Optometrist? Ophthalmologist? Optician? It can be a little confusing knowing whom to see, especially for your child's first eye exam. Generally, you should chose an eye care professional based on the type of care your child needs.
Here's a basic overview:
Optician: This is an eye-care professional who has been trained to make and fit eyeglasses and to instruct clients in the use of eyewear and contact lenses. They are not eye doctors and do not perform eye exams, nor do they prescribe glasses or contact lenses.
Optometrist: Also known as a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), this is a licensed eye care professional who has been trained to diagnose and treat vision problems. They can perform eye exams, diagnose and treat eye conditions, and prescribe glasses and contact lenses. Optometrists must receive four years of training and be licensed in order to practice. Optometrists sometimes work in optical stores run by opticians.
Ophthalmologist: That word is a mouthful, but basically, this is a physician who specializes in medical and surgical eye care. Typically, an ophthalmologist completes four years of medical school and follows that up with specialized training in surgeries of the eye and general eye and vision care. Like an optometrist, they can examine the eyes, diagnose and treat eye conditions, and prescribe glasses, and contact lenses; however, the ophthalmologist can also perform simple and complex eye surgeries.Read more about it here.