picture of woman trying on glasses

About Opticianry

The following definitions and items of interest are from The Opticians Association of America.

What is an Optician?

An Optician is a vision expert; a health professional specially trained to supply, prepare, and dispense optical appliances through interpretation of written prescriptions. An Optician is an integral part of the vision care experience that adheres to exacting standards in order to enhance your vision.

What is the difference between an Optician, Optometrist, and Ophthalmologist?

Optician: A professional in the field of finishing and fitting eyeglass lenses, frames, and contact lenses. An optician turns your doctor's prescription into the glasses or contact lenses you need to make your vision the best it can be. An optician may also dispense low vision aids and artificial eyes.

Optometrist: A Doctor of Optometry is trained to examine eyes for vision problems and to diagnose and correct vision problems through eyeglasses, contact lenses, other optical aids or exercises. After an eye examination, an Optometrist provides a written prescription which you may take to your Optician.

Ophthalmologist: An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor, who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of eyes and related systems. An Ophthalmologist may prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to improve vision or medicines or surgery to restore eye health. Ophthalmologists provide a written prescription after an eye examination which you may take to your Optician.

What is the Guild of Prescription Opticians?

Established in 1926, the Guild of Prescription Opticians (Guild) is governed by a code of ethics that requires its members to maintain the highest level of professional opticianry, thereby protecting the consumers' interests; meet the high standards of the Guild to ensure that efficiency and service are always provided; furnish a source for eyecare products and services, independent of those prescribing for eye care needs; promote the conservation of human eyesight; supply only the finest quality optical products and services, representing the state of the art of opticianry; and participate in and encourage continuing education for eye care professionals.

The Opticians Association of America's "Title Protection Act for the Profession of Opticianry Resolution"

Whereas, the title Optician is widely used by persons in the field of opticianry, without legitimate credentialing of any kind; and

Whereas use of the title Optician by non-credentialed personnel misleadingly creates an unwarranted presumption of competence to the unknowing and unsuspecting public; and

Whereas consumers have the right to expect competent service and delivery of competently crafted eyewear products that are functional to their needs; and

Whereas the inappropriate use of the title Optician discredits conscientious professional Opticians who validate their expertise at the state and national level by obtaining and maintaining credentialing that attests to a minimum basic competence, now therefore be it;

Resolved that use of the title Optician shall be reserved exclusively to and for persons who have - at a minimum - successfully passed either the American Board of Opticianry or National Contact Lenses Examination basic competency exam or substantially equivalent state examinations, and be it further;

Resolved such credentialing shall be maintained, attesting to an ongoing effort to maintain competence and professionalism, by wearing an appropriate and visible name tag in performing the duties of opticianry and/or contact lenses applications as appropriate.