Optometric technicians work under the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They perform a variety of duties including: patient pretesting such as visual acuity, color vision, depth perception, pupil reflexes, visual field testing, pressure inside the eye and blood pressure; frame and lens selection, eyeglass adjustment; contact lens patient education; and front office management.
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Dispensing optician – specializes in the fitting and dispensing of eyewear.
Contact lens technician – specializes in the fitting, ordering and delivery of contact lenses.
Optometric technicians work in optical stores, clinics, and private offices. They assist the eye doctor in the care of patients. They gather patient information, perform pretesting procedures, prepare exam rooms, maintain patient records, frame and lens selection, eyeglass adjustment, and contact lens patient education, order and verification. Optometric technicians may also answer telephones, arrange for patients’ surgical eye procedures, schedule appointments, and perform other front office management tasks. They may work full or part-time. Some optometric technicians may work evenings and weekends.
High school students should study health, biology, mathematics, keyboarding and other related courses. A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Formal programs are offered at a limited number of vocational/technical schools and colleges throughout the United States. Individuals can earn a diploma from a one-year program or an associate degree from a 2-year program. Course work may include classes in anatomy & physiology, ocular anatomy, optical properties of light and lenses, pretesting procedures, specialty testing procedures, contact lenses, and eyewear fitting. Upon completion of a formal training program, individuals may become a Certified Optometric Technician through the National Council on Paraoptometric Certification. With formal training and one year employment working with an ophthalmologist individuals may be certified as a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant through the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology.
Gateway Technical College
Lakeshore Technical College
Madison Area Technical College
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
American Board of Opticianry/National Contact Lens Examiners
6506 Loisdale Rd., Suite 209
Springfield, VA, 22150
703/719-5800 or 800/296-1379
American Optometric Association
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO, 63141-7881
314/991-4100 or 800/365-2219
Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
PO Box 592
Canton, NY, 13617
Contact Lens Society of America
441 Carlisle Dr.
Herndon, VA, 20170
800/296-9776 or 703/437-5100
Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology
2025 Woodlane Dr.
St. Paul, MN, 55125-2998
651/731-2944 or 800/284-3937
National Academy of Opticianry
8401 Corporate Dr., Suite 605
Landover, MD, 20785
Optical Laboratories Association
11096 Lee Highway, Suite A-101
Fairfax, VA, 22030-5039
703/359-2830 or 800/477-5652
Opticians Association of America
3740 Canada Rd.
Lakeland , TN, 38002
Wisconsin Optometric Association
6510 Grand Teton Plaza, Suite 312
Madison, WI, 53719
608/824-2200 or 800/678-5357
Wisconsin Paraoptometric Association
Tami Travis-Wolfgram, President
11624 Sherwood Lane
Arbor Vitae, WI, 54568
715/297-3546 (Private number)
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