An ophthalmic dispensing optician helps patients select and fit eyeglasses. Dispensing opticians use prescriptions written by an ophthalmologist or optometrist when completing this work. An ophthalmic dispensing optician works closely with the patient to help select the eyeglass frames, lenses and lens coatings that will work best with the patient’s lifestyle.
An ophthalmic dispensing optician measures the patient’s eyes in various areas, including the distance between the pupils and the distance between the ocular surface of the eye and the lens. Using these measurements, along with discussing the patient’s occupation, hobbies and other lifestyle issues, the dispensing optician submits a work order to an ophthalmic lab technician. The lab technician interprets this information, grinds the lenses, and fits them into the frames.
If a patient has a pair of glasses already, and his or her eye sight has not changed, an ophthalmic dispensing optician can use a device called a focimeter to determine the prescription in the patient’s current glasses. The optician can then submit a work order for new glasses using these measurements. Once the glasses come back from the laboratory, the dispensing optician will test them to ensure that the prescription is correct.
When the new glasses are ready, the ophthalmic dispensing optician will call the patient back in, and fit the glasses to his or her face. The frames can be adjusted through gentle manipulation by hand or with pliers. During this fitting the dispensing optician will make sure that the glasses are comfortable and also ensure that the prescription works properly for the patient.
The ophthalmic dispensing optician can also do work on glasses that have been broken. He or she can adjust and repair damaged frames. A dispensing optician can also order replacement lenses for existing frames.
In some offices, the dispensing optician is responsible for office management as well. In cases like this, the optician must track sales and invoices and keep patient records. This includes records of what prescription a patient has, a copy of each work order, and how and when the patient paid for an order. In offices where a dispensing optician works as the office manager, additional training in business management is often provided.
Ophthalmic dispensing opticians also fit patients for contact lenses, although this requires specialized training. Proper fit is imperative for comfortable contact lenses, so the dispensing optician must be comfortable making precise measurements of the eye. The optician will also teach the patient how to insert and remove their lenses as well as how to clean them properly.