Opticians are highly skilled eye care professionals who undergo rigorous and extensive training. They interpret written prescriptions from ophthalmologists (medical doctors) and optometrists (non-medical eye care professionals) to determine the specifications of ophthalmic appliances necessary to correct a person’s eyesight. They design and dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses, low vision aids and prosthetic ocular devices. Some registered Opticians also design and fit cosmetic shells and artificial eyes, grind lenses and design and manufacture specific spectacle frames and other devices needed by their clients.
Many Opticians in B.C. have received specialized training and are able to sight test and, based on the results, determine the power for corrective lenses for their clients eyeglasses. These Opticians are registered as Refracting Opticians.
As with other health professions, candidates in Opticianry must pass specific certification and educational criteria to demonstrate that they are qualified for the profession. The education requirements for Opticianry are based on determined learning outcomes as established by the College of Opticians of British Columbia (COBC). The education and training for Opticians is more in-depth and extensive than optometrists in areas where the two professions provide the same services to the public.
Registered Opticians are required to follow strict Standards of Practice as outlined by the COBC and maintain continued competence through a continuing education quality assurance program.
What is an Automated Refraction?
An automated refraction (sight test) is a quick, safe, and accurate way for individuals who wear glasses to check their vision before purchasing a new pair of glasses. An automated refraction, however, is not an eye health exam. While the automated technology is very accurate at measuring an individual’s visual clarity and determining the power of corrective lenses, it is not intended to identify underlying eye health problems that may affect vision that are more likely to be found during an eye health exam. Therefore, individuals with underlying health problems or eye-health risk factors need to have an eye health exam, which includes having their eyes dilated to examine the retina, having visual field tests, and eye pressure tests.