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Ophthalmologist, Optometrist or Optician?

Many people find that they become confused when trying to determine the differences between eye care specialists. It doesn’t help that the specialties all begin with the letter “O”.

Opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists all provide eye care but they have very different training levels and functions within the healthcare community. Seeking eye care in Orange County does require some basic knowledge about each specialty to ensure that people see the right eye care specialist for their needs exactly when needed.

Click the links below to view find the right care:

Our Founders, Ophthalmologist, Optometrist

Wondering who to call?

When in doubt you can always call one of our Orange County locations and simply ask who you should see. Let us know what your issue is and we will direct you.


As a brief summary; an ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has gone on to become certified as an eye specialist who is licensed to perform eye surgery and treat eye diseases. An ophthalmologist is also trained to test vision and prescribe corrective lenses. While an ophthalmologist can do everything, they work with other eye care specialists who take care of routine and initial eye care matters.


An optometrist is not a medical doctor but has received four years of specialized eye care training in addition to a bachelor degree at an accredited university. Their specialized training covers sight testing, correcting vision problems, diagnosing and treating certain eye diseases. An optometrist is a doctor of optometry and uses the designation OD after his or her name.


An optician is also not a medical doctor. An optician is a skilled technician trained to design and fit glasses and contact lenses and to verify that the prescription is correct. They must complete a certification program lasting one to two years. An optician is not licensed to diagnose or treat eye diseases but trusted with ensuring prescribed vision correction is done exactly as directed by the optometrist or ophthalmologist treating the patient.

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Comprehensive eye care team

At Azul Vision, we are proud of our team of eye care specialists, which includes ophthalmologists and optometrists. Patients can confidently know that their total eye care needs are being met at a location local to them, whether they live in Orange County or Los Angeles. All eye care related services are provided, from annual state-of-the-art eye exams, to the most complex retina surgery and everything in between. It can be a little confusing to understand the difference between these two specialties and what they both provide.

What follows is a description of the differences and similarities in both specialties.

More on Ophthalmologists

An ophthalmologist is a medical or osteopathic doctor who has undergone three or more additional years of residency training at a hospital for a total of seven or eight years. During this time, intensive training is focused on medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases including retina surgery, glaucoma and all other forms of eye surgery. An ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and perform surgery and can also provide routine eye care. They are required to stay current on the latest standards of care by attending courses related to their license. The term eye surgeon would apply to an ophthalmologist, but an ophthalmologist doesn’t only perform surgery.

Many ophthalmologists go on to train in sub specialties to further their knowledge in specific areas. Some of these are pediatric ophthalmology, glaucoma, cataract and refractive surgery and ophthalmic plastic surgery. Our eye doctors have comprehensive training in cataract surgery, LASIK, PRK, refractive lens exchange surgery as well as the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Some of our eye doctors specialize in one or more of these conditions not only providing world class care for our patients, but contributing to the field of eye care by participating in research projects and teaching others.

Ophthalmologists are the most highly trained of all eye care specialists and can do anything connected with eye care from vision exams on up to complex retina surgery. As their skills are better used in treating complex eye diseases or in performing LASIK and other delicate eye surgery, we schedule routine eye care among our Orange County optometrists. They are skilled and licensed to perform complex eye exams and to prescribe corrective care. As well, they can diagnose and treat certain eye diseases and work hand in glove with our ophthalmologists to ensure our patients get the best eye care available anywhere in the OC.

More on Optometrists

An optometrist is a highly trained eye care professional specializing in detecting eye diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration as well as examining the eyes to detect defects in sight. It is the task of the optometrist to prescribe corrective lenses and to refer to an ophthalmologist those who have been diagnosed with an eye condition potentially requiring eye surgery. They also are able to treat and monitor some types of eye disease.

Training in optometry is stringent. Applicants to optometry school must have completed a four year undergraduate program and have a bachelor’s degree. Once admitted to optometry school, they must complete a four-year program to earn their Doctor of Optometry degree. They are then entitled to use the initials DO after their name. Many of the optometrists at Azul Vision have completed additional residencies in other specialties such as geriatric eye care, pediatric eye care or in treating ocular disease. There are continuing education requirements that must be met to keep their licenses current. This ensures that patients are treated to the current standard of care as defined by the state licensing board. Get your eyes checked today by some of the top optometrist today!

Best Optometrist Orange County

Our Orange County Optometrists & Ophthalmologists

At Azul Vision we are proud to attract top-level optometrists to our team of eye care professionals. Our patients appreciate the convenience of seeing both their optometrist and their ophthalmologist in one Orange County location.

Our team of ophthalmologists and optometrists has many sub specialties allowing the patient access to a world-class specialist familiar with their problem. Whether it is a doctor who specializes in retina corneal transplants, cataract surgery, intraocular lens replacement or LASIK, we are confident that Orange County residents have eye care second to none.

Contact Azul Vision Today!