There are a lot of different types of classes you could take in opticianry school. Keep in mind, however, that the classes listed below are just examples, and the actual courses you will be offered in your program may be different, both in organizational structure and content.
Ophthalmic Dispensing – Advanced
Because the subject of ophthalmic dispensing is such a broad one (and is so important for a strong foundation of knowledge for opticians) you may take more than one class on the topic. If so, the courses may be separated into introductory and advanced segments. In an advanced class you will build on what you have studied in earlier courses, and will learn about light theory as well as lens design, colors, material, power, safety, and edging. Instructors will train you in the principles of refraction and reflection; the difference between a variety of lenses, such as single vision and multifocal; the function of lens curvature; the relationship between lens position and power; and the uses of atoric and aspheric lenses. You will have to know how to define a wealth of terms as well as how to use optical-specific formulas. Class time might be spending discussing problems that could come up with lenses, how lenses are measured and dispensed, how polarizing lenses work, and the use of different lens coatings. You might also learn how light can harm the eye and how to conduct different tests.
Contact Lens Dispensing
It is possible that you will take an entire class on how to dispense contacts, as there is a lot that you need to know about these special lenses. You might take this course in one session or have it broken up into multiple courses. Class topics could include the history of contacts, different materials used in manufacturing, the anatomy of the eye, and pathological conditions. You might also study the relationship between contact lenses and the structure of the eye, basic contact lens concepts, and ordering and delivery procedures. You might also be trained in how to determine a good candidate for contact lenses, how to use a keratometer, how to use a biomicroscope, and how to fit patients with the right types of contacts. You will also study the various types of contact lenses, how to evaluate their fit in lens wearers, symptoms that new wearers might experience, and how to perform the tasks of a follow up visit.
In any professional environment you will be expected to know how to communicate well, both orally and on paper. You might have to write emails, draft reports, or take notes on patients. Regardless of the job responsibilities you will ultimately have, taking an English class or a course on writing will help you to be successful in your career. In a class of this type you will learn and review the parts of speech, pronouns, modifiers, subject-verb agreement, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. You might learn how to do research, organize your writing and use proper sentence structure, adapt your writing for your audience, and do editing and proofreading. Instructors may pay special attention to business-specific writing projects, such as emails, memos, and letters.