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What Does an Optician Do?

Aastha Dogra
What are the duties and responsibilities of an optician? How much does an optician earn? Read on to find the answers...
An optician is a professional who takes into account the prescription of an optometrist and accordingly, prepares corrective lenses and eyeglasses for people.
Although, in most places, it is the optometrist who provides the prescription to the optician, yet, sometimes, it is this eye care professional itself who may diagnose the eye problems of people.

Job Description

As mentioned earlier, the main job of an optician is to make corrective lenses. Before doing so, the optician takes the opinion of the people for whom they are meant into consideration. He asks them questions regarding the usage of the lenses, such as, for what all activities they would be using the glasses and how much they will be using everyday.
An optician takes note of the facial features of the people and then accordingly suggests frames which would be comfortable for them.
Thereafter, an optician takes the measurement of the person's bridge and eye size, vertex distance, length of the temple, etc., follows the information and instructions from the prescriptions of the client's eye doctor and then prepares the lenses/glasses.
As can be gathered, an optician makes sure that the glasses of a client meet all the requirements and that the frames are of the style and shape, which the client finds suitable. He sees to it that the lenses fit properly onto the client's eyes.
An optician may take up jobs like repairing lenses and frames of glasses. If a client has never worn glasses before, an optician helps him to get adjusted to them. There are opticians who specialize in making cosmetic lenses and false eyes. They offer solutions to clients who want to cover up some eye imperfections or want to enhance beauty of their eyes.
An optician advises his clients on how to take care of their lenses and glasses. He also maintains records of his clients, payments received for his work and his work orders. Thus, accounting and administration is a part of an optician's daily work.

Qualifications and Salary

To make a career as an optician, there are no specific qualifications required. However, it would help if a person is good in maths, geometry, science, can understand the anatomy of the eye, pays attention to detail and has some good interpersonal skills, as he will be dealing with clients on a daily basis.
These days, associate degrees and diplomas are available in this field, so these can be taken up to add on to the knowledge. Otherwise, most of the opticians learn through on the job training which lasts for about two years.
While working as an apprentice, a person gets trained in subjects like optical math, optical physics and mechanical equipment, which are necessary to do their job. To practice as an optician, many states in United States ask for a license as well as completion of apprenticeship of two to four years.
The American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners offer certification courses for opticians. As the technology in this field may evolve every few years, an optician should preferably opt for continuing education (CE) with these organizations and get his license renewed every three years.
At present, an optician's salary can be anywhere between $26000 to $61000. The salary varies according to the place of employment as well as the number of years of experience a professional has in the field. An optician can work for someone else or may start his own business after a few years of experience in the field.
As the craze to wear new kinds of fashionable frames and lenses increases, the job prospects of an optician become bright too. The salary is pretty reasonable and in some states, one can start working in this field, right after high school, as no further qualifications are required.