Childrens Eye Care

choosing right eye doctor in lethbridge

Picking the Right Eye Doctor For Your Child

Are you wondering when you should take your child to an eye doctor for their first visit? It is widely recommended that your child receive their first eye exam at 6 months, then again at 3 years and right before starting kindergarten.

But choosing a children’s eye doctor isn’t easy. To help, we’ve outlined the three main types of eye care providers and the differences between them.


An optometrist is an eye doctor who has completed four years of an undergraduate degree and another four years to receive the Doctor of Optometry Degree.

Optometrists are trained to:

  • Treat and manage eye diseases
  • Prescribe eye-glasses and contact lenses
  • Remove foreign bodies from the eye
  • Provide low vision care and vision therapy

These eye care professionals can also specialize in specific areas of optometry such as developmental, pediatric or behavioral optometry.

An optometrist often collaborates with an opthamologist to provide the pre and post-operative care to an eye surgery patient, although they cannot perform the actual surgery themselves.


An ophthalmologist is a trained medical doctor who has earned an MD (Medical Doctor) and is the only eye care professional trained both medically and surgically to treat eye disorders including:

While an ophthalmologist can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, their primary focus is treating and managing ocular diseases.

If you or your child has a larger health concern which may be affecting vision such as diabetes or a traumatic eye injury which requires surgery, you would need to visit an ophthalmologist specifically.


A registered optician is a licensed professional trained to select, fit, adjust and dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses and low vision aids to patients.

Whether you are nearsighted or farsighted or have low vision due to more complex eye health issues, an optician is trained to help you see better.


Services Optician Optometrist Ophthalmologist
Fills prescriptions for corrective lenses Yes Yes Yes
Fits and adjusts eye-glasses and contact lenses Yes Yes No
Performs eye exams  No Yes Yes
Prescribes corrective lenses No Yes Yes
Diagnoses eye diseases (glaucoma, cataracts e.t.c.) No Yes Yes
Medical eye care for ocular diseases No Yes Yes
Surgical eye care No No Yes
Treats eye conditions related to other health issues (such as diabetes) No No Yes
Plastic Surgery (e.g. eyelid surgery) No No Yes

To learn more about which eye doctor is best suited for your child’s eye-care, contact our Lethbridge eye clinic at (403) 327-4166.

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