Optician, contacts specialist and optometrist: Who is responsible for what?

11 January 2019

The optician

An optician is an eye specialist who examines how sharp your vision is (a refraction or eye test) and measures the pair of (sun)glasses. After determining the right prescription, the optician at Optiek Terhorst also checks how the eyes co-operate, the pressure and the health of the eyes. If he or she sees something unusual, an appointment will be scheduled with our optometrist for further examination or you will be referred to an eye doctor. The optician is also responsible for sharpening the glasses and is able to repair your frame. Our specialist measures the glasses for your specific needs and optimal comfort.


The title optician is an unprotected title. Unfortunately it is possible to call yourself an optician if you’re not certified. The same thing applies to a contact lens specialist. At Optiek Terhorst, your eyes will only be tested by people with at least a MBO (community college) degree in optics. Other than that we have people with a specialisation in contact lenses or certified optometrists (HBO/university of applied sciences degree). The title optometrist is a medical tile, which is why this title is in fact legally protected.

The contact lens specialist

This specialist is already an optician, but has chosen to specialise him/herself as a contact lens specialist. Examining the eyes by performing a comprehensive eye test can also be done by this person. But the contact lens specialist does more than that.

Providing advice on hard or soft lenses, night lenses and customising contacts are also tasks for this specialist. The contact specialist not only measures the strength, but also checks the health and the shape of the eyes to determine whether the eyes are suitable for wearing contacts. Over the years the health or prescription of the eyes can change. This is something the specialist checks frequently. Teaching people how to use their contacts (applying them, how to keep them clean), testing the contact lenses for the right fit and examining the strength and health of the eyes is done by the contact lens specialist.

The optometrist

This optometrist has a medical degree. Do you have any other complaints, other than blurry vision, which can be fixed with glasses? The optometrist is trained to examine where headaches, learning problems and difficulties with reading come from, if it’s caused by somebody’s vision. The health of the eyes will be tested for eye diseases and deficiencies. Checking the retina of diabetes patients and eye tests for young children from the age of eight are also done by the optometrist. If it appears that further medical examination is needed at the eye doctor, the optometrist will refer you.

To schedule an appointment with the optometrist, one does not need a medical referral anymore. The optometrist works closely with the general practitioners and eye doctors.

Opticien Optiek Terhorst

Contact us if you have any questions or to discuss your possibilities at Optiek Terhorst.