They all take care of your eyes; here is an explanation of their different roles.
In Germany an ophthalmologist is a physician who has completed a degree in medicine (normally a doctorate) plus at least four years of special training at one of the major German eye clinics. This specialist training is preceded by an degree in medicine, at least two years hospital training in various specialist areas and a doctorate thesis. An ophthalmologist is highly specialised in the early recognition and treatment of eye diseases plus eye problems associated with other disorders. He or she is also responsible for prescribing appropriate optical aids - spectacles or contact lenses - and treating visual defects, up to and including surgery. Of great importance is the collaboration with other specialist doctors such as internal specialists, cardiologists, diabetes and allergy specialists, paediatricians and neurologists, making the ophthalmologist an important port of call for advice on and treatment of systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
An orthoptist assists the ophthalmologist in the treatment of defects regarding the interaction of both eyes. A major target here is the early recognition and treatment of various types of squint which, if not treated in time, can lead to weak-sightedness and considerable restrictions in patients' daily life (driving, work).
An optician is responsible for manufacturing the prescribed spectacles or lenses and may determine the required lens strength.
What does an ophthalmologist's examination room look like?