Eye Health

Updated 16 January 2015

Should I get my lenses from an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?

Both have long, complicated names. Both are professionals. So which one should you go to?

Both have long, complicated names. Both are professionals. So which one should you go to?

The choice is yours, really. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in eyes, while a an optometrists is trained to perform eye examinations, prescribe vision correction devices, fit contact lenses, and dispense eyeglasses.

While many ophthalmologists concentrate on eye surgery and the treatment of eye diseases, other will specialize in using contact lenses to treat the problem.

Both groups are able to provide you with the contact lenses you need. Find one you’re comfortable with and be assured that you’re in good hands.

One word of caution: many sites on the internet now offer lenses online, but a number of local eye care professionals have reservations about buying lenses online. Cape Town optometrist Daniel Venter suggests direct contact with an eye care professional and regular check-ups.


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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