Difference Between Optometrist and Optician

As long as we have healthy eyes and have no vision problems, we do not need to utilize the services of an eye doctor. It is when we face problems in vision or need to consult a doctor for our eye related health problems that we become confused as there seem to be many specialists dealing with eye care such as ophthalmologist, optometrist, optician, and so on. People are especially confused between an optometrist and an optician. They know that these two professionals deal with eyes but do not know what their qualifications are and whom to contact and for what. This article attempts to make clear the difference between an optometrist and an optician.


An optometrist is a doctor or physician who is an expert in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of eyes such as glycoma, different types of inflammations, and infections of eyes. Optometrists also prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to patients. These are doctors in a limited sense as they cannot prescribe medicines and also cannot perform eye surgeries as an ophthalmologist who is considered a full eye doctor. However, in certain states, optometrists can prescribe medications too. An optometrist is a bachelor in optometry and has the license to practice this science. He has completed 4 years of college studies in science stream and then further 4 years of specialized study of optometry. He is the professional whose services you require to get right eye glasses or contact lenses made for you.


An optician is a professional who specializes in making and fixing devices meant for eyes. These experts deal with eyeglasses and contact lenses, and they read and then prepare glasses according to prescriptions written by optometrists and ophthalmologists. They make and adjust frames, glasses, lenses etc. and also replace glasses when required. They are trained in taking facial measurements so as to make better fitting devices. They do not prescribe glasses but make glasses as prescribed by optometrists. These people receive little training and in vocational colleges or institutes. They cannot prescribe medications and cannot perform any eye surgery. However, when an optician suspects a problem, he can refer the patient to an eye doctor.

What is the difference between Optometrist and Optician?

• Optometrists are Doctors of Optometry, and they are not full eye doctors like ophthalmologists.

• Optometrists are licensed to examine, diagnose, and prescribe medications for many eye diseases and disorders. They can treat glycoma, many kinds of inflammations, and vision related problems.

• On the other hand, opticians are people adept in making and fixing devices for ophthalmic use such as lenses and eyeglasses.

• Opticians read the prescriptions of optometrists and prepare eyeglasses and lenses accordingly.

• You need to go to an optometrist if you have an eye related problem or disease whereas you need the services of an optician when the optometrist has given a prescription for an eyeglass or contact lens.

• Opticians are hired by shops selling eyeglasses and also work under ophthalmologists.