An eye care professional (ECP) is an individual who provides a service related to the eyes or vision. It is any healthcare worker involved in eye care, from one with a small amount of post-secondary training to practitioners with a doctoral level of education.
Ophthalmologists are “…medical and osteopathic doctors who provide comprehensive eye care, including medical, surgical and optical care.” In the US, this requires four years of college, four years of medical school, one year general internship, three years of residency, then optional fellowship for 1 to 2 years (typically 12–14 years of education after high school). An ophthalmologist can perform all the tests an optometrist can and in addition is a fully qualified medical doctor and surgeon. Ophthalmologists undergo extensive and intensive medical and surgical exams to qualify and entrance criteria to a training program is highly competitive. Some ophthalmologists receive additional advanced training (or fellowship) in specific areas of ophthalmology, such as retina, cornea, glaucoma, laser vision correction, pediatric ophthalmology, uveitis, pathology, or neuro-ophthalmology.