April 21, 2024

Optical vs Optician?

Optical vs Optician?

Walk along most high streets and as well as all the empty units you'll find an optician's practice. You might wonder why some are called, for example, Scott G Brown Opticians, whilst others are called, again for example, Scott Brown Optical. The answer might make you consider who you choose to care for your eyes.

The word optician is a protected title. Only those with BSc in Optometry at university level AND subsequently qualified in the College of Optometrists (another name for opticians) demanding professional exams are allowed to call themselves an optician/optometrist. Therefore if you want to call your practice an opticians the owner, or majority of  owners, must be fully-qualified. That might seem obvious but in fact anybody, regardless of being optically qualified or not, is allowed to own a practice testing eyes and selling glasses provided the eye tests are performed by a qualified optician. What they cannot do is call it an optician's if they are not actually a qualified optician (goodness, I'm using the word optician a lot).

Those not qualified get round this by using similar words to optician, but not that actual word. Usually they use 'optical'. That's why some establishments use optical in their title, because the owner, or majority of owners are not actually professionally qualified. We think that makes a difference because the aim of the business may be more financially-oriented than an actual optician-owned business which may be more health-centred. Not always, but perhaps sometimes.

In short, if it doesn't say 'optician' in the name, and frankly there's a lot of practices that don't, it's probably not owned by a qualified person. Perhaps that will influence your choice of eye-care provider in future.

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