Optician Profession in Canada











Opticians play a critical role in Canada especially in serving the customers with eye problems. Optometry is among the best healthcare professionals, and they are governed by several codes of ethics and standards. Opticians are required to perform their duties with professionalism. They have an obligation to observe certain principles with the aim of providing quality care to the patients. Each province has a set of an institution that regulates the professional practice of opticians. For instance, the College of Opticians Ontario is the main regulatory body in the province. The institution plays a critical role in setting the professional code of conduct and standards of practice to ensure quality. Opticians in Ontario are also required to undergo rigorous training and practice before being registered as qualified professionals. This paper aims at providing a profile of the optician profession in a descriptive manner while at the same time demonstrating my reflection on my profession using the format outlined in essay instructions.
Professional Profile

Roles and responsibilities of opticians

Optician’s main role is to work collaboratively with the people with eye problems to obtain prosthetic ocular devices, vision aids, contact lenses, and eye glasses. They are mostly positioned in health care institutions or under private care stores. The primary role of the opticians is to take care of the patient’s eyes and prescribe the most appropriate contact or eye glasses that aid them in having a clear vision without straining. The opticians also work closely with their customers to ensure that they reduce any negative impact that could be caused by the use of wrong contact or eye glasses. They are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that they follow carefully the prescriptions written by optometrists and ophthalmologists to find the most suitable lenses that suits the needs of the clients (College of Opticians Ontario, 2006).

Selection of eye glass frames

The opticians work with the customers to help them chose the right frame that fits well with their face. The opticians must offer kind support and expert opinion on the type of eye glass frames that will not only make the client comfortable but also fashionable. They may require taking the measurements of the facial feature of their clients to give them the best advice when choosing the frame to wear. In achieving this, the opticians are required to show patience to the customers as each of them may have unique tastes and preferences.

Preparation of lenses

After the opticians have agreed on the kind of eye wear to use with the customer, the opticians send the order to the lab technicians so that the lenses or glasses can be ground and prepared for the use by the final customer. They also arrange for the preparation of the eye wear as well as the mounting of the frames to the lenses for the final product to be fitted by the client. Opticians also offer customer services to the clients such as repair of broken frames and glasses. They frequently manage the customer needs in a friendly and supportive manner when such customers face challenges when using the designed lenses. The support may include readjusting the frames when the customer feels uncomfortable, changing glasses and offering other after sale services to the client (College of Opticians Ontario, 2006).


Opticians must undergo a rigorous training process to gain the required experience and expertise before being allowed to practice. They must also pass a certain educational and certification criteria before being admitted to the professional practice. These qualifications are set by each optician college in every province. For instance, according to the College of Ontario, all opticians must pass the basic educational requirements called dispensing. The dispensing implies that the optician understands all the skills required in adaptation, delivery and dispensation of eye glasses. They must also ensure that they continue advancing their education throughout the practice (Thompson, 2016). The opticians must at least acquire a diploma and get more training through work place before being awarded a practicing certificate. Also, opticians must be able to understand all the regulatory framework governing the professional practice including the current standards, policies, and legislations. The practicing opticians must also ensure that they meet all the quality assurance requirements as outlined in quality assurance regulations of Ontario Optician College (College of Opticians Ontario, 2006).

Work environment

Opticians mostly work in personal and healthcare settings. The demand for eye glasses has been on the rise especially for the last two decades, and this has mounted more pressure for the opticians in the country. The demand for qualified professionals has also increased and expected to hit the top when the majority of baby-boom generation hit the age that requires glasses to address far sightedness. However, there are challenges posed by online purchasing of contact and eye glasses thereby reducing the demand for consultancy services from the opticians. The participation of women in the profession has also increased significantly.

Regulatory framework

The Optician College of Ontario is the main regulatory body for opticians. It is the institution that is charged with registering qualified professional opticians in the province and without their certification, one is considered unqualified and subject to penalties under the applicable laws. The registration with the College requires one to pass the dispensing examination and further his or her education while under the practice to keep in touch with the emerging issues. The Ontario College of Opticians has the full control of membership to the profession, and it’s governed by the framework of applicable by –laws, regulations, and legislation (Deber&Mah, 2014). The Ontario College also establishes and enforces the practice standards to ensure that quality of service offered by the optician professionals in the region is guaranteed. In enforcing this, it’s driven by public interests at heart while engaging in community education for the purpose of empowerment. All the opticians in the province are therefore expected to uphold the standards of practice set out by the optician’s College of Opticians Ontario and the relevant laws, by-laws and regulations set out by the government (College of Opticians Ontario, 2006).

Key points in history of my profession

After attaining a diploma in college, I learned job skills through undergoing on-the-job training programs after which I was licensed. Training included technical instructions such as measuring eyes of a patient and adjusting frames with the supervision of an optician who was experienced. Office management practices were also offered in these programs. I learned important qualities as an optician, and they have profoundly shaped my career. Some of these qualities include communication skills, customer service skills as well as management skills. When offering health service, I listen keenly to what the customers want and at the same time explaining instructions in a way the patients can understand. Patients require being handled in a friendly, courteous and helpful manner (Goldsmith, 2011). As I advanced, in my career learned how to make critical decisions comfortably.

