What is an Optician?

Who knows what an optician is? Are they the same an optometrist? The situation in Australia is very complex, but for primarily political reasons it has been enshrined in legislation that only an optometrist shall be able to call themselves an optician! How’s that? This is akin to architects telling buiders that they can’t call themselves builders, only architects can be called builders. Ridiculous isn’t it? Well that’s the situation that Australian opticians face every day. We are the builders of the optical industry; we build a product to prescription and sell it. We have to use terms like optical dispenser or dispensing optician to describe ourselves but those terms are faceless ones.  They are not understood by the general public and thus make it very difficult to market ourselves as we should be able to market ourselves.

In the U.S. and Canada it is very clear in the public’s view as what an optician is. They make your glasses. optometrists prescribe. It’s as simple as that. I long for this type of simplicity in Australia or am I dreaming? Isn’t it time in this country that opticians were allowed to shake off the shackles of a repressive legislation to be allowed to call ouselves what we really are?

Posted by Murray O'Brien on August 30, 2010