An optician is an individual who is trained to dispense and adjust vision correction products, such as glasses and contacts. Unlike ophthalmologists and optometrists, opticians are medical doctors. Still, the work performed by opticians plays a critical role in helping individuals maintain and improve their vision.
Opticians are educated through trade schools or apprentice programs to expertly craft corrective eye glass lenses. They have the skills and the tools needed to grind and shape materials, whether it be glass or plastic, so that each lens possesses the optical powers needed by the individual wearer. An ophthalmologist or optometrist is needed to determine the appropriate prescription, but an optician is the person who actually creates the corrective device.
In addition to physically creating glasses, opticians may also run the eye-glass shops and stores where people can purchase their glasses and contacts. Opticians help people to select the type of corrective eye wear that will be best for them. Some individuals, such as younger children, require eye glasses that can withstand rough handling. Teens and adults may consult with an optician to learn about the responsibilities of using contact lenses. Opticians help ensure a proper fit, verify that the lens prescription is behaving as it should, and provide guidance on any cleaning, storage or care supplies that may be required to ensure lasting success with the corrective eye wear.
Some opticians are licensed through the American Board of Opticianry, although licensure is not a requirement in all fifty states.