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Optical Dispenser
Optical dispensers, or dispensing opticians, provide spectacles to people with vision defects. Contact lenses may also be fitted. They interpret and analyze prescriptions received from optometrists and ophthalmologists.

They determine what type of lenses will be most suitable for a client’s lifestyle, taking safety, cosmetic benefits and aesthetic considerations into account. They adjust spectacles to fit comfortably and to enhance the clients’ appearance as far as possible. They need to ensure that lenses are made in accordance with the minimum specifications laid down by the SABS. Once the lenses have been received from the optical technicians, they are fitted into the frames chosen by the client.

Optical dispensers must have a thorough knowledge of the different materials that can be used and should keep up-to-date with new technology as well as fashion trends in this field.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with people
- usually good job opportunities
- including the possibility of own business
- helping people who need glasses to choose the most appropriate to enhance their appearance

Demanding aspects
- having to keep up with new developments
- being left with a redundant stock of frames due to changing fashion trends
- working with over-demanding or difficult clients

An optical dispenser should:
- have interpersonal skills;
- be empathetic;
- have a flair for fashion;
- enjoy precision work;
- be patient and tactful;
- have mechanical and technical aptitude;
- have finger dexterity and a steady hand;
- have good eye-hand coordination;
- have good eyesight.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Diploma: N.Dip: Optical Dispensing - CPUT

The course entails 2 years of full-time study and 1 year in-service training. During in-service training, students can earn a monthly salary. A maximum of sixteen students are selected for admittance each year.

After complying with all the requirements, qualified optical dispensers have to register with the Interim National Medical and Dental Council of South Africa (INMDC).

- optical laboratories
- self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own dispensing practice

South African Optometric Association
P O Box 2925
Halfway House, 1685
228 Nupen Crescent
Halfway House Ext 12
Tel: (011) 805-4517 Fax: 086 636 7600

Head of Department
Department of Optical Dispensing
School for Mechanical & Process Engineering
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
P O Box 652
Cape Town, 8000
Tel. (021) 460-3560