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The Three O’s. Who do you need to see?

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Let’s talk about the three O’s. That is Opticians, Optometrists and Ophthalmologists.

Toronto Medical Eye Associates is an optometry/ophthalmology clinic that prides itself on great collaborations between specialties, and the ability to enhance health care delivery with our mission for excellence in eye care.

It can be confusing at times about who to seek care from in light of advancements in education, skillsets, experience and scope. There can be a lot of confusion as to what each one of these individuals does. In North America the common definitions for each of these professions are:

An Optician

Is certified and licensed to dispense and sell prescription eyewear. In some states and provinces, they are also trained and authorized to fit and dispense contact lenses

An Optometrist

Has earned a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and has the educational background and training to provide a thorough comprehensive assessment of the visual system and the health of the eyes. Optometrists can choose to practice in a primary care modality or specialize in a specific area related to the eyes. For example, I chose to focus on eye disease management and treatment (e.g. dry eye disease and glaucoma), including eye emergencies. I refer to my other Optometry colleagues who specialize in areas such as binocular vision, low vision or specialty contact lens fittings. Where surgery is warranted, or I have diagnosed an advanced medical condition (e.g. such as a tumour) I refer to the next O: the Ophthalmologist. Optometrists are also involved in a patient’s pre and post-operative surgical care.

An Ophthalmologist

Has earned a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and has the educational background and training to work as specialists and surgeons in eye disease. Ophthalmologists can choose to focus on specific areas whether it be cataract and refractive surgery, glaucoma, retina, neuro-ophthalmology, and more. Patients typically require a referral from their Doctor of Optometry to obtain an appointment for an advanced medical or surgical treatment (e.g. cataract surgery or neuro-ophthalmology consultations).

Your Optometrist is your entrance into a comprehensive eye evaluation and will refer you for further care when needed. I am fortunate to have cultivated wonderful professional relationships with great ophthalmologists in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) so I may follow through on my mission for quality care when I refer my patients.

We are here for you.

Written by Dr. Rana Taji

Dr. Rana Taji has been in clinical practice since 2010. She practices full-scope comprehensive care, with a particular emphasis on ocular disease management and treatment. Prior to practicing in Canada, she worked at a large ophthalmology clinic in Northern Virginia for 5 years, enjoying full scope of practice while also serving as a clinical sub-investigator on several FDA clinical trials.

More Articles By Dr. Rana Taji

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  • 1333 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 343
  • North York, Ontario M2J 1V1

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