Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians and Orthoptists, WHO ARE THEY?

Do you know who are 4 O's people?
Can you differentiate them?
If not, let watch this interesting video. :)

Ok, I'm a 2nd year optometry student. Before this, I have known about Optician, Optometrist and Ophthalmologist. But, for this semester, I have learnt Binocular Disorder subject. For the first half of this semester, my lecturer teaches us. For the second half, an orthoptist, Madam Melanie will give a lecture on binocular disorder. She is a nice person! My classmates and I are really enjoying being in her lecture! :)

Ok, this is my first time I hear the word.
Orthoptist is a person who examining patients with eye problems especially those related to ocular motility, binocular vision, amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (squint). Orthoptists diagnose these problems and determine appropriate management. Some perform vision screening of children in schools and community health centres. (Cc: ACS Specialist Centre)

Here, I share some information with you about the other 3'O of eyes from an article from ACS Specialist Centre. 

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor, specially trained in the medical and surgical care and treatment of the eyes. Becoming an ophthalmologist can take 12 or more years of advanced education and training. Ophthalmologists must complete 5 to 6 years of medical school, and 1 to 2 years of housemanship (hospital training). After that, the doctor undergoes 3 to 5 years of hospital residency to train in the medical specialty of ophthalmology.

It may seem surprising that a doctor would require so much training to treat such a small body part. But when we consider how important vision is to us all, and how complex and delicate the eye is, it is not so surprising after all.

What Other Professionals Care For The Eyes?
People commonly confuse ophthalmologists with optometrists and opticians, but there are important differences among them. The main difference is that, unlike ophthalmologists, neither optometrists, orthoptists nor opticians are required to study medicine like doctors. Because they do not have a medical training or background, optometrists, orthoptists and opticians provide only limited forms of eye care.

Optometrists (Bachelor of Optometry) attend 3 to 4 years of tertiary education, where they are trained to examine the eyes to determine the presence of a limited number and type of vision problems and certain problems related to eye movement. Optometrists primarily prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. In USA, optometrists are given the title of "Doctor of Optometry" which leads to confusion when they practise in Malaysia because of the title "Doctor" in their certificate. A "Doctor of Optometry" should not be confused with the true medical doctors. Optometrists do not prescribe controlled medications nor perform eye surgery as they are not medically trained.

Orthoptics is a three-year full-time degree course (but not in Malaysia). Orthoptists now spend the majority of their day assessing, diagnosing and managing patients with eye muscle disorders. Traditional orthoptic exercise programs are still employed when appropriate. Orthoptists work closely with ophthalmologists to ensure that patients with eye muscle disorders are exposed to a full range of treatment option Orthoptists serve patients of all ages, but because of the nature of many binocular disorders, the majority of patients are children.

Opticians are individuals who are trained to design, verify, and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses, and other devices to correct eyesight. Opticians are not trained to diagnose or treat eye diseases, but when they do suspect a medical eye problem they should refer the patient to an ophthalmologist.

In contrast to optometrists, orthoptists and opticians, ophthalmologists are medical doctors who can examine the eyes in relation to the general health and condition of the whole body. The ophthalmologist is the only once of these three professionals who is qualified as a medical doctor to diagnose all eye diseases and to prescribe or perform medical and surgical treatment of the eye.

In Malaysia, we have a popular ophthalmologist, Prof Dr Muhaya.who have done LASIK to many patients. She is Malaysia's leading Ophthalmologists and Motivational Speaker. I love her! :)

For more information, you can visit HERE

Last but not least, as a simple explanation:

“I came back from a check-up after recent eye surgery by my Ophthalmologist.  Working for the Ophthalmologist was an Orthoptist, who checked my vision and measured my pressure for the Ophthalmologist.  I then went to get my eyes tested by my Optometrist, who gave me a spectacle prescription for the Optician to make up my new glasses” 

p/s: May Allah ease my journey, ameen..


  1. Hmmm........ Thank you for sharing, I always make confused "OPTO" theme also~ hahahaha........... so, which are you actually?? Optometrist?

    1. ur welcome, yup, i'm optometrist-to-be :)

  2. Assalam kak fatin. Can i have ur number? Bcs i want to ask more about this course :) Your help is really meaningful to me. Tq kak fatin! <3

    1. Waalaikumussalam Zawanah, awak boleh email soalan kat :)