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Guide To Opticians


Although most people will say they have an appointment with an optician for their eye test in actual fact they will probably have an appointment with an optometrist. But thatís okay because it is optometrists who are qualified to carry out eye tests to check the quality of your sight, whilst opticians on the other hand are skilled at fitting and selling eye wear to those who need them.

There are around 10,000 registered optometrists working in the UK today and in most cases they work in a private opticians practice, however there are who are based in specialist eye hospitals or hospital departments. Optometrists are trained to examine eyes, test sight, offer advice on visual problems, and prescribe glasses or contact lenses to ease the problem. They can also recommend other eye treatments that may help you, such as laser eye surgery, and they can refer you to an eye surgeon if necessary.

When choosing an optometrist be sure to check for the letters FCOptom and MCOptom after their name as this indicates they are a member of the General Optical Council and therefore adhere to the councilís high standards of clinical practice.

If you have already had an eye test and need a pair of glasses then you should consult an optician, who can advise and recommend the right lenses and frames for you. There are currently around 5,000 qualified opticians working in the UK and you can find an optician near you by using our listings guide. An optician, or dispensing optician as they are also referred to, take into account your lifestyle and vocational needs to help you find the right pair of glasses or contact lenses for you. Like optometrists, opticians should be registered with the General Optical Council, whilst their representative body is the Association of British Dispensing Opticians

In addition to optometrists and dispensing opticians you can also seek advice and medical care for your eyes from an ophthalmic medical practioner, who is a medical doctor trained to carry out eye tests and prescribe glasses. If you suffer from an eye disease then you will probably be referred to an ophthalmologist, who is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease and mainly works in eye hospitals and eye departments in hospitals. Finally, if you suffer with a problem to do with the movement of your eyes then you should see an orthopist, who generally work alongside ophthalmologists at an eye hospital. They are specially trained to treat problems relating to the movement of eyes and the inability of eyes to work together.

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