Optical Dispensers are trained in the theory and practical application of ophthalmic optics. They are to optometrists as pharmacists are to the medical profession.
Optical Dispensing used to be a licensed profession in South Australia, NSW & WA. Optical Dispensing, defined in the (repealed) Optical Dispensers Act 1963 (NSW) means:
(a) The interpretation and dispensing of prescriptions for optical appliances;
(b) the taking of facial measurements for optical appliances;
(c) the fitting of optical appliances for the purpose of the sale thereof; and
(d) the sale of optical appliances
In Australia, the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing is currently the National Standard of Competency but with compliance not regulated in any State or Territory, untrained & unsupervised spectacle sellers have become commonplace. Australia, a leader in eye health in many other respects, has a level of optical dispensing more usually found in under-developed countries.
My understanding is that Optical Dispensing has never been regulated in Queensland! This may surprise some North Lakes residents who have emigrated from overseas: UK Dispensing Opticians may register with the General Optical Council. In South Africa, holders of the National Diploma in Optical Dispensing register with the Health Profession Council of South Africa. In New Zealand, registration with the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board is required.
As an Optometrist trained in Optical Dispensing, I could carry out Optical Dispensing functions for my patients, but usually I prefer this to be done by my highly trained staff. At North Lakes Optometry, we have Qualified Optical Dispensers: Wendy with decades of experience and Melanie with over 10 years experience. Other Optical Practices may not be so fortunate.