An optician is a specialized practitioner who designs, fits, and dispenses lenses for the correction of vision. Opticians are professionals who make personalized eyewear for patients in need of visual correction. The optician helps decide what type of frame, lenses, etc. will be right for the patient based on the optometrist’s prescription. Whether it be a pair of single vision lenses to see at a distance, to read a book, or to build miniature figurines, the optician has to know exactly what a person needs to achieve optimal vision in all settings.
The different types of lenses, frames, and treatments, such as photochromic lenses or anti-reflective treatment, are usually not common knowledge amongst patients. The optician is there to educate the patient on what options are available for them for their next pair of glasses. From the latest in lens technology such as progressive lenses, multi-focal contact lenses or polarized and sports sunwear, the optician will know and recommend a variety of choices to the patient to allow for the best fit possible.
To better understand the person’s visual needs, the optician needs to ask personalized questions to evaluate how and why the glasses will be used. Do you need glasses to see far away? Up Close? What kind of work do you do? What are your hobbies? Opticians take the necessary steps to fit the patient with customized eyewear that helps answer these questions about their visual needs. These lifestyle questions illustrate the blueprint of what the optician needs to address with what the individual needs to be able to see, and how they are going to use their new glasses.
Certain professions, such as wood-workers, need safety goggles to protect their eyes from dust and other hazards. Office workers need special types of progressive lenses for office work to avoid eye fatigue. Some electricians may require special bifocal segments above their eyes so they can see up to the ceiling. These are some examples of the versatility a pair of glasses can have for a patient. The optician investigates the person’s lifestyle and can better understand and fit the patient with the proper eyewear for their personal needs.
With the guidance of the written prescription from the optometrist and the type of lifestyle a person has, from the numerous frames available to patients at the optical, the glasses need not only be stylish on the patient but also practical. The glasses need to be a comfortable fit and function to properly accommodate the person’s visual needs. Other responsibilities of an optician could be to inspect eyewear, fix and repair damage to frames or lenses, and properly dispense glasses to patients. The optician will do whatever is necessary to make sure the patient feels comfortable, confident and happy with their glasses.
The successful teamwork of an optometrist working together with an optician will give patients more confidence in the optometrist, the optician, their purchase and the practice as a whole!