The College of Optician of British Columbia (COBC) is the health regulatory body for Opticians in British Columbia. The role of the COBC is to assure the public that an Optician is properly trained and will serve healthcare consumers ethically and competently within a defined standard of care.

The COBC has established criteria to allow labour mobility for both nationally and internationally educated Opticians. For more information, please visit the COBC website at



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Vision Kelowna Launches Master Program

April 27, 2017April 27, 2017
VisionKelownaOn Sunday April 23rd 2017 the OAC – BC chapter hosted the Vision Kelowna Spring Educational Event, a full day of learning, brainstorming and networking that brought together a great number of Opticians who made the event a success! It was a great pleasure for the OAC – BC to have the opportunity to bring education and support closer to Opticians residing in the interior regions of BC. During the event the OAC launched the Ophthalmic Dispensing Master Program, the next level of education for Opticians, designed to further our knowledge and skills, 'raising the bar' of professionalism across the country. Professor Ed August, a world-renowned educator and presenter, thought the first four courses of the Ophthalmic Dispensing Master Program, including History & Vision Care Technology, Lens Cross, Power of Cylinder Away From Axis, and Curves. The response to the program was tremendous, as we had both newly licensed Opticians and long term Opticians share their feedback and express that it was good to be challenged during the sessions, felt that by the end they had great learnings, and further expressing their desire to partake in the full program. Vision Kelowna also set stage for Jonathon Smith, who presented – “From Design to Production”, as well as for Dr. Andrea Lasby, who presented – “Addressing the Consequences of our Connected World: Digital Eye Fatigue”. Both fantastic topics that captured the attention of the audiences, providing with learning opportunities that will assist Opticians meet the needs of consumers while providing highest quality of eye care. The College of Opticians of British Columbia was also one of the key presenter at our event, as they introduced the new continuing competency program that will be launching in January 2018. This program will further elevate Opticianry in our province, assuring the quality of the practice of the profession and promoting continuing competence among Licensed Opticians. Our event was also supported by exhibitors such as Optik K&R, Cooper Vision and CNIB, who granted the opportunity for our members to learn about their products and services. It was wonderful to see among the attendees, Opticians of various areas of expertise, and a variety of experience levels networking during the event, as their shared their knowledge and experiences. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors: OAC, Marcolin, PPG, Optik K&R, Luxottica, and Cooper Vision, for making Visions Kelowna come to life. With gratitude, Claudia Rojas OAC Director, British Columbia Licensed Optician


January 14, 2015January 14, 2015
LogoThe Risks Of Internet Dispensing Purchasing Eyewear on the Internet Online purchasing has made its way into virtually every aspect of life. In many cases, shopping on the Internet is easy and convenient and provides a quality, reliable service. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The attraction of buying prescription eyewear over the Internet is that it may be faster or cheaper than visiting an optical store. But at what cost? Buying prescription eyewear is not like shopping for books or clothes. In British Columbia, Licensed Opticians are regulated and guaranteed to be highly trained, follow a standard of care, ethical and accountable. Only registered contact lens fitters are legally permitted to fit contact lenses and  automated refracting opticians are legally permitted to assess visual acuity. The information provided refers only to those circumstances where prescription eyewear is purchased over the Internet from someone who is not authorized to dispense – that is, from someone who is not a Licensed Optician, Optometrist of Ophthalmologist. Purchasing prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses from someone you do not know brings with it a range of risks. Some of these risks relate to the health of the eye (e.g. improperly fitted contact lenses can cause injury to the cornea) and some relate to the effectiveness of the eyewear (e.g. eyeglasses with lenses that do not match a patient’s eye measurements can impair vision). Improperly fitted eyewear can interfere with your ability to see, causing impaired depth perception, blurred vision, falls and other accidents, and worsened near or far-sightedness. The following is just a partial list of the risks and problems posed by Internet dispensing:
  • You have no guarantee that you are dealing with a Licensed Optician, Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. Vision care via the internet may be and sometimes is provided by inexperienced people who are not members of one of the regulated health professions.
  • Internet sellers may not be professionally responsible, leaving a Licensed Optician, Optometrist or Ophthalmologist to deal with the cleanup - upkeep, maintenance and troubleshooting - of online eyewear purchases. Licensed Opticians have the ability to recognize health issues dealing with the cornea and to refer a patient to another health professional before any serious harm can come to the eye. Licensed Opticians are also trained to take proper anatomical measurements, make appropriate initial and ongoing adjustments to eyewear, and to perform thorough pre and post-assessment of contact lenses to ensure vision health and safety, comfort, peak performance and clear accurate vision. You cannot get this kind of care over the Internet.
  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses need to be fitted to each individual patient based on measurements of the eye and face. This also cannot be done over the Internet.
  • Improperly fitted eyeglasses and contact lenses can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. These side effects can also prove dangerous if you are in a situation such as driving, carrying glass or hot beverages, handling machinery and so on.
  • Contact lenses are “medical devices” regulated by Health Canada. When you purchase contact lenses over the Internet, you may get a product that does not meet Health Canada’s requirements for safety, effectiveness and quality.
  • You may get a product that has been recalled due to safety concerns.
  • You may get a counterfeit product (e.g. a lower-quality product that is falsely labeled as being a higher-quality brand).
  • You may receive a product that has not been stored properly. Contact lenses need to be protected from freezing and heat. When you order contacts over the Internet, you do not know where the product has been stored or for how long.
  • You may receive a product that has expired. Contact lenses have an expiry date, after which it is not necessarily safe to use the product.
  • Internet dispensers may not be professionally accountable
  • Prescription eyewear is not “one size fits all”, Licensed Opticians are front line, regulated health care professionals who serve as public educators on eye care issues including disease prevention and detection and are trained to answer patients’ questions on a broad range of eye care issues, from dry eyes to corrective surgery. Licensed Opticians determine what kinds of lenses and frames are required based on a patient’s prescription, needs and individual circumstances. Licensed Opticians also receive training in eye health problems and may recognize an issue that should be treated by an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist.WHEN YOU PURCHASE PRESCRIPTION EYEGLASSES OR CONTACT LENSES, YOU ARE MORE THAN A CONSUMER – YOU ARE A PATIENT.Of the five senses - sight, sound, smell, touch and taste - the brain relies first and foremost on sight to provide essential information. The ability of the brain to assess and evaluate situations, determine courses of action and debate the risks associated with specific courses of action are determined, in part, by its ability to understand the images transferred from the eye. Only Licensed Opticians, Optometrists and Ophthalmologists have the necessary knowledge, skill, judgment, and accountability to dispense eyewear safely and competently. Beyond any doubt, poorly dispensed eyewear can be detrimental to your vision. It is critical that patients deal only with regulated eye care professionals who will ensure that their eyes, and their vision, remain healthy and protected.

Eyewear Incident Report