List of Opticians in Westchester County.
What is an Optician?
An optician is an eye care professional, also called dispensing optician, who provides lenses for the
correction of vision defects. An optician specifies the optical properties of corrective lenses based on a
refraction prescription supplied by a person (optometrist or ophthalmologist) qualified to measure visual
defects and write an appropriate corrective prescription.
An optician's training includes dispensing eyewear, selecting frames, taking facial measurements, and
choosing the best lens style for the patient. The lenses may be contact lenses, or held in a frame in front
of the eye, rarely as a monocle or most frequently as a pair of glasses, also known as spectacles or
Some opticians are involved in the manufacture of optical aids, such as lenses and contact lenses. Some
opticians are involved in the modification, adjustment and dispensing of optical aids. The licensing and
nomenclature of such persons varies from country to country.
Opticians in the United States
In the United States, an optician, through testing, may be certified by the American Board of Opticianry
(ABO) to fill the prescription ordered by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. In some states (Oregon for
one) licensing is not a requirement to make or dispense eyewear. Many eye doctors do their own
dispensing, and it is frequent for eye clinics to have an optician on their premises; or, conversely, for large
optical chains to have optometrists in offices on their premises. Working directly with patients, opticians
take the prescription written by the eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) produce the lenses with
the correct prescription, and shape the lenses to fit the frame.
Optician Education & Training
In addition to having your GED or high school diploma, you’ll need to complete an accredited optician
program, usually a 1-to-2 year certificate, diploma or associate degree program. Coursework generally
includes physics, biology, algebra, and geometry in addition to instruction in geometrical optics; ophthalmic
optics; anatomy of the eye; and the use of optical instruments, machinery, and tools.
Some opticians learn their skills through formal training programs. Professional technical schools and
two-year colleges offer programs in opticianry. Two-year programs usually grant an associate's degree.
One-year programs offer a certificate. Training usually includes courses in optical math, optical physics, and
tools and equipment use. Other opticians can apprentice to learn the required skills. Many formal
education programs will accept hours worked as an apprentice to supplement or replace course credits.
Regulations vary from state-to-state, however certification is highly recommended because most
employers require it. The American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the National Contact Lens Examiners
(NCLE) offer national certification and testing for opticians. Opticians must re-certify every 3 years.
The Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA), a not-for-profit agency, accredits Opticianry training in
the United States. The mission of the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation is the commitment to an
accreditation process that is a fair, thorough assessment of educational quality. The goal of COA as an
accrediting agency is to assist the opticianry programs in producing well-educated, competent graduates
to provide quality professional services to the public.
History of Eyeglasses
Reading Stones - The First Lenses to Improve Eyesight
It's been reported that Seneca - the Roman statesman, dramatist, and philosopher (4 BC-65 AD) - used a
glass globe filled with water as a magnifier to read "all the books of Rome." Around the year 1000, glass
blowers in Italy are credited with producing reading stones made of solid glass. These devices were similar
to hand-held magnifying lenses of today.
In the mid-13th century, English philosopher and scientist Roger Bacon reported on the use of reading
lenses. It's unclear whether he was referring to reading stones or lenses in frames worn in front of the
eyes, but he wrote in 1268:
"If anyone examines letters or other minute objects through the medium of crystal or glass or other
transparent substance, if it be shaped like the lesser segment of a sphere with the convex side toward the
eye, he will see the letters far better and they will seem larger to him. For this reason, such an instrument
is useful to all persons and to those with weak eyes for they can see any letter, however small, if
Early Reports of the Invention and Use of Eyeglasses
Most historians believe monks or craftsmen in Pisa (or perhaps Venice), Italy produced the first form of
eyeglasses around 1285-1289. The magnifying lenses for reading were set into bone, metal, or leather
mountings, shaped like two small magnifying glasses with the handles riveted together to form an inverted
"V" shape that could be balanced on the Bridge of the nose.
The first specific mention of eyeglasses is in a 1289 Italian manuscript written by a member of the di
Popozo family. The author wrote, "I am so debilitated by age that without the glasses known as
spectacles, I would no longer be able to read or write."
In 1306, Giordano da Rivalto - a monk in Pisa, Italy - remarked in a sermon, "it is not yet twenty years
since the art of making spectacles, one of the most useful arts on earth, was discovered. I myself have
seen and conversed with the man who made them first." But the name of the inventor was never
mentioned. Rivalto coined the word occhiali (eyeglasses) and its use began to spread throughout Italy and
Italian scholar Carlo Dati (1619-76) reported many years later that he read an entry pertaining to the
invention of eyeglasses in a Latin Chronicle written in 1313 in a monastery in Pisa. He described the
passage in an essay presented to the Academia della Crusca, a scholarly society in Florence:
"Among the entries in this Chronicle, under the year 1313, it is recorded that in this monastery of St.
Catherine there lived and died Friar Alessandro Spina, a monk of most excellent character and most acute
mind, who understood everything that he heard said or saw done. And when it happened that somebody
else was the first to invent eyeglasses and was unwilling to communicate the invention to others, all by
himself he made them and good-naturedly shared them with everybody." Perhaps it is Friar Alessandro
Spina of Pisa, Italy, whom we should thank for the gift of eyeglasses.
Artistic Evidence of Eyeglasses
The first known artistic representation of the use of eyeglasses were paintings by two Italian artists in
1352. Tommaso da Modena painted a series of frescoes depicting monks reading and writing
manuscripts. One monk holds a magnifying glass, but another wears spectacles perched on his nose. The
same year, Crivelli painted Hugh of St. Cher, depicting a subject wearing eyeglasses.
Eyeglasses for Nearsightedness
Eyeglasses for distance vision appeared sometime in the early 1400's. In his letter to Piero di Cosimo de'
Medici of Florence dated August 25, 1451, Ardouino da Baesse of Ferra mentions that he received four
pairs of spectacles, and that three of these were for "distance vision." It has also been reported that Pope
Leo X (1475-1521), who was very nearsighted, wore eyeglasses with concave lenses for hunting and
claimed they enabled him to see better than his companions.
Other Highlights in the History of Eyeglasses
1600's Spanish craftsmen create the first eyeglass frame temples. They attach ribbons of silk or
strings to the frame and loop them over the wearer's ears. Spanish and Italian missionaries carry the new
types of eyeglasses to China. The Chinese attach small metal weights to the strings instead of making
The History of Eyeglasses section is credited to: The History of Eyeglasses by eyeTopics
1730 London Optician Edward Scarlett introduces rigid temples that rest atop the wearer's ears.
1752 London medical instruments designer James Ayscough designs spectacles with double-hinged
temples, which become widely popular. He also introduces green and blue tinted lenses to reduce glare.
1784 American Benjamin Franklin invents Bifocal lenses.
1799 Scotsman John McAllister, Sr. opens the first optical shop in America in Philadelphia.
1800 The monocle (first called an eye ring) is introduced in England. Monocles remain popular in
Europe among men in society's upper class throughout the 1800's.
1825 Englishman Sir George Airy designs the first lenses to correct astigmatism.
1826 Trifocal lenses are introduced by John Hawkins - inventor, musician, and engineer of London
1909 Dr. John Borsch, Jr. introduces fused bifocal lenses, making bifocals thinner and more attractive
than Franklin-style bifocals.
1958 Essilor International of France introduces the first progressive multifocal lens, naming it Varilux.