When it comes to eye care, it’s essential to understand the roles and responsibilities of various eye care professionals. Opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists play distinct but equally vital roles in maintaining our vision health. Let’s dive into the differences between these three eye care specialists and explore how they contribute to our overall eye health.


Opticians are highly skilled professionals responsible for fitting and dispensing eyeglasses and contact lenses based on prescriptions provided by optometrists or ophthalmologists. Their primary role is to ensure that the eyewear is accurately crafted to meet the specific needs of each patient. They work closely with customers, helping them select the right frames and lenses that suit their preferences and prescription requirements. Opticians are instrumental in translating the doctor’s prescription into actual eyeglasses or contact lenses, ensuring precise vision correction.


Optometrists are eye care professionals who have a bachelor’s degree and have also completed four years of training to obtain a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. They specialize in primary vision care, diagnosing and treating various eye conditions and refractive errors. During an eye examination, optometrists assess visual acuity, eye health, and refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. They are authorized to prescribe corrective lenses, eyeglasses, and contact lenses to improve vision. Optometrists can diagnose, manage and treat many eye conditions and diseases for example, Cataracts, Diabetic Retinopathy, Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma to name a few.  Optometrists refer patients to ophthalmologists for specialized treatments or surgery when necessary.


Ophthalmologists are medical doctors specializing in eye care and surgery. They have completed medical training, including four years of medical school and a residency in ophthalmology. As eye surgeons, ophthalmologists can perform complex surgical procedures to treat various eye conditions.  Apart from surgery, they diagnose and treat eye diseases. Ophthalmologists are also qualified to prescribe corrective lenses, similar to optometrists.

In summary, opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists each play vital roles in the realm of eye care, but their scopes of practice and levels of expertise vastly differ. While opticians focus on dispensing eyewear, optometrists provide primary eye care and prescriptions, and ophthalmologists are specialized eye surgeons. Collaboratively, these professionals ensure that our visual health is maintained, and any eye-related issues are addressed promptly and effectively. Regular eye exams from optometrists and ophthalmologists, along with the expertise of opticians in crafting corrective eyewear, contribute to the well-being of our eyes and overall quality of life.

A routine physical at your doctor’s office checks your physical health. Similarly, eye exams by your eye doctor assess your eye health and ensure you have the correct prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses

Eye exams can detect a wide range of vision problems and eye diseases, some of which may have no obvious symptoms. Scheduling time for eye health examinations in Stoney Creek is as essential as physical examinations. But how long does an eye exam take?

An eye exam can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the type of exam and tests performed.

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

Eye exams can detect common eye conditions and diseases in their early stages to help prevent them from worsening and protect your vision. These can include refractive errors and other conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration

Your eye doctor will also check for signs of health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol that can affect your eyes.

A comprehensive adult and senior eye exam can include various tests based on an individual’s history, symptoms, and risk of developing eye diseases:

Your eye doctor may conduct additional testing based on your results or discuss a treatment plan for vision problems.  

A senior woman getting her eyes checked at our optometry in stoney creek.

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How to Prepare for an Eye Exam?

Typically your eye doctor will discuss your health, medical history, lifestyle, and preferences before your eye exam. You don’t need to prepare for an eye exam, but here are some points to remember:

  1. Make a list of any symptoms or concerns you have about your vision. It can help the eye doctor understand what to look for during the exam.
  2. Bring your current glasses or contact lenses to the appointment, which helps your eye doctor determine if any changes are needed.
  3. If you wear contact lenses, it’s best to avoid wearing them at your appointment. 
  4. Write down any medications you are currently taking.
  5. Bring a list of any allergies or past eye conditions.
  6. Bring a pair of sunglasses for wearing after dilation, as your eyes can be more sensitive. 

The optometrists at Spectrum Eye Care are happy to answer any questions or concerns when you book your upcoming eye exam