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Eye Care Providers - Dispensing Optician


What is a Dispensing Optician?


Dispensing Opticians make up Optometrists’ and Ophthalmologists’ prescriptions. They fit and supply spectacles, contact lenses and other optical appliances. They advise people on types of lens through calculating distances and angles in relation to different types of lens, such as single vision or bifocal. They can also advise on colour vision, lighting and other optical aids. Their role also demands strong commercial awareness as providing optical appliances is part of their work.

The majority of Dispensing Opticians will work in the private sector, usually in a private practice environment. However a few Dispensing Opticians will be employed in the public sector in hospitals. A number will also work in private practice but also run one or more clinics per week in the local hospital.

If you require more information on Optometrists or Ophthalmologists please see the Optometrists or Ophthalmologists occupation sheet.


There are a few different routes to becoming a Dispensing Optician in the UK

    - A degree course in Ophthalmic Dispensing and management, Optical Management or Dispensing Optician.

    - A Foundation Degree course in Ophthalmic Dispensing

    - Two-year full time diploma course, followed by one year supervised


    - A three-year day release course, for those in suitable employment.

    - A three-year distance learning course (including an annual four week residential block) for those in employment.

    - All the above courses must have been recognised by the General Optical Council (GOC).


    Dispensing Opticians must be registered with the GOC to practise in the UK. The register can be found on-line at: .
    This registration must be renewed annually for as long as they practise in the UK. Dispensing Opticians trained outside the EEA will be required to undertake a pre-registration year working for a British registered optician at the end of their pre registration year they will have to take an examination for Non EU-EEA qualified Dispensing Opticians. For further information on the GOC.

    By Law, Children under 16 years of age and Patients with prescriprions stronger than +/- 5.00D must be dispensed by a qualified, registered Dispensing Optician. A Dispensing Optician is entitled to alter a given Prescription to ensure the effective Prescription remains as prescribed based on individual frame fit.

    Please see advice and guidelines on professional conduct for Dispensing Opticians

    Please see Online spectacles are dangerous, for reasons you should be Dispensed by a Dispensing Optician

Our Dispensing Opticians

At Matheson Optometrists we employ several dispensing Opticians, including Nick Durning and Darren Aylesbury. We are always looking for patient orientated dispensing opticians who want to provide exceptional service as part of our team. Please Contact Us if you would like to learn more about our group.

dispensing measurement 1

The primary function of a dispensing optician is to advise a patient on the most appropiate frame and lens type to suit their prescription, visual needs, image and affordability. Once a suitable frame and lens permutation has been chosen the dispensing optician will take all the appropriate frame and lens measurements to ensure our patients have spectacles that fit comfortably and perform optimally, visually. We use both traditional methods of spectacle measurement and also where more appropriate, new Visioffice computerised technology to position new high technology lenses correctly, taking into account such things as Eye Rotation Centres, Eye position during different tasks, viewing angle at different positions of gaze, the exact frame dimensions such as the way the frame "wraps" round the profile of a patients face. In this way a patients lenses can be "Individualised" or "Eye-Coded" to provide optimised visual performance.

visioffice 2



Our Dispensing Opticians will adjust your spectacles when you collect them and periodically to ensure they remain comfortable and they perform optimally visually. and repair your spectacles and manufacture the lenses for your new glasses

In our group our dispensing opticians also have a management and training role. Our overall Group Dispensing Manager is Nick Durning.

Some are further qualified in contact lens fitting. Some dispensing opticians are also involved in providing low vision appliances.

In our group many of our dispensing opticians are trained in clinical tasks such as retinal photography, Optical Coherence Tomography Scanning (OCT scanning), visual field examination, tonometry, blood pressure analysis among other tests. The Dispensing Optician is an integral and important part of our clinical team.

Dispensing Opticians are also trained to recognise the outward signs of certain eye diseases and will refer you to a clinical optometrist or ophthalmologist if they suspect you have such a problem.