When you have an appointment with your optician, it’s likely you’ll see two people: an optometrist and a dispensing optician. But what’s the difference? And why do you need to see them both?
An optometrist will examine both the outside and inside of your eyes. They’ll test how well you can focus and your perception of depth and colour. They’ll give you advice on any visual problems, detect any ocular disease or abnormality and refer you to a medical practitioner if necessary. And, if you need them, they’ll prescribe glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.
A qualified dispensing optician uses the prescription from your optometrist to advise you on which lenses and frames will best suit you, your lifestyle and work needs.
To enjoy the best possible vision, the right lenses are as important as the right prescription
It takes three years of academic study and practical experience to train to be a dispensing optician. Once qualified, they can help you choose the most appropriate lenses and frames. And they can do a lot more besides.
Ten things your dispensing optician does
Many people fail to get on with varifocals simply because they haven’t been fitted properly. A qualified dispensing optician will take accurate measurements of your eyes and give you advice on the type varifocal lenses that will best suit your lifestyle. This includes tints and coatings as well as frames you’ll find comfortable to wear.
This expert advice will ensure you get all the visual benefits from your new varifocal lenses. And means you can enjoy the freedom of no longer having to continually swap between two, or even three, different pairs of glasses.
If you have a squint, a lazy eye or a natural head tilt, your dispensing optician will be able to determine where to place the optical centre on your lenses. Lining this up precisely with your eyes will help you see more clearly.
Some lenses fit more easily into certain frames than others. A qualified dispensing optician can help you choose the best frames for your prescription, as well as the ones that best suit your personal style.
Poorly fitted frames are not only uncomfortable but can affect the quality of your vision too. Dispensing opticians are trained to make fine adjustments that mean your frames are comfortable and in the correct position for you to see as well as possible.
Dispensing opticians are qualified to give you advice on a wide range of specialist lenses and eyewear. This includes, for example, lenses for night driving and UV protection, transitions, glasses for VDU use and safety and sports eyewear.
Many dispensing opticians also specialise in the fitting and supply of contact lenses.
Dispensing opticians can give you expert advice if you are visually impaired. They can provide you with low vision aids such as magnifiers and magnifying reading glasses to help you make the most of the vison you have.
A qualified dispensing optician is able to give you advice on how to treat certain eye conditions such as dry eye. They can also refer you to a medical practitioner or hospital for treatment if necessary.
Only a General Optical Council (GOC) qualified dispensing optician or optometrist is allowed to dispense contact lenses or spectacles to children and the visually impaired.
Finally, a qualified dispensing optician never stops! In order to stay registered with the GOC, dispensing opticians must keep their knowledge and skills up to date through ongoing education and training.
We make it easy for you to choose the right lenses and frames
We combine the expertise of our dispensing optician with the latest technology. We have a clever machine from Essilor called the Visioffice. This takes precise measurements, including of your eye rotation centre, head tilt and posture. It can even measure your natural reading speed. We use these measurements to make sure your frames and lenses are an exact fit.
The Visioffice also allows you to see up to eight images or short videos of yourself on one screen. This means you can compare how you look in different frames, making it easier for you to choose the ones you like the best.
Along with the Visioffice, we have Essilor’s Nautilus 3D virtual headset. We use this to show you the effect different lenses, lens coatings and treatments make to your vision. It’s particularly helpful if you’ve been prescribed varifocals as it lets you experience the lenses in different situations.
This combination of our experienced qualified dispensing optician and the latest technology means we can customise your lenses to meet your exact needs so you enjoy vision that is as sharp, clear and comfortable as it can be.
But perhaps the best thing about our dispensing optician is that she’s always happy to help. She can give you advice on glasses and check the fit of your frames. Over time frames can move slightly and just need a simple adjustment to give you back that perfect fit. Our dispensing optician will be happy to do this for you. You’re very welcome to pop in and see us at any time.
“After using a large chain for my glasses and not being happy I decided to try somewhere different. OVC was close to home so went along not expecting too much. How wrong could I be!
After having some very bad experiences with varifocals, Priyanka took the time to listen and knew exactly what I required. I now have fantastic vision with my glasses that I never thought I would have again. Would recommend to anyone who wears varifocals to pop along. Big thanks to Priyanka and Stella.”