In Summary - Dispensing Optician
The Work - Dispensing Optician
Dispensing opticians supply and fit spectacles according to the prescription provided by an optometrist (ophthalmic optician). They measure the face and features of the patient precisely, in order to place the lenses at the right angle and ensure that the spectacle frame is comfortable and stable. They then prepare detailed instructions for the technicians who make the lenses.
If any sign of injury, abnormality or disease of the eye is spotted, dispensing opticians refer the patient to a doctor or optometrist for further attention.
Dispensing opticians advise clients on the choice of spectacles, which may involve aspects such as colour vision, problems of lighting and eye safety in industry. They must know enough about the relative merits of glass, plastic, laminated, coated and reinforced lenses, to help the client choose a lens appropriate to their needs (bearing in mind their job and leisure interests). They must also understand how lenses are made and the theory underlying the prescription.
Some experienced dispensing opticians specialise in the dispensing of contact lenses, optical aids for the partially sighted, or the fitting of artificial eyes.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Verify that finished lenses are ground to specifications.
- Prepare work orders and instructions for grinding lenses and fabricating eyeglasses.
- Measure clients' bridge and eye size, temple length, vertex distance, pupillary distance, and optical centers of eyes, using measuring devices.
- Heat, shape, or bend plastic or metal frames to adjust eyeglasses to fit clients, using pliers and hands.
- Evaluate prescriptions in conjunction with clients' vocational and avocational visual requirements.
- Assist clients in selecting frames according to style and color, and ensure that frames are coordinated with facial and eye measurements and optical prescriptions.
- Fabricate lenses to meet prescription specifications.
- Maintain records of customer prescriptions, work orders, and payments.
- Recommend specific lenses, lens coatings, and frames to suit client needs.
- Instruct clients in how to wear and care for eyeglasses.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Interests - Dispensing Optician
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
You need to enjoy working with people from all backgrounds and be able to communicate sensitively with them. You also need a scientific, precise, have an eye for visual effect and have a methodical approach to your work.
You should be willing to promote sales to customers and be able to develop administrative and managerial skills.
Entry Requirements - Dispensing Optician
There have previously been no training courses available in Ireland and students had the option of studying with a British institution by correspondence or attending full or part-time courses. The association of British Dispensing Opticians ran the only recognised course.
DIT is now offering a Level 7 Degree in ophthalmic dispensing. Each year of the programme is split into two semesters. The first two years are delivered in the laboratories and classrooms at the DIT campus, Kevin Street, Dublin, and the third year is a structured work placement.
The current programme is the only one in Ireland and provides the training and education required by dispensing opticians for registration with The Opticians Board. Graduates may also practice in Australia and DIT intends to seek approval for graduates to work in the UK.
Last Updated: June, 2015
Pay & Salary - Dispensing Optician
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 33k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.