Opticians or Optometrists?

Optical Jargon – who am I actually seeing?

We all like to know who is actually looking after us within a business. Your visit to your local Opticians is no different and can be somewhat confusing with all the different types of people who work within a practice. Various optical jargon can be used to describe the various people that you see and processes that will be carried out. So here is an overview of various terms that you may hear and an explanation to what they mean.

Who is an Optician?

The word ‘Optician’ has been used for many years to describe staff members within a practice. But what does it actually mean and who does it refer to? The simply answer it can refer to either the person conducting your eye examination or the person fitting and measuring your spectacles. Optician is a generic name and as such will mean different things to different people. An Optometrist is the person who actually conducts your eye examination inside a consulting room. A Dispensing Optician is the person who is the lens expert who helps you pick your new spectacles outside of the consulting room. They are both professionals with special qualifications and have very important but differing roles within a practice.

Who is an Optometrist?

An Optometrist is the primary provider of vision care. They have completed a degree in Optometry and have spent a minimum of 4 years in study before qualifying. They are registered with the General Optic Council who oversee standards and codes of practice within the profession. An optometrist can examine and diagnose vision difficulties or diseases of the eye. They can test and prescribe spectacles or contact lenses and other medical treatments.

Some Optometrists choose to specialise and undertake further training and qualifications. A prescribing Optometrist can prescribe medications for the treatment of various eye conditions and has become an ‘eye GP’ in effect. Other specialities can include Paediatrics including School Vision, Glaucoma and Medical Retina including Age Related Macula Degeneration.

Please note: Anthony is a fully qualified Prescribing Optometrist in addition to being a Hospital Specialist Optometrist. Amanda is a fully qualified School Vision Childrens Specialist Practitioner in addition to her normal roles.

Who is an Ophthamologist?

An Ophthalmologist is a medically trained doctor who commonly acts as both physician and surgeon. They examine, diagnose and treat diseases and injuries in and around the eye. They typically have undertaken 5 years of study at medical school and 2 years as a newly qualified doctor. A further 7 years of specialist ophthalmic training is then undertaken before passing very rigorous examinations set by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

An Ophthalmologist generally works within a hospital setting although some will also undertake private work. A Consultant Ophthalmologist is a very experienced doctor who is an expert in clinical care, assessment and treatment of patients and is competent in a range of practical and surgical skills.

Who is a Dispensing Optician?

A dispensing optician is the primary provider of dispensing services within a practice. They are responsible for advising on, fitting and supplying the most appropriate spectacles. After taking account of each patient’s visual, lifestyle and vocational needs.

Dispensing opticians also play an important role in advising and dispensing low vision aids to those who are partially sighted as well as advising on and dispensing to children where appropriate.

They are also able to fit and provide aftercare for contact lenses after undergoing further specialist training. They typically have undertaken at least 3 years of specialist training and will be registered with the General Optical Council who oversee standards and codes of practice within the profession.

Please Note: Sara is a fully qualified Dispensing Optician and Practice Manager at Focus Medical Eye Centre.

Who is an Optical Assistant?

Optical assistants are the support staff of a practice. They have differing roles within a practice based on the needs of the practice and their level of training. The role of an Optical Assistant can range from reception and admin work through to carrying out delegated tests for the Optometrists and dispensing spectacles. An Optical Assistant generally works under the supervision of an Optometrist or Dispensing Optician.

If you have any questions or would like further information about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact the practice of info@focusmedicaleyecentre.co.uk or by calling 01323 442062.

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