Difference Between An Optometrist and Optician

Getting an eye exam at our clinic in Edmonton.

Have you noticed it is harder to read the text on your phone lately? Have you been turning on additional lights to read the labels on pill bottles? Maybe your contact lenses need to be replaced, or your frames broke. Who do you look to for assistance? Maintaining your eye health is paramount to keeping your sight well into your old age. When you are looking for an eye doctor in Edmonton, do you need an optometrist or would an optician fill your need? Understanding the differences between the two helps clear any confusion.

The Differences Between an Optometrist and an Optician - Learn More from your Edmonton Eye Care Professionals
While their functions are different, people often use the terms interchangeably. Each requires different levels of training and licensing. Here is some information to explain these distinctions:

  • Optometrist: Think of your optometrist as the general practitioner for your vision. As your primary eye health provider, they have to complete a minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree. Next, they finish a four year Doctor of Optometry degree. Finally, they have to maintain their education and licensure. Here is a generalized list of the items they will be able to help you with:
    • Examinations – They examine and measure your eyes. They can assess your vision for disorders and diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts. Learn more about different types of eye exams that we perform at our clinic.
    • Co-manage – Your eye doctor can work with other doctors and specialists to manage related conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, brain tumors, and other eye diseases.
    • Prescribe – Sometimes you need medication, and your eye doctor can write those prescriptions depending on the province you reside in.
    • Referrals – When a specialist is required, your optometrist can refer you to an ophthalmologist.
  • Optician: An optician specializes in creating and fitting eye wear. Their training includes a college programme through an accredited institute. Even though they do not have the same education as an optometrist, they provide a valuable service through:
    • Creating and Fabricating – Using the prescription from your doctor, they can make your visual aids to help you see better.
    • Dispensing Optical Aids – When you need a new set of contact lenses, your optician will get you what you need.
    • Partnering with Your Eye Doctor – An optician is an integral part of your eye health team, providing additional support to correct your vision.
Dr Rohit Bhaskar, Physio
Dr Rohit Bhaskar, Physio Hey, I am founder of Bhaskar Health and completed my Graduation in Physiotherapy from Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences. My clinical interests are in Chest Physiotherapy, stroke rehab, parkinson’s and head injury rehab.

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