The three different types of eye specialists:
Opticians are basically trained technicians and they cant perform eye exams, give out eye evaluation or prescriptions. The laws vary from state to state about the required training and licensing of optical technicians and national certification is optional. They are the least qualified of the three types and they specialize in preparing and fitting eye glasses or contact lenses to the prescription given to them by a doctor.
Optometrists are trained to diagnose visual problems and the various treatments to correct them. They complete a minimum three year undergraduate course and then another four-year study course at an accredited optometrical college before being certified to work as optometrists. Their certificate of profession is given by a national board of examiners. They hold the title of doctor of optometry [O.D for short] and they prescribe corrective lenses or eye glasses.
The last of this list are ophthalmologists , which are medical doctors that are trained in general medicine and in total eye care. They are qualified to deal with various eye diseases and the more hum-drum corrective eye-wear, such as contact lenses and eye glasses. To reach their certification, they complete a four-year pre-med course, then another four years at a credited medical school. After these eight years they are given their medical doctorate [M.D for short] or D.O [Doctor of osteopathic medicine]. This be no means signs the end of their education . After their M.D equivalency, they must complete a one-year internship in medical training, followed by a three or four-year residency training in eye diseases. They can perform eye surgery and deal with all specialized eye conditions. Some go even further with their training and continue on to a resident period in a specialized field.