On the Job
Opticians prepare, fit, and sell corrective contact lenses and eyeglasses.
In the 1700s, eyeglasses were considered only for the rich, who also tended to be the literate. Some eyeglasses cost up to $200. It's hard to imagine what the cost would be in today's dollars. With a little help from the optician, you can be on your way to better vision with just a little time and money.Dispensing opticians fit glasses and contacts and sell frames. They take measurements of clients' eyes and nose bridges. They help clients pick frames that complement their face shape and lifestyle. They also make sure that frames work with client prescriptions and face and eye measurements. Then, opticians prepare work orders and instructions for making lenses and eyeglasses. If the client has insurance, they often submit insurance forms for payment. They also help clients select contact lenses. When orders come in, they make adjustments and minor repairs to frames. They also spend time teaching clients how to properly wear and clean their glasses. If a client ordered contact lenses, they teach them how to insert and remove them. They also teach them how to clean and store their contacts.
Opticians often have sales and administrative duties. They may sell sunglasses, eye cases, and cleaning solutions in addition to frames and contacts. They also may arrange displays of frames and other merchandise. Opticians keep records of work orders, insurance payments, and inventory. They may also do some light bookkeeping. In addition, some opticians make lenses to meet prescription specifications. They verify the accuracy of lenses after grinding them. They apply selected coatings, polish the edges, and assemble the lenses and frame parts.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Take measurements of clients' eyes and nose bridges.
- Prepare work orders and instructions for making lenses and eyeglasses.
- Help customers select lenses, lens coatings, and frames.
- Make lenses to prescription specifications and check their accuracy.
- Sell various items to customers, including contact lenses, sunglasses, and cleaning solutions.
- Make adjustments to eyeglasses to fit client.
- Teach clients how to wear and care for their glasses or contact lenses.
- Repair damaged frames.
- Grind the lens edge or apply coatings to lenses.
- Maintain records of prescriptions, orders, and payments.
- May do clerical duties, such as inventory, sending insurance information, and bookkeeping.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Work with the public.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Convince others to buy goods or change their minds or actions.
- Document and record information.
- Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others.
- Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Assist and care for others.
- Perform administrative tasks.
- Monitor and control resources.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Process information.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Use computers.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a very high level of social contact. Opticians work with directly with customers.
- Communicate by telephone and in person on a daily basis. They also communicate by letters and memos, but less often.
- May sometimes deal with conflict situations in which people might be unpleasant or angry.
- Are somewhat responsible for the results of work done by other workers.
- May work as part of a work group or team.
- Are somewhat responsible for the health and safety of customers during an exam.
- Always work indoors.
- Work very near others. They often come in physical contact with customers.
- Occasionally are exposed to diseases and infections.
- Must be exact in their work. They must make sure customers' eyeglasses are made correctly.
- Make decisions that affect customers on a daily basis. They rarely consult a supervisor before deciding a course of action.
- Set most of their daily tasks and goals for the day without consulting a supervisor first.
- Abide by strict weekly deadlines.
- Sometimes repeat the same physical or mental activities.
- Most work Monday through Friday, 40 hours per week.
- Those who work in retail stores may work evenings and weekends.
- May work part time or full time.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use their hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Stand for long periods of time.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Use one or two hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.