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Understanding the role of the dispensing optician

18 September 2023

TO COINCIDE with National Eye Health Week which takes place from 18 - 24 September 2023, Clair Weston takes a look at the essential role of dispensing opticians in ensuring workers get the right prescription safety glasses.

Dispensing Opticians (DOs) play a key role in ensuring workers have access to prescription eyewear that delivers optimal protection and comfort. At uvex, we partner with high-quality opticians all over the country to provide customers with perfect prescription PPE.

Your sight is indispensable. Safety eyewear is therefore essential PPE for those working with hazards that pose a threat to the eyes including chemicals, metals, dust, projectile objects, vapour, heat and ultraviolet radiation.

Quality protection is paramount, but wearability cannot be overlooked. One size does not fit all, with individual fit, comfort, product performance and style all key to compliance. To encourage people to wear safety eyewear over long periods, eyewear must be capable of adapting to individual head shapes whilst ensuring a pressure-free fit and providing total eye protection.

Around a quarter of the population requires prescription lenses. For these workers, DOs play an essential role in ensuring they get the safety glasses they need. DOs are registered healthcare professionals who can advise customers on how to select and maintain their spectacles. They also serve as the first point of contact when a customer is experiencing difficulties with their vision or spectacles.

The Opticians Act 1989 allows any competent individual to sell prescription eyewear in the UK providing the customer is above 16 and not registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired. However, it is clearly in workers' best interests to seek out a DO.

To enjoy the best possible vision, the right lenses are as important as the right prescription. Poorly fitted frames are not only uncomfortable but can affect the quality of your vision too.

During the dispensing appointment, an optician ensures a customer’s vision is crisp and clear. 

DOs will make adjustments so the frames fit the user's face precisely, because everyone’s face is shaped a bit differently. This not only maximises comfort but also ensures they remain in the correct position for optimal vision. 

DOs will also take head tilts or squints into account when deciding where the lenses' optical centre should be placed. They can provide expert advice on addressing eye conditions such as dry eye, too, and carry out eye tests that can reveal the early indicators for diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes and cataracts.

This means PPE providers who do not work with DOs cannot guarantee the quality, useability and wearability of their spectacles. At uvex, we believe the eyes are too important to take any chances. We work alongside both national and independent dispensing opticians throughout the country to ensure workers can easily access safety prescription eyewear. Having announced a new partnership with ASDA Opticians on 1 June 2023, there are now more choices than ever. To find your nearest DO, head to: https://www.uvex-safety.co.uk/en/buy/optician-locator/

Exceptional protection is our priority. The uvex range of prescription safety glasses is available in a choice of metal, plastic and wraparound frame styles with single vision, bifocal or varifocal lenses. These lenses are manufactured from polycarbonate, which conform to EN166F and are thinner and lighter than other materials, and naturally block out 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays. Unlike glasses manufactured from CR39, they are suitable for workplaces where impact poses a risk.

All frames come with scratch-resistant coatings, a slip-in spectacle case and a lens-cleaning cloth. Optional extras are available such as anti-reflective and anti-fog coatings and are competitively priced when compared to the high street. We also offer a user-friendly system including the option of web-based prescription accounts, which remove the need for time-consuming and wasteful paper forms.

uvex is the clear choice for your prescription eyewear. Our approach enables you to visit your most convenient DO, establish your requirements and find prescription safety glasses that deliver on vision, protection and comfort. 

This year's National Eye Health Week (NEHW) will take place from 18 to 24 September 2023, promoting the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests for all.

Clair Weston is marketing manager at uvex. For more information, visit www.uvex-safety.co.uk