What Is the Difference Between an Optician and An Optometrist?

Eating balanced foods, wearing sunglasses, and avoiding extremely bright lights are excellent eye care tips that preserve your vision. However, these may not always be enough to steer clear of some illnesses and eye conditions. For this reason, you may need advanced eye care services from a reliable eye care clinic. 

Before visiting any eye care clinic, you need some basic knowledge of the professional required to fulfill each role. There is a huge difference between an optician and an optometrist. Not only in terms of definition but also the roles they play. Here are the differences between an optician and an optometrist by Eyes of Texas

Optician vs. Optometrist Definition

An optometrist is an eye doctor. They are trained to examine, diagnose, and manage vision changes for healthier vision. Optometrists are not medical doctors. Rather, they offer comprehensive eye care services ranging from sight correction, disorder diagnosis, and much more.

On the other hand, opticians are technicians who design lenses to improve the patient’s vision. They’re not eye doctors, meaning that they can’t give eye exams. Instead, opticians fulfill the prescription your optometrist gives you. Opticians are the first option people seek whenever they face vision problems. They also spend more time with patients in their clinics, developing the solutions to the patient’s vision problems.

Optician vs. Optometrist Roles

Opticians and optometrists serve different roles in eye care. Each professional receives different training. As a vision care patient, one must determine whether to visit the optician or the optometrist based on the challenges they face. Here are the roles played by an optician and optometrist.


Most opticians work in optometrist offices or a physician’s office. You may also find some opticians in eyeglasses, contact lenses, and visual aids stores.

  • Checks on the lens prescriptions from the optometrist
  • Stocks a variety of optical products and lenses to ensure that the customer’s needs are met
  • Takes the facial patient’s optical area measurements
  • Educates the patient on when and how to wear glasses
  • Advise customers on the most suitable glasses designs to wear
  • It helps the patient choose the right frame designs


Optometrists often work in their own offices. Some may also work in doctor’s offices or stores that sell optical goods, lenses, contact lenses, etc.

  • Provides primary eye care services such as eye exams and vision testing
  • Diagnosis, management, and treatment of eye diseases
  • Writes the patient’s eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions
  • Diagnosis and treatment of eye problems such as nearsightedness and farsightedness
  • Prescribes medication if the state laws allow
  • Provide patient care after eye surgery – e.g., examining the patient’s eyes after surgery
  • Promote eye care by educating and counseling patients on how to maintain good eye health, for instance, by quitting some daily habits (e.g., smoking)

Optometrists and opticians work towards the same goal – safeguarding your eye health. However, choosing the right person for the job may present a challenge. Technically, an optician is no better than an optometrist, and the optometrist is no better than an optician. The choice varies by the patient’s needs.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing the right eye healthcare provider for your condition begins with research on possible solutions. Opticians are an excellent choice whenever you need new contact lenses, eyeglasses, or frame repair. Optometrists, on the other hand, provide solutions for more advanced eye conditions.

Here’s what to look at when choosing an optometrist or optician.

Qualifications and Experience

Qualifications and experience are the first things you need to look at when choosing an optometrist or optician. The more advanced the qualifications, the more likely you’ll receive top-quality eye care services. Optometrists undergo longer training than opticians (including a doctor of optometry degree and optional additional training). On the other hand, opticians undergo a shorter degree (1-2 years) while others get a certificate or diploma.

Consider Visiting Someone Recommended by Friends and Family

Consider asking your family and friends about their best experiences with optometrists. A recommendation from a friend or relative counts as a vote of confidence. 

Trustworthy Clinic

There are several eye care clinics, each with a reputation to protect. To pick out a reliable optometrist or optician, look at the customer reviews. A clinic with many good reviews is more likely to provide better services than a clinic without reviews. Patients love sharing their stories so, by reading through the testimonials, you may get a good picture of what the clinic offers and how they do it.

Don’t wait too long to visit an eye care clinic because this gives your condition ample time to develop into a more serious problem. Whenever you spot any issues with your eyesight, visit an optometrist or optician for a more reliable solution.

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