What is Opticianry?

What Does an Optician Do?

Opticians are licensed health professionals who fit eyeglasses or contact lenses, using prescriptions written by ophthalmologists or optometrists. Eyewear is the term used for eyeglasses, contact lenses and low vision aids. The profession of opticianry in Ohio is regulated and governed by the Vision Professionals Board to strict standards to protect your vision and ensure licensed opticians provide you the highest standard of care.

An optician performs the following tasks in fitting and dispensing eyewear.

  • Gathers eye use data from the patient (information about their job, hobbies, sports, reading habits, etc.)
  • Determines relationship between the prescription and frame design; and facial features and frame design.
  • Determines personal preference of patient for frames.
  • Advises on appropriate frames, based on prescription and facial features.
  • Presents frames and helps make selection.
  • Obtains patient’s previous records.
  • Records current information.
  • Copies prescription information onto the order form.
  • Verifies prescription against old records and with examining doctor if necessary.
  • At the doctor’s direction may perform vision assessment and other procedures.
  • Takes patient’s eye measurements.
  • Determines lens materials to be used.
  • Determines lens tint or coatings.
  • Completes order for forwarding to lab.
  • Check glasses when received from the lab for frame style, color, size, tint, coating, and quality of work; checks with lensometer for optical correctness; returns to lab if necessary.
  • Contact patient to dispense eyewear.
  • Checks fit and adjust glasses for comfort.
  • Conducts reading test.
  • Instructs on care and use of glasses.
  • Advises for follow-up care.

Follow-up Services

As follow-up services, opticians may adjust and refit glasses, repair broken frames, replace screws and broken lenses.

Contact Lenses

In contact lens fitting, opticians perform many of these same tasks, but also measures eye shape and size, select the type of contact lens materials and train the wearer in safely inserting and removing the lenses and in the proper cleaning and maintenance.

Where do Opticians Work?

More than 67,000 individuals are employed in optical dispensing in the United States. Approximately 10,000 own their own retail optical businesses and usually employ other opticians. Others work for ophthalmologists, or optometrists in their offices; are employed by large retail optical chain stores; or dispense eyewear in the optical department of large department stores or discounters. Finally, opticians may work for managed care companies that have their own optical dispensaries.

Professional Credentials

In Ohio, licensed opticians must have passed an exam after completing an associate’s degree in opticianry or a two-year apprenticeship program. Licensed opticians are required to have four to 12 hours of continuing education annually based on their type of opticianry license. Many opticians choose to be nationally certified by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO), or the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). These certifications are gained upon successful completion of examinations and are maintained by attending approved continuing education courses. Many opticians belong to professional organizations, such as the Opticians Association of Ohio,that provide continuing education, professional networking and career enhancement.


When do I need an Optician?

Seeing well is important to our safety, our jobs and our lives.

See your licensed optician any time you notice a change in your vision. Licensed opticians are trained to recognize anything unusual in your eyesight and are able to direct you to the appropriate professional when necessary..

It’s a good idea to have your vision tested regularly. You can see an optician any time you have questions or would like to discuss anything regarding your eyewear or eyesight. Opticians care about your vision and are able to provide you with exactly the right solution for your vision, your personality and your lifestyle.

Once you’ve had your eye exam and your sight tested (by an optometrist or ophthalmologist) get your prescription (it’s the law) and you can take it to a licensed optician of your choice to have your glasses or contact lenses made. You may even be able to have your prescription made right where you had your eyes tested.

Licensed Optician FAQ

How Many Hours Do I Need To Maintain My License?

How Do I Get Another License: Spectacle Or Contact Lens?

Can I Change An RX Spectacle Or Contact Lens?

Will I Be Audited By The State Licensing For Credit Hours?

Must I Sit Through A Full C.E. Program To Receive My Certificate?

Can I Leave A Non-Licensed Person In Charge While I Go To Lunch Or Have To Be Off The Premises?

How Many Apprentices May Work Under A Licensed Optician?

What May Non-Licensed Assistants Do?

Will My Laboratory Experience Count Toward My License Experience Time?

Will Two Years At Any College Fulfill The Two Years Requirement To Take The Test?

Must My License Be On The Premises Where I Am Working Even Though I Am Only Filling In?

If My License Is Displayed At A Store Can A Non-Licensed Person Dispense?

What Do I Do When My License Expires And I Do Not Have Enough C.E. Hours?

Do I Have To Let The Board Know Who My Apprentices Are And How Many Of Them I Have?

I Work For An Optometrist Or An Ophthalmologist, Do I Need To Register?

How Can I Lose My License?

If I Do Something Wrong, What Is The Penalty?

How Do I Let The Board Know When Someone Is Doing Something Wrong?

The Difference between the OAO and the Licensing Board

The OAO or the Ohio Vision Professional Board?

Opticians make long distance phone calls to the Ohio Professionals Vision Board and the Opticians Association of Ohio everyday. They are commonly, and easily, confusing the telephone numbers when specific information is needed by the optician. There are differences in objectives and purpose of the Opticians Association of Ohio...the statewide association, and the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board...the state government agency.

The Ohio Vision Professional Board is a nine member board of directors appointed by the Governor. They are made up of five dispensing opticians, one optometrist, two public members (one must be a senior citizen) , and one physician who engages in the practice of ophthalmology. They monitor the professional conduct, education and licensing of opticians. They also help implement and enforce the laws and rules that govern the profession in the state.

The Opticians Association of Ohio is a non-profit, statewide organization that represents and promotes opticians and helps protect the interests of the opticians before the legislature and the Board. Its Board of Trustees is made of sixteen voting members and past presidents.

The OAO is an association organized by and for opticians. Members dues make up the operating budget for providing continuing education requirements, networking for opticians through chapters and regular publications, lobbying and legal services, and other valuable member benefits.

When you telephone, make sure you are directing your call to the organization you desire to contact:

  • Ohio Vision Professionals Board: 614-466-9709
    Questions on: your license, all approved C.E. seminars, state licensing law

  • Opticians Association of Ohio: (614) 505-3296
    Questions on: your membership, OAO Local Division/State