Key principles that have an influence on my profession

Several fundamental principles affect my profession as an optician. Some of these principles include confidentiality, informed consent, competence and patient participation as highlighted by Rosenfield, Logan & Edwards (2009). I am required to hold personal and all other protected health information. The principle of confidentiality is critical in building and maintaining trust between the patient and optician. Personal and protected information is only revealed when a patient provides written consent. Nevertheless, exceptions to the principle of confidentiality exist in a situation which is ethically justified. The exceptions take place when it is deemed necessary to ensure the welfare of the patient is protected or when the law requires the release of such information (Leavitt, 2014).

As an optician, I am obligated to provide a patient or a legal guardian with information concerning health care of a patient as well as healthcare options (Leavitt, 2014). In this process, a reasonable determination is required for the patient to make reasonable and informed decisions without any external coercion. It is worth to note that, an optometrist is required to provide an explanation to the patient about the status of health care, appropriate procedures that are available as well as potential benefits and risks posed by each procedure. Keeping the patient informed always is deemed as a way of improving care delivery. Additionally, it is an obligation of the opticians to ensure that a patient or a guardian understands the information being presented (Goldsmith, 2011).

Professional competence is another key principle that guides opticians (Goldsmith, 2011). They have a duty of striving to ensure they are in line with the prevailing standards and practice while carrying their duties. It is worth to note that, all this is done to benefit the patient through providing quality care. Additionally, the practice requires utilization of the procedures for which one is educated as well as competent to carry out the duty. Patient participation is critical in healthcare. As an optician, it is an obligation to respect the patient’s rights through participating in decision making that has a direct effect on their health care. This obligation ought to be supported and reinforced through effective communication and providing education to the patients. Communication is beyond words and communication which is effective may have a significant benefit in different areas of practice and hence improving the outcome. Overall, effective communication serves to benefit optician, the patient, the practice of the healthcare professional and the entire team (Thompson, 2016).

Values and beliefs that may differ from those of other professions

Healthcare professionals are likely to interact with patients with different cultures, and this affects the beliefs and values of practitioners in providing treatment to different patients (Rosenfield, Logan & Edwards, 2009). Multiculturalism in optometric is one of the key concepts that is considered to be critical in ensuring that opticians adhere to the importance and understanding of the values, health practices and beliefs of different cultures. Due to the emerging aspects of globalization that has closely interconnected the world into global villages, individuals from different cultural backgrounds tends to be served at the same time. Hence, need for health professionals to adhere to the concept of multiculturalism. Some of the main reasons for multiculturalism in optometric include facilitating better health services, harmonizing the good working relationship between the patients, nurses, and other stakeholders. It also enhances professionalism in the healthcare. Additionally, it is important to have the additional expertise in the management of the health care via adoption of the modern methods of management that have proven worthwhile in the best practices (Goldsmith, 2011). However, multiculturalism influences values and beliefs systems of the opticians which differ from other professions.

Providing quality care is one of the key values in my profession. However, I hold a belief that it is challenging to communicate about the health of the eyes to patients from a different cultural background. Difficulties arise when conducting eye tests or offering advice concerning glasses or referrals. For instance, some of the patients resist certain referrals such as cataract surgery (Leavitt, 2014). In this situation, opticians are likely to consult family members of the patient or persist on asking the patient to accept the advice. Opticians also hold that culture can be linked to health beliefs that are diverse. However, other professionals have a belief that effective communication is the key to providing quality care to a patient regardless of the beliefs and values. Therefore, healthcare professionals are only required to know the problem of a patient through effective communication and then provide the necessary advice to the patient.


From the discussion above various roles that opticians play in the society have been discussed. The roles include designing the most appropriate contact lenses and eye glasses that help the patient to correct the eyesight problems. They also give advice to the clients about the best’s glasses lenses to fit and after sales service such as repair of broken lenses. Besides, they undergo rigorous training and must be accredited by the College of opticians. In a nut shell, opticians have a duty to provide care to the patients while observing the required principles and values. Among the key principles are confidentiality, informed consent, competence and patient participation. The primary purpose of these principles is to improve care delivery to the patients.


College of opticians Ontario (2006) retrieved on 17/10/2016 professional standards of practice for opticians Ontario province http://www.coptont.org/docs/Legislation/SOP.pdf
Deber, R. B., &Mah, C. L. (2014). Case studies in Canadian health policy and management.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Goldsmith, S. B. (2011). Principles of health care management: Foundations for a changing health care system. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Leavitt, A. J. (2014). Jump-starting a career in medical technology. New York : Rosen Publishing.

Rosenfield, M., Logan, N., & Edwards, K. (2009). Optometry: Science techniques and clinical management. Edinburgh: Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier.

Thompson, V. D. (2016). Health and health care delivery in Canada.Toronto, ON : Elsevier Canada

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Optician Profession in Canada. (2022, Feb 15). Retrieved from https://essaylab.com/essays/optician-profession-in-canada

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