Licensed Opticians in British Columbia wishing to advance their education and expand their scope of practice, can do so by enrolling in training programs in the areas of Contact Lenses and Sight Testing.
Becoming a Registered Optician – Contact Lenses
To specialize in the fitting of Contact lenses, Registered Opticians must successfully complete an educational program approved by the College of Opticians of British Columbia (COBC) in the area of Contact lenses and pass the necessary certification examinations. CLICK here for a list of accredited educational institutions approved by the COBC.
Becoming a Registered Optician – Certified to Conduct Automated Refractions
Registered Refracting Opticians may conduct independent automated refractions for the purpose of assessing visual acuity according to the limits and conditions laid out in the Opticians Regulations. The results of the assessment may be used by a health care consumer to purchase eyeglasses and/or be fitted with contact lenses.
In order to be able to use this designation, Opticians must fulfill the following requirements:
- Successful completion of an accredited refraction educational program approved by the COBC;
- Successful completion of a certification examination required by the COBC; and
- Register as a Refracting Optician with the College of Opticians of British Columbia.
There are three accredited refraction educational programs available:
- NAIT/OAC: 12 week online independent study program
Offered by the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), this course is designed both as an educational resource and as a training vehicle for those provinces requiring a training pathway for automated refracting certification. Public education and safety are major themes running through all phases of the Automated Refracting Course. Topics include pre-screening format, interview protocols, recognizing elements of family/personal medical history requiring referral, documentation requirements, privacy issues, design and execution of general public education and client education programs and client consent forms, knowledge of automated refraction equipment and interpretation of results of automated refraction equipment.
- NAIT/OAC: 8 month online independent advanced study program
This Advanced Practice Sight Testing Program offered by NAIT builds on previous education, therefore, an individual must be licensed to fit Contact Lenses to be eligible for enrollment. The program contains an 8 month online theoretical component and an extensive practical component.The program explores the art and science of the refraction, including phorometry, strabismus, and muscle imbalances. Emphasis is placed on the objective refraction, orthoptics and the subjective refraction.