Optician Optometrist, what is the difference ?
Do you need an Optician or an Optometrist for an Eye Test or Sight Test? What is the difference and who do you need to book an appointment with ?
An Optician is some one that can supply spectacles, but does not have to be trained, they usually are, however the title is not protected. An Optician can not perform a sight test or an eye test. So you have to be a little careful as to who you actually see. If you wish to have professional advise, you need to see a professionally trained person, such as an Optometrist or a Dispensing Optician. Those titles are protected and you will be sure to be seeing a fully qualified person during your appointment for your eye test or sight test in these cases.
Some Opticians have specialised to fit contact lenses, this can be done at various universities, e.g. Anglia University in Cambridge.
Independent Optician Practices:
Some Optometrists have their own name and qualifications above the practice and you are likely to be able to see that particular professional for an eye examination. However there may be other Optometrist who also practice in the same building, either employed or as a locum. So if you wish to see the same professional for your eye test or sight test every time you need to make sure you ask for that person by name.
The same issue may be the case with a Dispensing Optician, you may be able to have your spectacles dispensed and fitted by the person who’s name is above the door, or they may employ further Dispensing Opticians or assistants.
Where to study for Optometry:
To become an Optometrist you have to attend a university course, usually for three years and then complete a pre-registration year under the supervision of a fully qualified Optometrist. During this pre-registration year the nearly qualified Optometrist is assessed both by the the supervisor and by the British College of Optometrists.