Differences Between Optometrist, Optician, and Ophthalmologist

The health of your eyesight significantly depends on working with the correct eye doctor in Calgary. If you need your eyes checked, ensure to have the proper eye doctor for your needs.

There are three types of eye specialists, namely optometrists, opticians, and ophthalmologists. However, the degree of knowledge and skills that each of them possesses do greatly vary from one another. To make you well-informed, we created a brief description of each eye specialist below:


To be a Doctor of Optometry, one must finish a 3-4 year Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc.) and a 4-year Doctor of Optometry degree (O.D.). When that is finished, they must successfully pass the Canadian National Optometry Board Exam.

Optometrists provide the vast majority of primary vision care services in Alberta. They:

  • Examine, assess, measure and diagnose disorders and diseases of the human visual system, the eye and its associated structures.
  • Conduct research and promote education in the vision sciences.
  • Prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses and low vision devices.
  • Diagnose, treat and manage binocular and perceptual vision disorders.
  • Treat, manage and correct disorders and diseases of the human visual system, the eye and its associated structures.
  • Recognize and detect related systemic conditions.
  • Must maintain their skill set and level of competency by completing the requirements of the Continuing Competence Program through continuing education courses, participating in an on-site practice review on a regular basis and practicing a minimum number of days in each 3-year competency period.


They work in a retail optical dispensary. A Optician can design, fit and dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses prescribed by an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist.


Their training includes a medical degree specializing in eye surgery and secondary vision care consultations the scope of their education requires obtaining a Bachelor of Science (BSc) a 4 year medical degree and an additional 5 year residency. Typically they do not provide primary vision care services although they can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses.

We hope we have educated you on the differences between an Optometrist, Optician and a Ophthalmologist. If you require a Optometrist, contact us for more information or to book an appointment online.

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