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Eye care is equally important to health care. Eye care is a profession and is handled by professionally qualified group of people specializing in their own areas of service to the consumers. The 3 types of eye care providers (vary in level of training and expertise) are the Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and opticians.

Ophthalmologists :

  • Medical or osteopathic doctors.

  • Specialize in eye and vision care.

  • Differ from optometrists and opticians in their levels of training and in what they can diagnose and treat.

  • Licensed to practice medicine and surgery.

  • Diagnose and treat all eye diseases, perform eye surgery and prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.

  • Many ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific research on the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision disorders.

 

Optometrists :

  • Primary eye care providers who specialize in performing eye examinations.

  • An optometrist is not a medical doctor.

  • They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing :

  • Perform refraction on patients who are adults, children or adolescents.

  • Prescribe optical appliances such as glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.

  • Perform visual examination on patients and refer them to other healthcare practitioners such as ophthalmologist for further management if any eye abnormalities/diseases are detected.

  • Perform any other type of practice of eye care which is part of the practice of opticianry (eg. dispensing and fitting of glasses and contact lenses)

 

Opticians :

  • 3 different categories of opticians in Singapore.

  • All of them are equipped with the skills to dispense and fit glasses based on prescriptions from optometrists or ophthalmologists.

  • The 3 categories are:

Category 1

Opticians (Dispensing Only) – this category of opticians are only qualified to dispense and fit glasses.

Category 2

Opticians (Refraction and Dispensing) – This category of opticians are qualified to :

  • Perform refraction on patients who are 8 years of age or older.

  • Dispense and fit glasses to correct vision problems such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.

Category 3

Opticians (Contact Lens Practice) – this category of opticians are qualified to:

  • Perform refraction on patients who are 8 years of age or older.

  • Dispense and fit glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.

  • Provide aftercare to patients, including monitoring to detect, prevent and manage problems or complications arising from the use of contact lenses.