You must be aware of the 3 Os that are concerned with the care of your eyes. These 3 Os are optician, optometrist and ophthalmologist. However, these 3 Os are often confused with one another and the terms optician and optometrist are often used interchangeably. Similarly, there is also a lot of confusion regarding the ophthalmologist and optometrist job description. This article deals with the differences and similarities between optician vs. optometrist.
Optician job description revolves around the manufacturing and fitting of prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. Opticians are basically of three types, manufacturing opticians, dispensing opticians and ophthalmic opticians. Manufacturing opticians deal with grinding the eyeglasses, as per the prescription. Dispensing opticians deal with selling of prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. They also advise you regarding the best suiting eyeglasses or contact lenses that can give you the best vision. The third type, ophthalmic opticians have a job profile somewhat similar to an optometrist. In fact, in some countries there are no special ophthalmic opticians but only optometrists.
The job of an optometrist mainly deals with guiding people regarding proper eye care. They are also trained to perform various types of basic and comprehensive eye examinations. Eye problems such as glaucoma or any underlying medical disorder can be detected by an optometrist. They are also licensed to prescribe a limited range of drugs. Serious eye problems and surgeries can only be handled by an ophthalmologist. In fact, it is optometrist who recommends the patients to see an ophthalmologist. In short, optometrist prescribes contact lenses or reading glasses, which are then manufactured and fitted by an optician.
The educational qualifications of an optician are less rigorous and extensive, than an optometrist. To become an optician, one must complete a two year graduate diploma from an accredited university or college. Community colleges also offer courses in opticianry. After that, one must complete one year of apprenticeship or training to become eligible for obtaining a license. Some graduate schools allow their students to immediately appear for license examination. Opticians may also obtain additional credentials from voluntary certification committees or registration by the American Board of Opticianry and by the National Contact Lens Examiners.
Optometrist education requirements are more stringent and rigorous. In order to become a qualified optometrist, you need to go for a four-year postgraduate degree course comprising an exhausting syllabus. After that you are awarded the degree of Doctor of Optometry (OD). To begin practicing on you own you need to obtain a license, which also enhances your career prospects. You should also check the individual requirements of your state when you think about how to become an optometrist or starting your own practice.
Optometrists have better prospects of earning than an optician. Median salary for a qualified optician is about $41,000. However, this figure is subject to a lot of variations and the salaries in west are usually more. Even optometrist salary range is dependent upon various factors such as number of working hours, experience, expertise, location etc. If you have just begun your career as an optometrist, you should earn anywhere between $100,000 to $200,000 whereas experienced optometrist can expect to earn more than that.
Hope you are now clear with their roles and responsibilities. So the next time you want to get a new pair of reading glasses head to an optician's store while for a detailed eye exam you ought to see an optometrist.