There are a number of different healthcare professionals that you may interact with when it comes to looking after your eyes, including opticians, optometrists, ophthalmologists and orthoptists. Each of these professionals has a different role in caring for eye health, explained below.
Opticians are technicians trained to design, verify and fit lenses and frames, contact lenses, and other devices to correct eyesight.
Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. An optometrist is not a medical doctor. The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) is the professional representative body for the vast majority of practising optometrists in the country, you will find more information on their website here.
An ophthalmologist, also called an eye doctor, is a medically trained doctor who has undertaken further specialist training and study in the human eye. In the Republic of Ireland there are two types of Eye Specialists; Medical Eye doctors who undergo 11 years of clinical medical training, and Eye Surgeons who undergo on average 14 years of clinical medical training. The Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO) is the recognised training and professional body for medical and surgical eye doctors in Ireland. On their website you will find contact details for ophthalmologists practicing in the Republic of Ireland who are members of the ICO. The directory is searchable by county, by first and last name or by first initial of surname. You will also find a number of useful resources on eye health and information about managing disease. For more information please visit their website here.
An orthoptist is an allied health professional involved in the assessment, diagnosis, and management of disorders of the eye, extra-ocular muscles and vision. Orthoptists are an important part of the eye care team and work in close association with ophthalmologists, usually in a hospital-based setting. They are involved in many areas of care, including paediatrics, neurology, community services, rehabilitation, geriatrics, neonatology and ophthalmic technology.