Optician is the term most of us use to describe our eye care professional. But there are actually three different types of eye care professional.
An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in eye care. They examine your eyes for damage and disease and carry out surgery when necessary. Ophthalmologists also prescribe and fit glasses or contact lenses.
An optometrist tests, diagnoses and corrects vision problems and issues prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses if needed.
An optician (or ‘dispensing optician’) works from prescriptions provided by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to fit patients with the right optical correction (glasses or contact lenses).
There are three things you should keep in mind when visiting an optician: check, ask and relax.
How recently your last full eye examination was & more importantly the suggested date for your next. Make sure you are in professional hands: always see a certified and registered optician. Most display their up-to-date registration certificate on their premises, but if not, you can ask to see it.
Tell your optician if you have any concerns about the health of your eyes. He or she will consult or refer you to an optometrist or ophthalmologist if needed. It’s their job to look after your optical health, so they will be happy to answer your questions.
If you are getting glasses for the first time, don’t worry. Opticians work closely with people of all ages to correct their sight, and are experienced at helping them make the transition to eyewear. They will give you all the advice you need based on your visual, professional and personal needs.