Unlike an ophthalmologist or optometrist, an optician is not able to conduct an eye exam or treat you as a patient. An optician, often referred to as a dispensing optician, is the person who sells glasses and contact lenses as well as other optical instruments to customers. To choose the best optician is more akin to choosing a good business or manufacturer, although the relationship will likely be a bit more personalized.
The first step to choosing the best optician is determining what your exact needs are, as not all opticians perform the same functions. All opticians are trained to fill a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, but some choose to receive further education in a specialty, such as outfitting artificial eyes or cosmetic shells, and focus their practice primarily in that specialty. Some opticians may only specialize in repair of glasses or frames, while others may only sell optical equipment.
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In many ways, an optician is like an artist because they need to take into consideration not only the prescription they receive, but also your occupation, lifestyle and facial features. The best optician will be able to consider all these factors to make glasses or contact lenses that both look good on you and function properly. This is why a key step in finding the best optician is looking for one with a good reputation that has a proven track record with clients.
One of the easiest ways to find out about an optician is by checking with friends who wear glasses or have contacts, as they can offer the benefit of experience. Talking to your optometrist or ophthalmologist can also be helpful it finding the best optician. If talking with friends, doctors or relatives is not enough, checking online review sites or trade magazines can be helpful. Be careful with review sites that have anonymous reviews, however, as the reviewer might work for a particular company and is posting merely to promote their work place.
After narrowing down your choices, visit several of the opticians you have selected. Despite glowing reviews from friends, doctors or family members, a particular optician or optical company still might not be the best fit for you as an individual. Talk with the optician and see if he or she is someone that you can work with in the long term. You will most likely be visiting them relatively often, so it’s important to establish a good rapport.