Difference between Optician and Optometrist

June 21, 2016 by Editorial Team

Do you need an eye exam, and upon looking up names on the Internet you have come across these two types of doctors: optician and optometrist? They seem similar, but what if there is a difference between them and only one can help out with your particular issue? So which type of eye doctor should you choose?


Optician vs Optometrist

Optician is the term used for the practitioner who designs and supplies the corrective eyewear for adjusting the vision. Opticians are medical technicians. Their job also involves designing the eye prosthesis for cosmetic purposes in the case of people who have lost an eye, for example. They get to create and design special lenses and frames and make the necessary adjustments patients need to feel comfortable and to be able to see properly.

Optometrist is the term for the healthcare professionals who perform eye exams and vision tests which lead to the prescription of corrective eyewear. Eye exams can be performed out of hospitals and other such medical units and can be done solely for the purpose of establishing whether the person suffers from refraction errors such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, for example. Apart from prescribing the right type of corrective eyewear, optometrists can diagnose a small range of other types of eye problems and prescribe the proper means of correction or medication. Their medical training involves four years of optometry after the completion of college.

Optician vs Optometrist

So what is the difference between optician and optometrist?

First of all, an optician is a technician, whereas the optometrist is a healthcare professional with a degree in optometry. The optician must fit and design the corrective eyewear the optometrist prescribes, after properly evaluating the corrective needs of the patient. The optician cannot administer eye exams or set a diagnosis, but can perform vision tests to check the acuity of the glasses and lenses of the patients.

Comparison Chart

Is a technicianIs a healthcare professional
Designs/provides the corrective eyewearPrescribes the type of corrective eyewear needed
Cannot diagnose eye problemsAdministers eye exams and vision tests