When it comes to any aspect of your child’s health, seeing the right professional at the right time is important. Eye care is performed by a range of different types of medical professionals, each with a different amount of training and expertise.
An optician is the most limited type of eye care professional. An optician’s duties involve filling prescriptions, repairing and adjusting lenses and frames, and taking measurements. Your child will not receive a diagnosis or treatment for eye disease or condition from an optician.
An optometrist provides primary vision care, conducts regular eye exams, and asses vision changes. This type of doctor can test and correct your child’s vision and diagnose and treat conditions such as astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. Additionally, an optometrist can prescribe medications for some diseases. An optometrist completes four years of optometry school and can undergo additional, specialized training.
An ophthalmologist provides the full scope of eye and vision care, including more complex conditions. In addition to prescribing and fitting glasses and lenses, an ophthalmologist can also diagnose and treat eye diseases and even perform plastic surgery for things like drooping eyelids. This type of doctor does everything an optometrist can do, but with special ability to perform surgery and practice medicine. An ophthalmologist completes eight additional years of training, and many of these types of doctors have additional specialties that require separate training and are typically involved in scientific research for eye diseases and disorders.
When choosing the right kind of eye professional for your child, it is important to choose the right one for the issues your child is experiencing. If there are any noticeable problems or conditions, an ophthalmologist may be best. Keep in mind that all types of eye and vision professionals can work together to provide care, and you might be referred back to a different professional once a condition is controlled.