American Academy Of Ophthalmology / EyeSmart


Ophthalmologist / Optometrist / Optician

Nashville Eye Center


An ophthalmologist – Eye M.D. – is a medical doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery. Ophthalmologists' training involves 4 year of pre-medical college, 4 years of medical school, and at least 4 years of post-doctoral (residency) training in medical and surgical ophthalmology.


An optometrist receives a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and is licensed to practice optometry, not medicine. Training involves 2 to 4 years of college and 4 years of optometry school. The practice of optometry traditionally involves examining the eye for the purpose of prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, screening vision to detect certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.


These technicians are trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses, and other devices to correct eyesight. They use prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists, but do not test vision or write prescriptions for visual corrections. Opticians are not permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases.  Not everyone who fits glasses in an optical shop is a Licensed Dispensing Optician (LDO) with specialized training.  Ask before you have your prescription filled.