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Different Types of Eye Specialists


There are four different types of eye specialist. Each one has their own specific focus and duties and responsibilities. Here is a rundown on different types of eye specialists.


An optometrist is a general eye doctor. She will have trained at college for a science degree then completed at least four further years in a special school of optometry. The duties of this type of eye specialist includes;

  • Providing complete eye health care
  • Performing a range of eye examinations
  • Prescribing corrective glasses and contact lenses
  • Evaluating children’s vision
  • Treating minor eye diseases and injuries


Extensive training is required for potential ophthalmologist. This includes a four year undergraduate degree in chemistry and biology and possibly mathematics, and a four year medical degree from an accredited medical school. After graduation an ophthalmology student will then complete several years in a residency program at a university hospital specializing in ophthalmology and will specialize in medical eye treatment and eye surgery. The duties of these eye specialists include;

  • Diagnosing and treating diseases of the eyes
  • Treating eye injuries
  • Conducting ocular research
  • Performing eye surgery
  • Writing prescriptions for corrective glasses and contacts lenses
  • Instructing patients in visual therapy
  • Prescribed and administers medications relating to eye disorders


These eye specialists must have completed a high school diploma and then must complete an accredited optician course that usually lasts for one or two years and ends with a diploma or associate degree. The duties of an optician include;

  • Fitting eye glasses and contact lenses that have been prescribed by optometrists and ophthalmologists
  • Recommending frames, lenses and lens coatings
  • Grinding or reshaping lenses
  • Ensuring that eye glasses fit comfortably
  • Educating patients in contact lens care


These eye specialists treat disorders or imbalances in the muscles connected to the eyes or the nerves that activate those muscles. For example, many of their patients have “lazy eye”, or “cross eyes.” If you wish to become an orthoptist you must have first completed a bachelor’s degree in a science subject and then enter into an orthoptics program. Orthoptics training usually lasts for two years after which time a qualifying exam is taken.

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