addition to four years of medical school and one year of internship, every eye MD spends a minimum of three years in supervised residency training in all aspects of eye care including surgical treatment of eye conditions and diseases. Often, an Eye MD spends an additional one to two years training in a sub specialty, such as glaucoma, retina or pediatric ophthalmology.
Optometrist are involved primarily with refractive problems. Optometrists are specifically educated and trained by accredited optometry colleges in a four-year course, but do not attend medical school or go through residency training. In Michigan, they are licensed by the state to examine the eyes, determine the presence of refractive problems, and correct refractive problems with glasses or contact lenses.
Opticians are professionals who make, verify, deliver, and fit frames and other specially fabricated optical devices and/or contact lenses according to prescription for the intended wearer. The optician's functions include prescription analysis and interpretation; determination of lens that are best suited to the wearer's needs; preparation and delivery of work orders for the grinding of lenses and the fabrication of eye wear; verification of the finished optical products; and adjustment, replacement, repair, and reproduction of previously prepared lenses, frames, and other specially fabricated optical devices.
Ophthalmic Technicians help ophthalmologists collect data and measurements to allow the correct diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and problems. Their duties often include performing simple eye exams, assisting with eye surgery, and explaining diagnostic and treatment procedures to patients.
Click here to view the 'Know Your Eye Care Team' Video for more information.