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 Encyclopedia - Optician

What does a dispensing optician do?
What duties does an optical laboratory technician perform?

An optician fits, designs, and dispenses optical appliances, including frames and lenses for eyeglasses as well as contact lenses and other optical devices. To create the optical appliance, the optician follows a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. A qualified, well-trained optician supplies eyeglasses and contact lenses that fit and work well as opposed to those that are uncomfortable and cause problems.

The qualifications of an optician may vary considerably from state to state, depending upon certification requirements. In some states, no training or experience is required in order to be called an optician, while other states require up to 3 years of specialized education and an examination for a license.

What does a dispensing optician do?

Opticians can be either dispensing opticians or optical laboratory technicians. Most dispensing opticians work in stores or in practices that sell eyeglasses, while optical laboratory technicians work in laboratories. If the practice has its own laboratories, it may employ both categories of opticians, or the practice may have opticians who are trained to both assist patients and work in the laboratory to manufacture lenses.

A dispensing optician interprets your prescription from an eye doctor and then helps you select frames, lenses, and lens coatings that fit your particular lifestyle. When the frame selection and fitting is complete, the optician orders the necessary ophthalmic laboratory work and, when the glasses are delivered, adjusts the finished eyeglasses. An optician is also responsible for adjusting, replacing, and repairing frames and other ophthalmic devices.

In some states, opticians may also fit and dispense contact lenses under the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Most opticians are trained to instruct patients on the use and care of contact lenses.

What duties does an optical laboratory technician perform?

Optical laboratory technicians cut, grind, edge, and finish lenses, according to the specifications provided by dispensing opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists. They may also insert lenses into frames to produce finished glasses.

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