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What is an Optician?

Opticians promote eye health, and work with the public and other optical health professionals to give patients the best possible vision. They assess lifestyle requirements, such as hobbies and occupation, to figure out what kind of lenses and frames are best. Opticians can also fit and dispense contact lenses, and recommend a variety of low vision aids. Opticians do much more than just “sell glasses.”

An optician’s job is to use their knowledge and skills to improve a patient’s visual health and well-being. Opticians need to provide quality ophthalmic services and must also be honest and impartial when serving a patient.  As a result of this honesty, a patient's health and well-being always come first, and selling a product comes second. All recommendations made for glasses, contact lenses, and low vision aids should be in the interest of comfort and utility, giving patients the best visual experience.


Education

Licensed opticians go to school for two to four years to earn their title. Regulators ensure that opticians are well trained and keep their knowledge up to date by mandating accredited education and a national licensing exam, as well as requiring ongoing continuing education.

For more information, visit the Education of Opticians in Canada page on this website.


Eyeglasses

All licensed opticians may design, prepare, dispense and adjust eyeglasses and low vision aids based on an optical prescription. What this means is that while opticians do not write prescriptions, they turn prescriptions into the finished product that helps patients see. A lot of calculations and adjustments go into making glasses work properly, and opticians are trained to do it all. Some opticians also fix, adjust, and refit broken frames. Opticians also instruct patients about adapting to, wearing, and caring for eyeglasses.


Contact Lenses

Opticians may also be Contact Lens Practitioners. This means that they may design, prepare, dispense and adjust contact lenses based on an optical prescription. Only licensed professionals can fit contact lenses in Canada. Health Canada regulates contact lenses and other devices that come in contact with your eyes. A licensed contact lens practitioner also knows how to safely insert and remove your contact lenses, and can teach patients to do it properly. Eyes are delicate organs, and an optician helps protect them.


Low Vision Aids

Licensed opticians help provide low vision aids to the visually impaired, so that reading is easier and more enjoyable. Specially trained opticians will consult with visually impaired clients and choose the best combination of vision aids for that individual’s specific limitation. Devices can vary from simple hand-held magnifying lens to high-tech computerized or electronic systems.

For more information on what Canadian opticians do, visit the What Opticians Do in Every Day Practice page of this website.

 

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