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Optometry Definitions

This section is still under construction but will be complete shortly

Eye Care Professions:

  • Optometrists

An optometrist is a doctor of optometry or O.D. Optometrists are primary eye care providers, that perform routine eye health examinations, treat eye diseases, perform minor surgical procedures, and assist in pre and post operative care. Optometrists typically have a 4 year undergraduate degree along with an additional 4 year doctorate in optometry. 

 - To learn more about becoming an optometrist, please visit the Alberta Association of Optometrists or the Alberta College of Optometrists

  • Ophthalmologist 

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor or M.D. Ophthalmologists are physicians that specialize in advanced eye care and perform surgical procedures. Ophthalmologists typically have a 4 year undergraduate degree along with 4 year medical degree along with another 3-4 year residency. 

- To learn more about becoming an ophthalmologist, please visit the Department of Ophthalmology

  • Optician 

An optician is not a doctor, but instead a technician who is trained in the fitting and manufacturing of eyeglasses. To become an optician, candidates are required to work full time with another optician in an apprenticeship role and attend night classes, typically once every 2 weeks for 2-years. Some opticians can gain additional training in the area of contact lenses by taking another 2-year apprenticeship role. 

- To learn more about becoming an optician, visit the Alberta Opticians Association

  • Optometric Assistant

An optometric assistant is someone is assists either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist with patients in the clinic. They may perform tasks, such as book patients for eye exams, performing pre-screening tests, take case-history, and assist the doctors with patient education. Optometric assistants also perform many of the day to day office tasks, such as medical billings, and ordering office supplies. 

  • Optical Lab Technician

An optical lab technician is someone who physically grinds, cuts and fits your new eyeglass lenses into your new frame. These individuals perform very detailed work, and are responsible for duplicating the prescription given to them by your optometrist or ophthalmologist. These skills are generally learnt through hands on apprenticeships and training from manufacturers of optical equipment. 


Refractive Disorders (vision problems):

  • Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Myopia or Nearsightedness, is when an individual is unable to see clearly in the distance. Myopia is caused because either the eye is to round, or the eye is to long. This results in light being focused to a point in front of the retina. This results in distance objects being seen as blurry, while near objects are seen clear. Myopia can be treated with you the use of eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgeries such as LASIK or PRK.

  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

Hyperopia or farsightedness, is when an individual is unable to easily focus on things up close. At a young age, these individuals can generally focus on images at all distances, unless they are very hyperopic. Farsighted individuals, often complain about frontal headaches, and the inability to read for long periods of time without feeling tired. Hyperopia or farsightedness can be treated with the use of eyeglasses, contact lenses and refractive surgeries such as LASIK or PRK.


  • Astigmatism

Astigmatism is another fancy word for saying that your eye is not perfectly round in shape. Almost no one has a perfectly shaped eye, and nearly everyone has a small amount of astigmatism. This irregular shaped eye, ends up producing 2 images which are focused on your retina. As a result, the brain doesn't know which image to focus on, and it tends to focus somewhere between the 2 images, hence resulting in blurred vision. Depending on how much astigmatism someone may have, they may even report double vision or a shadow image around everything they see. Astigmatism almost always gets worse at night, and people find that they have to squint in order to see things clearly. Astigmatism can be treated with the use of eyeglasses, contact lenses and refractive surgeries such as LASIK or PRK. 


  • Amblyopia 
  • Strabismus (Lazy Eye)
  • Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a natural age change, that everyone will experience in their lives. Presbyopia is a slow loss in the ability to focus on objects at different distances. It is caused from the natural hardening of our lens structure within our eyes, a process which begins from the moment we are born. The lens in our eye grows like a tree, and each year this lens continues to grow in thickness, further increasing the work load on the ciliary muscle or the muscle responsible for performing these find focusing tasks. The lens eventually hardens over time, and in general most people begin to notice problems with their up close vision in their early to mid 40's. Presbyopia can be treated with use of eyeglasses, and contact lenses. LASIK surgery is generally not an effective means for correcting near vision. 


  • Anisoconia
  • Anisocoria

Medical Problems:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Age Related Macular Degeneration
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Intracranial Hypertension
  • Keratoconjunctivitis
  • Blepharitis
  • Meibominitis
  • Dry Eye
  • Pinguecula / Pterygium