The Health Professionals Involved in Eye Care
Dispensing opticians – Are qualified to fit and measure for glasses and to examine conditions that affect the outside of the eye. They are not allowed to test the eyes for glasses or to examine the inside of the eye. They are allowed to fit and supply contact lenses to a supplied prescription.
Ophthalmic Opticians or Optometrists – Are different titles for the same qualifications. This group is qualified to fully examine the eyes and to fit ands supply glasses. If there are any abnormalities or suspected abnormalities then they refer the person to their GP or directly to the hospital if it is an emergency situation. They may be ‘high street’ opticians or hospital based.
Note: If you have diabetes and you are having an eye check with an optician/optometrist, it is important that he/she carries out an eye examination with drops to enlarge the pupil so that he/she can observe more of the retina. If necessary, you should ask for this to be done, especially if you are not part of a local retinopathy screening programme.
Consultant Ophthalmologist – This is the hospital consultant to whom the GP refers people with suspected abnormalities and he/she carries out the necessary treatment or surgery.
Eye tests are free in the UK for all people with diabetes, for people with glaucoma and their close relatives over the age of 40 and for children and people over 60.