Differences Between an Optician and Optometrist

An optician and an optometrist are not the same thing when it comes to eyes, even though the names sound familiar. Learning the differences and the types of eye care professionals is important so that you can go in for the correct care you need. Although opticians and optometrists both play key roles in your eye health, their levels of training and specialty differ. Here are the main differences between an optician and an optometrist.


Opticians are responsible for everything to do with glasses, contact lenses, and all other corrective gear. They are specifically trained to help design and fit these correct devices by using prescriptions given to them by optometrists. In short, you can consider an optician the person who deals mostly with customer service and also the distribution or corrective gear. An optician is the first person most people encounter when going in for vision care and help. However, opticians do not diagnose or treat your eyes and are not trained to do so. Although opticians have less authority than optometrists do, they are still important as they interact with patients and help appointments run smoothly. Opticians are also not involved in writing prescriptions for correction.


Optometrists are licensed health care professionals who work specifically in vision treatment. An optometrist is responsible for recognizing vision changes in a patient and being able to diagnose and treat these changes. You see an optometrist when getting your regular eye exams. However, optometrists have several other important responsibilities, like assessing your binocular vision which is the eye’s ability to focus with coordination, as well as depth perception. They also look out for eye diseases that can threaten your vision, such as cataracts or glaucoma. Optometrists can help save your vision when catching an eye disease early on due to early diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to see your optometrist regularly. Lastly, optometrists write prescriptions that go to the optician. It is good to form a relationship with your optometrist in order to keep up with your eye health.