Opticianry is an exciting field of study, as it touches on a variety of topics, from hard and soft sciences to design and art. However, if we define the word “Opticianry” in itself, it is the practical study of light and its properties (i.e. optics), as applied to correct problems associated with the human visual system.

  • What does that mean?

Well, it basically means opticianry is the practice of making or dispensing eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other visual aid devices.

Now that you have a rough idea of what opticianry is, let’s get technical and take a look at who opticians are and what they do, exactly!

Let’s get started!

Who Are Opticians?

Opticians are, in some sense, interpreters. They interpret prescriptions written by Ophthalmologists & Optometrists and dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other visual aid devices, accordingly.

Like Ophthalmologists & Optometrists, Opticians are regulated healthcare professionals, too. According to WES;

“The government regulates occupations that affect a large number of people directly, such as those in healthcare, engineering, law, finance, and education. In a regulated profession, you need a license or certificate from the regulatory body that governs that occupation to be employed in that field.”

In Ontario, the College of Opticians of Ontario (COO) regulates Opticians. COO protects public safety by ensuring Opticians follow standards of practice of the profession.


Besides the COO there are 9 other provincial regulatory bodies for opticians in Canada, including;

College of Opticians of British Columbia

Alberta College & Association of Opticians

Saskatchewan College of Opticians

The Opticians of Manitoba

Opticians Association of New Brunswick

Nova Scotia College of Dispensing Opticians

P.E.I. Board of Dispensing Opticians                  

The Dispensing Opticians Board of Newfoundland and Labrador

Each provincial regulatory body has its own set of regulations that could be slightly different from other provinces. But who regulates them?

Well, that would be NACOR’s job!


NACOR’s logo

NACOR is the National Association of Canadian Optician Regulators. In the future, I will tell you more about what NACOR does…stay tuned!

What Do Opticians Do?

Sometimes people confuse Opticians with Optometrists and vice versa. While there are some similarities between the two professions, they are, in fact, two different fields of study. To help distinguish between the two, imagine a lab setting. The optometrists would be the scientists, and the opticians would be the lab technicians. To learn about what optometrists do check out this page. For now, let’s have a look at what opticians do.

Refraction: In eye care settings, refraction is the procedure through which an eye care professional checks a patient’s visual acuity and determines his/her prescription for glasses. As of now only a small number of opticians in Ontario perform refraction.

Opticianry-Optician's tools-Consultation

Consultation: Opticians consult their client in choosing eyewear that is both compatible with the prescription and the client’s needs. They can also consult patients on eye care and eyewear care, and refer them to other health professionals when necessary.


Measurements: This is a crucial part of opticians’ job. Whether fitting a pair of glasses, contact lenses or other visual aid devices accurate measurements are key to patients’ comfort and satisfaction.

Opticianry-Optician's tools-Adjustment

Adjustments: Adjustment is another crucial step! In fact, adjustments can make or break the accuracy of measurements. Adjustment and measurement usually happen simultaneously, based on the optician’s judgement.


Fabrication: Fabrication is the process of making a pair of glasses based on an order form. Fabrication includes interpreting the data collected during consultation and measurement and edging (i.e. cutting) a pair of lenses to fit into an eyeglasses’ frame.


Neutralization: Is the process of verifying the prescription of a pair of glasses against an existing order, for accuracy.


Dispensing: Is the final step in which the optician gives the ready-made eyewear to the client to physically try on. This is when both the optician and the client get a chance to see whether the eyewear is functioning the way it should be. So, it is an opportunity for both to address any issues.

Do you find Opticianry interesting? Do you like to know more about it? Then go ahead and check out my post on How to become an Optician.

There are many other aspects of an optician’s job that I will share with you in future posts. Meanwhile, feel free to ask your questions or leave a comment in the comments section below. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe to our newsletter, if you find this post helpful. 

Talk to you soon!

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