Eye Clinics Are Not All the Same

As they are driving down the street running errands, sometimes a person might be reminded that they need to go to an eye clinic here in Austin.  Perhaps their eyes have been bothering them in some way.  They might be driving past an eye clinic and wonder if they should call that particular clinic.


To choose an eye clinic, the first thing a person has to notice is what the clinic calls itself.  If the sign just says optician, then there is not an eye doctor on staff.  An optician is only licensed to fill prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists.

Opticians fit eyeglass lenses into frames, design frames, and fit contact lenses to correct a person’s eyesight.  They make sure that the prescription is sitting in the correct place within the frame in order for the person to see properly.

So, if you already have a prescription, all you need is an eye clinic that has an optician.


Most people will want to find an eye clinic where they have an eye doctor called an optometrist.  An optometrist specializes in correcting vision and routine vision care.

An optometrist performs vision tests and examines the eye.  He decides on what refraction needs to be made so that a person can see better through glasses.  In addition to prescribing how lenses should be made, an optometrist also monitors the health of the patient’s eyes.

Diseases like diabetes can affect the eyes, so the optometrist checks these eyes regularly.  High blood pressure and high cholesterol also harm the eyes. An optometrist can diagnose and treat these effects on the eye.  Some optometrists are also able to perform some eye surgeries.

If the place you are driving by says optometrist, then you know that this is the right eye clinic of Austin.


An ophthalmologist has a great deal of additional training over and above what an optometrist has. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is licensed to practice medicine and surgery.  They can diagnose and treat any diseases or conditions.

Some ophthalmologists choose to specialize in a particular area of eye care.  They serve a fellowship in areas such as pediatrics, neurology, glaucoma, or plastic surgery for eye injuries.

Some eye clinics have all three kinds of practitioners on staff:  opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists.

At this sort of clinic, in addition to doing fittings for regular glasses and contacts and routine vision care, a patient will also be able to find laser cataract surgery, LASIK, treatment for dry eyes, and treatment for glaucoma.  Some complete clinics like this can also perform corneal transplants.

So, patients need to decide what is going on with their eyes before they can choose an eye clinic in Austin.  It’s always good to start with the optometrist because this doctor can examine your eyes and tell you if you need more intense treatment from an ophthalmologist.  Or the optometrist can tell you your eyes are fine and you only need glasses.