People who lived in previous centuries who had trouble seeing street signs, reading small print, or suddenly had horrible eye pain, would have visited an oculist. This was a doctor who dealt with eye disorders.
The root word, oculus, is Latin for “eye.” Oculist is actually a rather out-dated and old-fashioned term. Now, the more popular names for these kinds of doctors are ophthalmologist and optometrist. Ophthalmologists deal with more serious problems and diseases. Optometrists address less serious issues, perform vision tests, and prescribe corrective lenses.