What Dispensing Opticians Do
Dispensing opticians help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. They also help customers decide which eyeglass frames or type of contact lenses to buy.
Opticians typically do the following:
- Receive customers’ prescriptions, which ophthalmologists and optometrists have written, for eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Take measurements of customers’ eyes, such as the width or thickness of their corneas
- Help customers choose eyeglass frames and lens treatments, such as tints or nonreflective coatings, based on their vision needs and style preferences
- Create work orders for ophthalmic laboratory technicians, providing information about the lenses needed
- Make adjustments to finished eyeglasses to ensure a good fit
- Repair or refit broken eyeglass frames
- Educate customers about eyewear—for example, showing them how to care for their contact lenses
- Do business tasks, such as maintaining sales records, keeping track of customers’ prescriptions, and ordering inventory
Opticians who work in small shops or prepare custom orders may grind lenses and insert them into frames themselves, tasks usually performed by ophthalmic laboratory technicians. For more information, see the profile on ophthalmic laboratory technicians.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition