There are several terms in the medical profession that the average people may not properly understand. Therefore, it is essential to define these terms properly to help patients make the right decisions anytime they need a medical attention.
When patients need to visit an eye clinic or hospital, they often confuse an optometrist with an optician. To help you make an informed decision when you have a problem with your vision, read more to know the definitions, job descriptions, and the differences between an optometrist and an optician.
Who Is An Optometrist?
An optometrist is a trained and licensed eye specialist that offers primary vision care. Optometrists diagnose and carry out eye tests and offer treatment. Do you have a vision problem? Visit an optometrist for test and treatment having diagnosed the problem.
Note that an optometrist is not a medical doctor; they undergo different training and have different licenses. A medical doctor who specializes in eye and vision care is called an ophthalmologist.
Whenever an eye problem seems complicated, an optometrist will refer the patient to an ophthalmologist for specialist attention.
Who Is An Optician?
An optician is a trained and licensed professional who designs and fits devices such as eyeglasses and contact lenses for sight correction. After a vision problem has been diagnosed and clearly described by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, the patient takes the prescription to the optician who designs lenses for the correction of vision problem and fits them into frames that are both functional and aesthetic according to the patient’s personal preferences.
What Is The Difference Between An Optometrist And An Optician?
Having known the definitions and job descriptions of optometrists and opticians, you may have already observed their differences. Notwithstanding, below are the differences between an optometrist and an optician.
- Job DescriptionAn optometrist tests, diagnoses, and treats vision and eye problems while an optician only designs and fits devices for the correction of sight problems.In addition, an optometrist treats diseases, injuries, and defects affecting vision or the eyes, and writes prescriptions while an optician cannot.
- EducationAlthough they may not be medical doctors, optometrists undergo a rigorous formal training program in vision and eye care, including a compulsory four years in optometry school to earn a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and three years in college before getting a license to practice on their own.In contrast, opticians may or may not be formally trained. But there are institutions like community colleges in some states that are accredited to offer associate degrees in optometry that can be completed within two years.
However, most opticians receive on-the-job training and start out as the optician’s assistants through an apprenticeship program, after which they write an examination administered by the American Board of Optometry and the National Contact Lens Examiners board before getting the license to practice as opticians.