Is a Laser Eye Surgeon an Optician, an Optometrist, or an Ophthalmologist?

In the world of eyecare, there are three main professions: optician, optometrist, and ophthalmologist. Yes, they all take care of our eyes, but they do so in very different ways. At our laser eye surgery clinic, Dr. Boyd is an experienced ophthalmologist who has performed over 25,000 procedures to date! But what does an ophthalmologist really do? And how does their role differ from other eyecare professionals? Let’s find out!

What is an Optician?

Opticians are technicians who are trained to design and fit glasses or other eyecare devices for vision correction. They use prescriptions written by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, but do not provide tests or write prescriptions themselves. Opticians are not permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases.

Prescription glasses on a shelf.

Opticians are trained to find you the best fitting glasses or other eyecare devices.

To become a licensed optician in Canada, a person must graduate from an opticianry program offered by an accredited institution. Such a program typically ranges from one to three years and prepares students to pass the National Optical Sciences Examination. Following this exam, there are some unique provincial rules that an optician must adhere to before becoming fully licensed. 

What is an Optometrist?

An optometrist provides vision care ranging from eye exams and vision tests to eyeglass prescriptions. Optometrists are also trained to detect eye problems like cataracts and glaucoma. They are not medical doctors (MDs) but they do have a Doctor of Optometry degree.

Eye test

An optometrist provides vision care ranging from eye exams to writing prescriptions.

Optometrists typically have an undergraduate degree in the sciences, followed by four years of post-graduate professional training in optometry school. Optometrists are usually the first line of eyecare specialists in the medical system. It is recommended to see an Optometrist regularly and they will determine if you need to see an Ophthalmologist. Optometrists write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in eye and vision care. They differ from opticians and optometrists in their level of education, training, and what they can diagnose and treat. Ophthalmologists are capable of:

  • Performing eye exams
  • Diagnosing and treating disease
  • Prescribing medication
  • Performing surgery

Many ophthalmologists are also involved in researching causes and cures for eye diseases and vision disorders. 

To become an ophthalmologist, a person needs to attend medical school for four years after their undergraduate degree. Afterwards, ophthalmologists complete a five-year residency program. 

Visit our Experienced Ophthalmologist for your Laser Eye Surgery

Dr. Boyd has been an ophthalmologist for over 30 years. After graduating from the University of Alberta, he completed his residency at the University of Ottawa. He obtained his American Board of Ophthalmology qualifications in 1986.

Dr. Boyd Laser eye surgeon

Dr. Boyd is a staff surgeon at Burnaby General Hospital and the chief medical director for BoydVision.

Dr. Boyd is currently the chief medical director for BoydVision and a staff surgeon at Burnaby General Hospital. He has performed ophthalmic procedures in England, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and of course, Canada. Having completed over 30,000 surgical procedures to date, he is truly an expert in the field. During your free consultation, you’ll be able to meet with and speak with Dr. Boyd yourself.

To get started, contact our laser eye surgery clinic today, and we’ll be able to provide you with the best care possible from our qualified team of experts.