Eye Matters
May 7, 2013

Who does what in SVG?

Many persons, including well educated professionals are still unaware, if not very vague on the difference between the three types of eye care providers. The Ophthalmologist, the Optometrist and the Optician. The vast majority of persons still admit to not knowing, remembering or even understanding this difference. The confusion usually arises because all the eye care providers have at least one thing in common. They all sell eye glasses. Here is a table that helps explain this, including who is who and who does what in St Vincent and the Grenadines:{{more}}

The Ophthalmologist has the degree Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and provides both primary and secondary eye care. He/she has completed four to six years of medical school and at least three years, (often more), of residency and internships, relating to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the eye, including surgery. Some Ophthalmologists subspecialize in treating very specific eye problems. These include the treatment of retinal and corneal diseases. Ophthalmologists may also perform intricate surgical procedures, including removal of cataracts with intraocular lens transplants and various repairs and therapies, some of which utilize lasers. They can provide vision examinations and may dispense contact lenses and eyeglasses.

The Optometrist provides primary eye care. He/she does a three to four-year non-medical program (OD). In other words Optometrists are not medical doctors. The doctorate refers to the study of Optometry. The course of study includes basic anatomy and pharmacology and specific courses relating to understanding the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eyes and vision system. An Optometrist can examine your eyes and related structures for health and vision disorders and prescribes and dispenses spectacles and contact lenses and eye exercises. In some regions, optometrists may treat minor eye ailments. Optometrists refer medical and surgically related diseases to the Ophthalmologist, such as eye infections, glaucoma, cataract and retinal disorders, among other diseases.

The Optician is a person who has been trained in the skills necessary to grind and shape glass and plastic materials to the optical powers as prescribed by an O.D. or M.D. Education consists of trade school and apprenticeships. An Optician may hold various certifications and licenses, which vary by state and country of practice. An Optician is also the person who operates a facility, which dispenses eyeglasses and other accessories.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210