Opticians' Registry About the Profession - Scope of Practice

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What does an optician do?

Opticians are health care providers who fill prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses and dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses to consumers. Opticians are also known as registered dispensing opticians and ophthalmic dispensers. Opticians may not perform eye examinations or issue prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

What is the difference between an optician, an optometrist, and an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor with extensive training who specializes in medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system and in eye disease and injury prevention. Ophthalmologists are primary health care providers who perform eye examinations and prescribe any necessary treatment, including eyeglasses, contact lenses, and medications.

An optometrist is a doctor of optometry trained to perform eye examinations, diagnose and treat certain disorders of the eyes, and prevent eye disease and injury. Optometrists are primary health care providers who prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses.

An optician is a health care provider who fills prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses and dispenses eyeglasses and contact lenses to consumers upon written instructions from an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

How can consumers know if their optician is a registered dispensing optician?

Ask the optician. Registered dispensing opticians are issued a valid registration certificate and identification card every two years when they renew the registration. Also, registered dispensing opticians are required to provide notification to customers of the name, address, and telephone number of DSHS so customers may file complaints if they have problems with services received from the registered dispensing optician. This notice may appear on a bill or contract for services or on a sign posted in the place of business.

Definitions

Contact lens dispensing--The fabrication, ordering, mechanical adjustment, dispensing, sale, and delivery to the consumer of contact lenses prescribed by and dispensed in accordance with a prescription from a licensed physician or optometrist, together with appropriate instructions for the care and handling of the lenses. The term does not include the taking of any measurements of the eye or the cornea or evaluating the physical fit of the contact lenses, unless that action is directed or approved by a licensed physician. 

Spectacle dispensing--The design, verification, fitting, adjustment, sale, and delivery to the consumer of fabricated and finished spectacle lenses, frames, or other ophthalmic devices, other than contact lenses, prescribed by and dispensed in accordance with a prescription from a licensed physician or optometrist. The term includes:

    (A) prescription analysis and interpretation;

    (B) the taking of measurements of the face, including interpupillary distances, to determine the size, shape, and specification of the spectacle lenses or frames best suited to the wearer's needs;

    (C) the preparation and delivery of work orders to laboratory technicians engaged in grinding lenses and fabricating spectacles;

    (D) the verification of the quality of finished spectacle lenses;

    (E) the adjustment of spectacle lenses or frames to the intended wearer's face; and

    (F) the adjustment, repair, replacement, reproduction, or duplication of previously prepared spectacle lenses, frames, or other specially fabricated optical devices, other than contact lenses.  

 

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Last updated January 03, 2014
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    Opticians' Registry