All our optometrists are trained in the care of eyes and vision, including refraction (working out whether you need glasses), detection, diagnosis and, in certain cases, management of eye disease. Essentially this means they are there to check your vision and eye health and advise on the next steps.

What is an optometrist?

Much like your GP, an optometrist is a primary care provider who has specialised in detecting and correcting conditions that affect vision and eye health. They tend to work on the high street, in stores like our own, or in hospitals eye clinics

What does an optometrist do?

Optometrists undertake extensive training which allows them to test for, diagnose and treat vision problems and to detect and, in some cases, treat eye health conditions, for example glaucoma. They can prescribe glasses or contact lenses as required and deal with minor eye conditions. Using specialised equipment, they can even detect some general health conditions such as diabetes and brain tumours and refer on for specialist treatment.

How can I become an optometrist?

To become an optometrist, you’ll need to undertake a degree in optometry, there are several courses offered by UK universities. You’ll need high pass rates in A-levels or equivalent qualifications – two of which need to be science subjects. Aside from the optometry training, you’ll also need to work well with people.

Dispensing opticians, who are responsible for implementing the optometrist’s guidance on vision correction, can also retrain to be an optometrist.

What is an ophthalmologist?

Ophthalmologists are doctors who have undertaken a medical degree and continued their training to specialise in diseases of the eye and surgical procedures to treat and rectify them. They will most likely work in hospitals and clinics dealing with cataracts, glaucoma and issues affecting the retina and macula.

Is an ophthalmologist a doctor?

Yes, an ophthalmologist will have a full medical degree, but they won’t always use the title ‘Dr’. Most ophthalmologists undertake further specialist surgical training after which their title reverts to Mr/Mrs/Miss or other preferred pronouns.

What is the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

Ophthalmologists are medically trained eye specialists who can detect, diagnose, treat and perform surgery on serious eye conditions that cannot be dealt with by optometrists. Optometrists will refer patients to an ophthalmologist, having often been the first point of call resulting in them detecting something needing specialist treatment.

What is an optician?

At Specsavers we have dispensing opticians, lens and frame specialists, who have been trained to help ensure that any glasses recommended by your optometrist perform optimally. They are really important in helping you select frames and lenses that are suitable for your prescription and that you feel comfortable with.

Is an optician a doctor?

No, an optician will have undergone extensive training, but doesn’t require a medical degree for their role and therefore are not classified as a doctor.

What is the difference between an optician and an optometrist?

Often the term optician is wrongly used to describe optometrists. While opticians have received significant training, it is not to the same level as an optometrist who will have a degree in optometry.

If an optometrist, having performed an eye test, recommends glasses or contact lenses, then an optician can help ensure that any visual correction provided works optimally.

Need an eye test?

You can book an appointment with an optometrist today, or find out more about different eye conditions in our eye health hub.

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