Opticianry is the art and science of optics as applied to the compounding, filling and adapting of ophthalmic prescriptions, products and accessories. Opticians design, order, adjust and dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses for patients whose eyesight has been tested by a physician (ophthalmologist) or an optometrist. In Virginia, an optician
must be licensed to dispense or sell opthalmic products.
• analyze and interpret optical prescriptions to determine the required lens
• measure customers’ facial features (for glasses) or corneas (for contacts).
• help customers select the style and color of eyeglass frames and lenses.
• prepare work orders; give optical labs information needed to fabricate and mount
lenses in frames.
• verify finished lenses’ accuracy.
• adjust finished eyeglasses to fit customers.
• fit customers with artificial eyes (prostheses) or shells to cover blemished eyes.
• instruct customers on proper care for eyeglasses and contact lenses.
• fix broken frames, replace temple screws and adjust and refit glasses. Sell optical
goods such as binoculars, cameras, sunglasses and magnifying glasses.
• assist in selection of low vision aids.
Opticians may operate their own businesses, manage or work for owners of retail optical outlets, work for ophthalmologists or optometrists who sell glasses directly to patients or work in eye clinics and hospitals.
Average Salary Range
$21,000 – $40,000
Students interested in becoming opticians should take challenging high school courses in science, math and English.
Following high school graduation (or GED), there are two paths to becoming a licensed optician. Students can either complete a two-year course at an approved school of opticianry or complete an approved and accredited three-year
Opticians Association of America
7023 Little River Turnpike, Suite 207
Annandale, VA 22003
National Academy of Opticianry
8401 Corporate Drive, Suite 605
Landover, MD 20785