Difference between Ophthalmologist and Oculist

These terms ophthalmologist and oculist are often confused. Depending on the country, we can find that they are different professionals who treat various eye problems. An ophthalmologist is a doctor who performs the medical specialty in ophthalmology and is responsible for treating diseases of the eye, its muscles, lacrimal system and eyelids while the eye doctor is responsible for treating vision disorders. But basically these are two synonymous terms.


An ophthalmologist is the doctor who is responsible for treating eye diseases including the eyeball, muscles, lacrimal system and eyelids. Some specialize in certain parts of the eye due to the need for an early and safe diagnosis. Among these specialties are:

  • Cornea.
  • Refractive surgery.
  • Oculoplastics and orbit.
  • low vision
  • previous segment.
  • Pediatric ophthalmology.
  • Uveitis and inflammatory eye diseases.
  • Ultrasound and ultrasound.
  • Neurophthalmology and neurology of vision.

All these specialties have their own diagnostic procedures and specific treatments.


This term comes from the Latin oculus and the suffix ista, the latter indicating “profession” As the ophthalmologist is in charge of evaluating vision disorders and diseases that can develop in the eyes. They are in charge of prescribing medications, prescription glasses, performing surgeries and more.

In different countries, an oculist is synonymous with an optometrist, who is in charge of primary care for vision factors and visual health. This professional is trained in the physics of vision, in the processes of eye perception and the relationship that has with activities such as learning, leisure, work and the environment.

Assesses the focus of images, the sensory, motor and perceptual system. It can recognize and treat situations for which a patient requires visual training, preventative processes to correct visual anomalies, and can detect, but not diagnose eye diseases, which is why it refers to an ophthalmologist. In some cases they are responsible for the sale and prescription of glasses and contact lenses.

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