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Apprenticeship training course

Dispensing optician (level 6)

Give advice on vision care, and supply glasses and contact lenses to suit their customers needs.

Qualification level
Equivalent to degree.
Typical duration
36 months
Apprenticeship category
Health and science
Maximum funding
Maximum amount government will fund
for apprenticeship training.
Skills an apprentice will learn
  • Work in line with legislation, laws, policies, professional standards, local ways of working and codes of conduct that apply to own role.
  • Safely undertake evidence-based practice, applying evidence and drawing on experience to make evidence informed professional choices.
  • Be the first point of contact for patients’ eye health needs and takes responsibility for professional choices and actions.
  • Communicate using different skills and strategies to maximise understanding where the needs and preferences of each patient are considered, keeping patients involved in all of their care management plans.
  • Provide and promote non-discriminatory, person centred care, taking account of the needs and preferences of each patient, including any need for adjustments.
  • Recognise and work within the limits of own competence, seeking support and referring to others where appropriate.
  • Protect patients’ rights and respect their right to dignity and privacy, adapting care measures where required.
  • Gain valid consent from all patients or their carer acting on non-verbal cues that could indicate discomfort, a lack of understanding or an inability to give informed consent.
  • Record all aspects of the consultations, maintaining records that are accurate, legible and securely stored.
  • Take relevant history from patients or others involved in their care, considering beliefs and or cultural factors in managing outcomes.
  • Provide information in accessible formats to enable patients to understand and make informed choices about their care and management plans.
  • Manage and assess vision, refractive error, binocular status, and visual acuity by undertaking safe ocular examinations using the correct techniques and procedures to inform clinical decision-making within own scope of practice.
  • Investigate, diagnose, and manage patients' functional and developmental visual conditions, including those related to age to formulate a management plan, recognising and acting when a referral to other services is needed.
  • Recognise the clinical signs and or presentation of common ocular abnormalities, accurately identifying patients' conditions and the need for medical referral in an appropriate way.
  • Recognise the use of common ophthalmic drugs, to safely facilitate optometric examination and the diagnosis and or treatment of ocular disease and their compatibility with other treatments the patient is receiving.
  • Detect adverse ocular reactions to medication and advise, manage, and refer in line with individual patients’ needs.
  • Adhere to legal requirements for the use and supply of common ophthalmic drugs.
  • Recognise the indications and contraindications of commonly used ophthalmic drugs and acts to uphold patient care and safety.
  • Complete informed clinical assessments of patients' needs and facial anthropometry to dispense, modify, repair, accurately fit and advise on the safe use of spectacles, low vision aids and other ophthalmic appliances.
  • Manage and dispense spectacles for paediatric patients and for patients with complex or additional needs.
  • Examine and interpret different prescriptions recognising potential problems, appraising suitable lens and frame solutions, and modifying prescriptions in accordance with legal requirements.
  • Prescribe, advise, and dispense vocational and special optical appliances in accordance with personal eye protection regulations and standards.
  • Complete all facial measurements and modify spectacles where necessary, including frames for children and patients with craniofacial abnormalities.
  • Evaluate optical products and advancements in technology, and the sustainability of ophthalmic lenses and frame manufacture in providing patients with optical appliances that meet their needs.
  • Measure and verify optical appliances in line with relevant standards and guidelines, managing cases of non-tolerance.
  • Identify patients who could benefit from simple or complex low-vision aids.
  • Conduct low-vision assessments to dispense and advise on simple and complex low-vision aids.
  • Refers and signposts to sight loss and other relevant health services as necessary.
  • Advise patients on the safe use of contact lenses, demonstrating removal in an emergency.
  • Advise and discuss contact lens options and demonstrate handling and importance of an aftercare regime to patients with both soft and rigid contact lenses to maintain ocular health.
  • Manages complaints, incidents, and or errors.
  • Recognise and address health and safety concerns that may risk own self, others, public protection, and quality of care, escalating concerns when necessary.
  • Work collaboratively within healthcare teams, employing skills and behaviours of clinical leadership, team-working and management in line with own role and scope of practice.
  • Undertakes safe and efficient patient and caseload management.
  • Evaluates and meets own learning and development needs.
  • Supports the learning and development of others, including acting as a role model and mentor.
  • Engage in critical reflection of own development, with a focus on learning from experience and the use of data from different information sources, to improve future practice and the quality and outcomes of patient care.

Full information on Dispensing optician (level 6) is available from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

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