Opticians are healthcare professionals who are primarily responsible for assisting patients in obtaining and fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problemsJob Category:
What you will do:
Here are the key responsibilities and activities typically associated with the role of an optician:
- review and interpret prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses
- work directly with patients to help them choose frames or contact lenses that best suit their prescription and preferences
- take precise measurements of patients’ facial features, including the pupillary distance (PD), to ensure that eyeglasses are fitted correctly
- assist patients in selecting frames that not only accommodate their prescription but also complement their facial shape, style, and lifestyle needs
- ensure that the lenses are accurately ground to match the prescription
- provide maintenance, repairs, and adjustments for eyeglasses
- educate patients on proper eyeglass and contact lens care, including cleaning, storage, and hygiene practices
- knowledge of medicine
- science skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software
- medical skills
As well as:
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (adaptability skills)
- the ability to use your judgement and make decisions (leadership skills)
- thinking and reasoning skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
To become an Optician, specific qualifications are not required. However, certain subjects and skills can be valuable in preparing for a career in this field, which involves providing eyewear and vision care services. Here are some subjects that can be beneficial for aspiring Opticians:
- Sciences: Strong grades in biology and chemistry can be helpful because they provide a foundation in the natural sciences, which are relevant to understanding eye anatomy and the basics of eye health.
- Mathematics: Basic math skills are essential for performing calculations related to eyeglass prescriptions and measurements.
- English: Excellent communication skills, including reading and writing, are crucial for interacting with customers, documenting patient information, and providing clear instructions on eyewear care.
- Business Studies: Courses in business studies can provide insights into customer service, sales, and the business aspects of working in an optical practice.
- Additional Sciences: Subjects like physics may be relevant to understanding optics and the physics of light, which are concepts that are applicable in the field of optometry.
- Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing
To become a qualified Optician, you will need to complete a diploma program in ophthalmic dispensing. These programs typically last two to three years and are offered by colleges or universities that specialise in opticianry education. The curriculum includes coursework and practical training in fitting and dispensing eyeglasses and contact lenses.
During your diploma program, you may have opportunities for supervised work experience in optical practices, where you can apply your skills and gain hands-on experience.
In some countries, including the United Kingdom, you may need to register with a regulatory body, such as the General Optical Council (GOC), to practice as a Dispensing Optician.
Becoming an Optician involves a combination of education, practical training, and professional registration or certification, depending on your location. Opticians play a critical role in helping individuals achieve better vision and selecting the right eyewear for their needs.
Working Hours and Environment:
Typically you could work 42 to 44 hours a week, including evenings, nights, weekends, or holidays.
You could work in a public or private hospital.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career Path & Progression:
Some opticians choose to specialise in specific areas, such as contact lens fitting or working with low vision patients. Specialisation may require additional training or certifications.
Experienced opticians can pursue advancement opportunities, such as becoming a manager or supervisor in an optical retail setting or teaching opticianry courses at vocational schools or colleges.