Rhinelander, Wisconsin
232 S Courtney St
Rhinelander, WI 54501
(715) 365-1515

What's the Difference Between an Optometrist & an Optician? October 30, 2019

Rhinelander, Oneida
What's the Difference Between an Optometrist & an Optician?, Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Patients are often confused about the roles of eye health and medical professionals, whether an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or optician. Here’s what you should know about optometrists and opticians so you can tell the difference between them when you next need an eye exam or new glasses. 

Optometrists vs. Opticians


Optometrists are professionals licensed to practice optometry. They perform eye exams, diagnose illnesses, and prescribe corrective lenses. They aren’t medical doctors, but they’re authorized by the state to provide optical care.

Opticians, on the other hand, are not licensed to evaluate eye health or diagnose illnesses. Their job consists of matching corrective lenses to patients based on prescriptions that optometrists write. 


Opticians do not require nearly as many years of schooling as optometrists do to work in their field. Many opticians obtain certification after a one-year course or apprenticeship.

To be licensed to practice optometry, an optometrist takes classes for four years after having obtained a bachelor’s degree. They receive a doctor of optometry (DO) degree after the completion of their coursework, which allows them to apply for licensing and practice. 

Duties eye exams

In the office, optometrists regularly give eye exams and vision tests to monitor or detect illnesses. They also diagnose disease and write prescriptions for medication and corrective lenses.

Opticians can’t diagnose or prescribe. They create lenses and fit them to frames, making adjustments for comfort and clarity. Opticians and optometrists work together to provide care and corrective lenses for their patients.


At Eyewear Express in Rhinelander, WI, optometrists and opticians work together to offer comprehensive care. Their comfortable clinic has a wide selection of eyeglasses and contact lenses tailored to meet unique needs, expertly providing exams and eyewear fittings to have you quickly on your way. Visit their website to learn more about their staff, or call (715) 365-1515 to make an appointment today.

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