Optometrist vs Optician – what’s the difference?

Optometrist vs Optician – what’s the difference?

Posted on 30th March 2016

We are often asked about the significance of the word ‘optometry’ in our practice title and hope the following information may help to explain.

You may be surprised to know that there are three main types of optician:

1. Manufacturing opticians grind lenses to a prescription, usually in a factory environment and fit the final lenses into spectacle frames sent in from an optical practice.

2. Dispensing opticians work in an optical practice and advise people on which frame and lenses will give the best optical performance bearing in mind their individual prescription. They are often involved in the business side of an optical practice.

3. Ophthalmic opticians carry out eye examinations to determine the correct lenses best suited to satisfying that prescription. They also look for signs of ocular or systemic problems. Where they have taken significant extra training, ophthalmic opticians are able to write NHS prescriptions and able to treat common infections and inflammatory conditions. Ian, Gillian and Claire have completed this training and have the prescribing qualification.

Since no-one uses, or can even spell, ophthalmic optician, we are all universally referred to simply as opticians. You will appreciate ophthalmic opticians want to differentiate themselves from opticians so that the public know which practices are qualified to carry out the full range of eyecare services.

In the USA and Australasia the word is optometrist – and they practice optometry, hence the practice name as a reflection of our qualifications and competence.


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