Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist

Both are eye doctors, but they have different levels of training and areas of expertise. This is why it is necessary to understand the differences between the two to ensure that you seek the right doctor to do the job.

What is an Optometrist?

An Optometrist is an eye care professional who has earned a degree in Doctor of Optometry (OD) and provides eye exams and medical eye care but does not perform eye surgery.

What does an Optometrist do?

Most optometrists in Canada provide the following services:

  • Does complete eye exams
  • Identifies, cures, and supervises vision problems and eye infections
  • Prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Conduct contact lens fittings and follow-up exams

Also, some of them may commit their method to a specific type of eye care.

Let’s say an Eye Doctor that specializes in children’s vision and vision therapy, they are called Pediatric Optometrist. Some may concentrate on sports vision or giving care for patients with visual disabilities or low vision.


Ophthalmologists are eye care specialists, also considered medical doctors (MD) who identify and cure all eye diseases, conduct eye surgery, and prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses.

They do all the services an OD provides, plus they have complete training in the medical care and treatment of eye health problems. They are licensed to conduct eye and vision surgery.

Which Eye doctor to pick

Aside from routine eye exams and contact lens fittings, most patients select an OD because of the following reasons:

  • The training of OD focuses particularly on vision and routine eye care. This is why most patients choose Optometrists as they don’t need the Ophthalmologist that provides specialized eye care or eye surgery.
  • The availability of Optometrists is likely to be more extended geographically than Ophthalmologists that are usually more accessible in large population centers.
  • You will need a referral from an Optometrist or GP with your eye history before seeing an Ophthalmologist to be able to receive Medicare benefits for a consultation.
  • Most of the Optometrists and Ophthalmologists services are at least offered by health insurance. But in case you don’t have optical extras included in your health fund, a routine eye exam conducted by an Optometrist is likely to be more affordable than an eye exam provided by an Ophthalmologist.

When to visit an Optometrist?

Visit an Optometrist if you need:

  • A vision screening or test
  • A comprehensive eye exam
  • An assessment on an eye injury
  • Follow-up care after eye surgery

Or If you notice a sudden or significant change in your vision, seek care from an eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) instantly.

Eye Exams For Children

At Oscar Wylee Canada, we provide eye exams for children at certain store locations. Contact your local Oscar Wylee Canada stores for more details.


It is recommended that children have an eye exam around the age of 3 and just before starting school, also if you have a family history of poor eyesight or notice any signs that may indicate your child has difficulty seeing clearly.


Please check our Eye Exam Info to know more about Eye Exam for Children.

What makes Oscar Wylee Optometrists stand out from other Optometrists

At Oscar Wylee Canada, we have a passion for helping our customers maintain their eye health while showcasing their own way. This is why our loyalty to you is comprehensive eye examinations with the help of our qualified optometrists inside our retail locations.

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