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Optometrist vs Optician

Optometrist vs Optician

In Manitoba, Opticians require training, skills and experience that is different from Optometrists. Even if you have a university degree in Optometry or have worked as an Optometrist in another country, you must complete the OOM registration and licensing process to practise Opticianry in Manitoba. You may even require additional training to acquire a licence in Opticianry.




• Interpret prescriptions prepared by Ophthalmologists and Optometrists
• Discuss and recommend options to meet the patients’ visual needs
• Fit, supply, prepare and verify optical devices, including contact lenses, glasses, sunglasses, low-vision aids and prosthetic ocular devices
• Adjust, adapt, and dispense optical devices
• Instruct on the proper care, and maintenance of the optical device
• Evaluate and monitor the performance of the optical device over time


Definitions and Responsiblities of an Optician


An Optician is a licensed health care professional, who has been trained to determine in discussion with their patients the best optical device(s) that will meet their visual needs.  They interpret the Rx, design, fit, and dispense eyeglasses (includes sunglasses), contact lenses, low vision aids, and prosthetic ocular devices, etc.  They also monitor the device to make sure it continues to work properly over time.  They work collaboratively with Optometrists and Ophthalmologists.

In Manitoba there is a 2 level licensing process.  Opticians may be trained and licensed to fit eyeglasses, or they can take a further course of study and be licensed to fit both contact lenses and eyeglasses.   All Licensed Opticians must meet educational requirements and pass a national licensing examination (based on their practical skills) for each level of licensing.  In order to obtain a contact lens license you must first be licensed for eyeglasses.



  1. Eyeglasses – consist of a pair of Rx lenses and a frame.  The lenses can have several different properties, including being sunglasses.
  2. Contact Lenses – consist of either one or a pair of lenses that are designed to sit either on the cornea only (RGP), on both the cornea and the conjunctiva over the sclera (either soft or RGP, cornea-scleral) or only on the conjunctiva over the sclera (scleral).
  3. Prosthetics – refer either to soft contact lenses or artificial eyes or cosmetic shells.  Prosthetic soft contact lenses and cosmetic shells (firm) are used to cover certain eye defects, traumatized eyes, or to reduce the amount of light that enters the eye (where there is a paralyzed iris or no iris).  Artificial eyes (firm) are used to cover a removed socket.
  4. Low vision aids – used to improve vision for patients who are visually impaired.  These can range from a simple hand held magnifier up to digital or computerized systems.
  5. Rx –  is a record of the lens power the patient requires, or it can be request by the doctor to fit for a certain condition (i.e. artificial eye, Keratoconus)


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