New York State law requires prescription eyewear to be fitted and dispensed in person by a licensed practitioner (ophthamlic dispenser/optician, optometrist, ophthalmologist). Although any number of websites offer the sale of eyewear, the consumer must be aware of a number of things. Prescription eyeglasses are highly customized. There are numerous measurements that go into the fitting and fabrication that cannot be conveyed over the phone or internet. These include, but are not limited to: the shape of your nose and ears, the width of your face and the overall size of your head. Measurements such as these, and bifocal or multifocal height, can only be measured when you are wearing the eyeglass frames you are planning to purchase and are face to face with a dispenser.
In addition, the form, thickness, and material that your prescription lenses are made of should be discussed with your eyecare professional. A bargain that may be advertised online may result in a pair of glasses being heavier than necessary, or cause eye fatigue or headache.
New Yorkers are advised to be wise consumers and consult their eyecare professional.
You should be able to answer Yes to each statement below:
Ophthalmologists or optometrists may refer you to an ophthalmic dispenser. In addition, local optical societies may have member directories available.
The State Board for Ophthalmic Dispensing cannot refer you to a provider.
New York ophthalmic dispensers must display a current New York registration certificate; this certificate lists the professional's name, address, and dates of the registration period. If the letter "C" precedes the license number on the registration certificate, the ophthalmic dispenser is certified to fit contact lenses. Ophthalmic dispensers must also wear a clearly visible identifying badge that lists their name and professional title.
Once licensed, ophthalmic dispensers must reregister every three years to practice in New York. Some professionals also display their original New York license, diploma, licenses from other states, and membership certificates. You may verify licenses on this site.
New York ophthalmic dispensers have either graduated from an approved two-year associate degree program in ophthalmic dispensing
have completed an approved two-year on-the-job training program under the supervision of a licensed ophthalmic dispenser, physician, or optometrist.
Ophthalmic dispensers have also passed national and State written examinations and a State practical examination.
An ophthalmic dispenser - commonly called an "optician" - is a licensed health care professional who adapts and fits lenses to correct deficiencies, deformities, or abnormalities of the eyes based on a written prescription from a licensed physician or optometrist. Contact lens practitioners are ophthalmic dispensers who are certified to fit contact lenses. Ophthalmic dispensers and certified contact lens practitioners work to:
Ophthalmic dispensers perform the following services:
Certified contact lens practitioners do all of these things as well as fit contact lenses.
Ask such questions as whether the service location is physically accessible (curb cuts, ramps, restrooms, etc.) as well as whether there is a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and parking for people with disabilities.
Your file contains a record of your evaluation and your prescription. Ophthalmic dispensers must keep client records for six years or until the client turns 22, whichever is longer.
Generally, your records are confidential unless you approve their release. Ask your professional about exceptions to this. If you want a copy of your records, provide your ophthalmic dispenser with a written request. You may be charged a reasonable fee to offset the cost of providing copies.
Ophthalmic dispensers practice in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, ophthalmology and optometric practices, and optical chain stores.