What is… Ophthalmic Dispensing?
Dispensing Opticians are eyecare professionals who are trained to interpret prescriptions issued by optometrists or ophthalmologists and to dispense spectacles and other optical aids. They advise patients on the most appropriate spectacle frames, lenses or other optical aids based on their individual needs taking into account the prescription, occupation and lifestyle of the patient. They are trained to take the measurements required for the fitting of such optical appliances. Dispensing Opticians also check spectacles and other appliances to ensure they match the patient’s specification and meet the required standards. They advise patients on how to get the best from their eyewear and play an important role in aftercare and the maintenance of such appliances.
Dispensing opticians play a vital role in providing the best low vision aid for partially sighted patients and the best fitting frame and lens design for children. They are also trained to advise on sports and protective eyewear. Subsequent to further qualification they may fit contact lenses. Dispensing opticians are often involved in optical practice management.
A career as a dispensing optician is extremely rewarding. It offers great variety and will deliver a high degree of job satisfaction to those attracted to a career in a healthcare setting, who have an interest in maths and science, relish problem solving and enjoy interacting with the general public.
The profession of ophthalmic dispensing is regulated in Ireland under CORU (the Health and Social Care Professional's Council). Further information is available at http://www.dit.ie/optometry/ophthalmicdispensing/
What are my... Career Opportunities?
This is a new and unique programme in Ireland but there are currently almost 200 dispensing opticians working in Ireland who have gained their qualifications abroad. Dispensing opticians are in high demand so job prospects are excellent. Most dispensing opticians work in private practice, often in a management capacity. However there are a diverse range of employment opportunities. Dispensing opticians often set up their own practices or enter joint ventures with large multiples. At present in Ireland dispensing opticians are also employed with spectacle lens manufacturers, frame manufacturers, glazing houses, hospital eye departments, practice management software providers and as college lecturers.
What options do I have after completion?
Dispensing Opticians can gain additional qualification by means of further study in the UK. Subsequent to further qualification they may fit contact lenses. Further study is also available in the areas of low vision management, workshop practice, lens design and geometric optics. Most of this further study can be undertaken via distance learning while working in practice. As mentioned above this course is new to DIT and it was set up to fill a gap in the Irish education system and because there is a shortage of dispensing opticians. The profession of ophthalmic dispensing is growing and developing and with that will come further opportunities for advanced qualification.
Learning outcomes / What will I learn on this programme?
This programme is 3 years in duration.The first two years of the programme are delivered in the laboratories and lecture theatres on campus. The third year of the programme is a structured work placement. The first year focuses on the relevant science maths and introduction to optical dispensing necessary for your training. The second year’s practical and theoretical work is more tailored towards the specific skills and knowledge required of a Dispensing Optician. You will learn about spectacles lens and frame, design and manufacture. You will also learn how to take frame and facial measurements, how to interpret prescriptions and carry out a detailed task analysis to ensure patients receive the most appropriate optical aid. Students are also introduced to the fundamentals of optical practice management. Your work placement in year three allows you to learn how to apply your knowledge and skills in a practice setting.
- Geometrical Optics
- Physical Optics
- Quantitative Methods in Dispensing
- Vision Science
- Cell Biology
- The Human Body and Disease
- Ophthalmic Optics and Dispensing
- Physics for Health Science
- Mathematics for Optical Professions
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye
- Vision Science
- Professional Development
- Optical Dispensing
- Case Analysis and Preparation for Placement
- Contact Lens Practice and Anterior Eye Disorders
- Introductory Vision Rehabilitation
- Optical Practice Management
- Physiology of Vision
- Intercultural Health Communication for Eye Care Professionals and Professional Studies
- Optical Dispensing Case Studies
- Ophthalmic Dispensing Practice Placement
Are there study abroad opportunities?
Not at the moment
School of Physics and Clinical and Optometric Sciences
T: 01 402 4942 (Patricia Mordaunt)
T: 01 402 2872 (Claire Mc Donnell)
What our students say!
“Because the class is small you make friends very quickly, but you still have the benefits of a large class too because we spend so much time with the optometry students. Right from the start we are learning and practicing skills that are directly applicable to the job of dispensing and even getting a weekend or summer job is fairly easy because there is such a shortage of dispensing opticians out there. The course wasn’t my first choice but I’m so glad that I ended up on it."