Opticians fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions written by ophthalmologists or optometrists. Opticians look at written prescriptions to decide which type of lenses will work the best. They recommend eyeglass frames, lenses and lens coatings after considering the prescription and the customer's occupation, habits and facial features. Dispensing opticians measure clients' eyes, including the distance between the center of the pupils (pupillary distance) and the distance between the eye surface and the lens (vertex distance). For customers without prescriptions, dispensing opticians may use a lensometer - an instrument that looks much like a microscope - to record the present eyeglass prescription, this is called "neutralizing" a lens. They also may obtain a customer's previous record, or verify a prescription with the examining optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Dispensing opticians prepare work orders that give ophthalmic laboratory technicians information needed to grind and insert lenses into a frame. The work order includes lens prescriptions and information on lens size, material, color, and style. Some dispensing opticians grind and insert lenses themselves. After the lenses are made, dispensing opticians make sure the lenses have been made correctly. Then they may reshape or bend the frame, by hand or using special tools, so that the eyeglasses fit the customer properly and comfortably. Some also fix, adjust, and repair broken frames. They teach clients about how to adjust to their new prescription and how to wear and care for their new eyeglasses.
Optometry involves assessing, diagnosing and treating eye and visual problems. In Zambia Optometrists usually work in hospitals, health centres, field clinics and private practices.
Work activities of opticians include:
Some of the products offered by opticians in Zambia include: