Dr. Briar Sexton joined us on February 16th to speak to us about the practice and profession of Ophthalmology.  We learned that it is one of the "3 Os" of eye professionals who help us manage our eye care and vision needs.
  • An Optician (sometimes known as a "dispensing optician") is a trained vision care technician who specializes in fitting eyeglass lenses, frames, contact lenses, and other vision correction devices. In Canada, an optician is required to be licensed by an accredited ophthalmic institute, must be registered with a provincial regulatory agency, and must possess an ophthalmic dispensing licence.
  • An Optometrist is a primary eye care provider who can conduct eye exams, write prescriptions, and treat eye diseases. Canadian optometrists require seven to eight years of training at a post-secondary institution before obtaining their professional designation as a Doctor of Optometry (also known as an OD).
  • An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is also licensed to assess vision and eye health, carry out surgical procedures, and pre- and post-operative eye care.  In Canada, medical school graduates must complete a residency minimum of five-year residency and many will continue on for an additional one to two years to specialize in a particular vision component, such as the cornea, retina, or neuro-ophthalmology (how the eyes and brain work together). Many ophthalmologists are involved in scientific research on the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision disorders and also carry out the same examination and dispensing services as Optometrists and Opticians.
Dr. Briar completed 14 years of medical training before opening her practice in Kitsilano https://briarsexton.com. She treats an average of 45 patients a day in her busy clinic with the help of her team of three staff and also teaches twice a month in a hospital-based setting.
We also learned that demand is outpacing the availability of ophthalmologists across Canada with the aging population, diseases and accidents. Over 8 million Canadians are affected by cataracts, and other more serious disorders such as muscular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, as well as concussions and other health conditions. 
Many thanks to Dr. Briar for sharing her story and enlightening us about this important area of health care and professional service.