Contact Lens Dispensing Permit Program About the Profession - Scope of Practice

An "optician" means a person, other than a physician, optometrist, therapeutic optometrist, or pharmacist, who is in the business of dispensing contact lenses. Before an optician may dispense contact lenses in Texas, the optician must obtain a permit from DSHS.

What is the difference between an optician, an optometrist, and an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor with extensive training who specializes in medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system and in eye disease and injury prevention. Ophthalmologists are primary health care providers who perform eye examinations and prescribe any necessary treatment, including eyeglasses, contact lenses, and medications.

An optometrist is a doctor of optometry trained to perform eye examinations, diagnose and treat certain disorders of the eyes, and prevent eye disease and injury. Optometrists are primary health care providers who prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses.

An optician is a health care provider who fills prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses and dispenses eyeglasses and contact lenses to consumers upon written instructions from an ophthalmologist or optometrist.  


Contact lens dispensing--The fabrication, ordering, mechanical adjustment, dispensing, sale, and delivery to the consumer of contact lenses prescribed by and dispensed in accordance with a prescription from a licensed physician or optometrist, together with appropriate instructions for the care and handling of the lenses. The term does not include the taking of any measurements of the eye or the cornea or evaluating the physical fit of the contact lenses, unless that action is directed or approved by a licensed physician.  

Contact lens prescription--A written specification by a licensed physician or optometrist for therapeutic, corrective, or cosmetic contact lenses that states the refractive power of the product and other information as required by:

    (A) the physician or the Texas Medical Board; or

    (B) the optometrist or the Texas Optometry Board.

Last updated January 29, 2014