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Information about eye care professionals
Optician carrying out an eye test on an older woman.

There are a range of professionals involved in looking after your eye health including, optometrists, dispensing opticians and other staff:


Optometrists (Opticians) are qualified professionals who are trained to assess your vision and your eye health.

Optometrists examine all parts of your eyes and can detect many eye conditions and diseases. The vision assessment that optometrists perform includes:

If you are unable to leave your home, some optometrists can provide an eye examination at home.

Dispensing opticians

Dispensing opticians are trained professionals who can prescribe and fit spectacles, contact lenses, and low vision aids.

Some optometry practices may have an Independent Prescriber (IP) Optometrists, these are optometrists who can prescribe ophthalmic medications and, if required, can provide you with a prescription which you can take to your local pharmacy.

If an optometrist detects a problem with your eyes they may be able to manage it themselves or, they may refer you to another eye-care professional eg hospital eye service.

Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians must be registered with the General Optical Council. If you wish to check the registration of an optometrist or dispensing optician, visit the  General Optical Council website.

Enhanced services

In addition to sight tests and the provision of optical appliances such as spectacles, optometrists may also be approved by the HSCB to provide enhanced services. These services may be provided if your optometrist finds signs of a condition called ‘glaucoma’, when they examine your eyes.

Enhanced services enable the optometrist to undertake additional or repeat tests to better determine the status of your eye health. Your optometrist will advise you if you require these additional or repeat tests.

Following some services you will be asked to complete a patient experience/satisfaction questionnaire.

Your feedback is important. Please complete the questionnaire if you have been given one.


More useful links

Sight care and services on nidirect