The Different Types of Eye Doctors – And Which One Will Help You Improve Your Vision

If you wear glasses or contacts, there’s a good chance you’ve visited your local eye doctor who prescribed them for you.

Whether you had a neighborhood eye doctor, or went to someone with a storefront, they all did the same thing: Sat you in that chair, asked a few “which is clearer, 1 o 2” questions, and prescribed you lenses.

But medicine for the eye goes much further than that. Below are the 3 main types of eye doctors. Find out which one will help you restore and improve your vision, and which ones will blindly prescribe you lenses, even if you don’t need them.


A regular optometrist is the eye doctor that usually has the storefront. Their training is significantly less than the other 2 I’ll mention below.

Optometrists are trained to measure the refraction of the eye by performing a simple visual acuity test. They don’t measure the full spectrum of vision. They also can identify eye diseases that can be treated topically or orally.


An ophtamologist, is an eye doctor who specializes in identifying and curing eye diseases. They are medical doctors who are allowed to perform surgery on the eye.

Like regular optometrists, they approach vision medically. They will fit lenses just like an optometrist, but they are also trained to identify eye disorders and diseases, and treat them. Of the 3 types of eye doctors listed here they are the only ones that are able to perform surgery when necessary (cataract surgery for example).

They can certainly be trusted when it comes to surgery. I have a(n older) friend who’s worn glasses for the last 25 years. He had cataract surgery performed by an ophtamologist, and he no longer needs to wear glasses.

Behavioral Optometrist

A Behavioral Optometrist approaches your vision with a holistic approach. “Holistic” meaning that they take everything into account when treating the eye.

They will prescribe eye exercises for poor vision and will walk you through the process of exercising your eyes and improving your vision.

While they will also prescribe glasses, they do it from functional approach – not to “get you wearing glasses.” They do a full spectrum of visual tests ensuring the best possible treatment for your eyes.

I remember getting prescribed glasses from a Behavioral Optometrist. He prescribed me 2 pairs:

  • One “regular” pair for driving and the classroom (I was in school at the time).
  • One reading/computer pair which was a significantly weaker prescription then the first pair.

He worked with me, ensuring that my eyes weren’t stressed, and would create the optimal conditions for vision improvement.

There are Behavioral Optometrists in most cities. Look online to find one nearest you. Your eyes will thank you!

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