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Optometrist or Optician: Important Differences

Sep 19th 2015 at 5:32 AM

When it comes to your eye health, there are a lot of confusing terms out there. If you're lucky, most of the time you don't have to think too much about your vision. You know that you should have it checked once a year, but beyond that, you might take it for granted. When you need glasses or contacts, or if you have other eye concerns, you probably want to know more about the best doctor to seek advice from. There are some important distinctions between an optometrist and an optician that you'll want to understand before you go in for an eye appointment. Both are valuable professions, but each has manifestly different areas of expertise.

The most important distinction between an optometrist and an optician is that an optometrist is a healthcare professional and an optician is an eyeglass technician. Different schooling and licensing is required for each.

An optician might have a college degree but is not required to. Although formalized on-the-job training is offered in some cases, many trained opticians pursue a certificate through an accredited program at a community or technical college. This course of learning may result in an associate's degree. Opticians can fill a prescription for contact lenses or glasses, are experts at making adjustments to help your glasses fit better, and usually interact at length with customers to help them find the right frames. Some have a keen eye for fashion and will know about technologies in eyewear that you may be interested in.

Optometrists, also called Doctors of Optometry or O.D.s, has completed an undergraduate education and gone on to a four-year course study at a college of optometry. Afterwards most will complete a residency. Some will specialize in identifying or treating ocular diseases and may complete a residency before being awarded with their O.D. and starting a practice. They must be certified yearly in the state in which they wish to practice and will often further their education by belonging to professional organizations.

Optometrists are licensed to perform comprehensive eye examinations. They can write prescriptions for contacts and eyeglasses and in some states can prescribe certain eye medications. They are experts in treatment of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and can also fit eyeglasses and contact lenses for vision improvement. They can also identify and diagnose diseases of the eye and, when necessary, can work with an eye surgeon to provide pre- and post-operative care to patients.

Having a yearly evaluation of your eye health is important, especially because so many factors can impact your vision. To find an experienced optometrist in the El Cajon area, click here.

Author Bio:-

Jessica is an experienced eye care specialist. You can find her thoughts at

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