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It is important when looking for an eye care specialist that you find the right kind of specialist for your specific eye need(s). Not all types of eye doctors are allowed to perform eye surgeries and not all eye specialists are considered doctors. This list should help clear up any confusion over what type of eye doctor you are looking for.
Ophthalmologist: This type of eye doctor specializes in surgical care of your eyes. If you are looking for laser eye surgery, this is the type of eye doctor you should talk to. They also treat and care for diseases of the eye. In addition to undergraduate school, an ophthalmologist has attended four years of medical school, one year of an internship and three or more years of specialized medical and surgical training in the care of eyes.
Optometrists: An optometrist is an eye doctor who will provide you with complete care of your eye needs, such as glasses, contacts, and eye exams. Typically, an optometrist will recommend you to an ophthalmologist for laser eye surgery. Optometrists do not attend medical school, however they do attend undergraduate school and then four years of training at an accredited college of optometry.
Opticians: Opticians manufacture and customize your glasses or contact lenses to fill prescriptions written by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Opticians typically have a two-year technical degree.
Orthoptists: An orthoptist work with patients who have problems with crossed eyes.
Ocularists: Ocularists will make and fit artificial eyes for people.