Health Career Center

Dispensing Opticians

Dispensing opticians fit, choose, and customize contact lenses and glasses after receiving prescriptions from optometrists or ophthalmologists. After reviewing prescriptions and taking into account their clients’ facial features and other relevant factors, dispensing opticians make recommendations about lenses, frames, and lens coatings to them. To fit glasses, dispensing opticians utilize diagnostic technology to measure the curvature, width, and thickness of clients’ eyes. Likewise, dispensing opticians examine and verify prescriptions and review clients’ prescription history when updating prescriptions.

Dispensing opticians write work orders that provide ophthalmic laboratory technicians with necessary details, so they can grind and insert lenses properly. Details about prescriptions, size, color, style, and materials are listed on work orders. Many dispensing opticians perform much of the work themselves, which includes tinting lenses. Once glasses are manufactured, dispensing opticians review these lenses to ensure all specifications have been met. They also bend and reshape lenses for customized fit orders.

Education and Training
Most companies prefer hiring dispensing opticians who’ve earned associate’s degrees in opticianry, but those with high school degrees can qualify for entry-level jobs. Aspiring dispensing opticians should complete college classes in trigonometry, algebra, anatomy, physics, and obtain computer experience. Completing these courses will prepare those interested in this field to learn the skills, math, and science to successfully execute their duties.

Community colleges and some colleges and universities offer dispensing optician training programs.

Job Outlook
Job growth for dispensing opticians is projected to increase at an average rate until 2018. Demand will be spurred by aging populations and increased demand for glasses and contact lenses. Qualified dispensing opticians should enjoy good job opportunities.

Job growth in this industry is projected to increase by 13 percent through 2018. Middle-aged and elderly individuals heavily rely upon corrective lenses. As the elderly population continues to grow and people live longer, dispensing opticians will remain in demand.

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