188 Dispensing Opticians make up 20% of all health care practitioners, registered with Optometrist and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB) holding an annual practising certificate. 80% are optometrists.
There is one scope of practice for all Dispensing Opticians registered within New Zealand. Our code of practice can be accessed here The code of practice covers
The scope of practice is the same for all Dispensing Opticians: italics“Optical Dispensing describes the practice of the interpreting and dispensing of optical prescriptions by a person with a recognized qualification. This includes the giving of advice and instruction in the dispensing of spectacle lenses, spectacle frames (including their fitting), contact lenses, and any other optical device intended for correction of a defect to sight”. O&DO Board New Zealand Gazette, no.25 – 9 March 2017
Dispensing Opticians are not permitted to fit contact lenses, refract or become a registered Low Vision specialist. The majority hold a level 4 certificate in Optical Dispensing, the remainder largely hold the FBDO qualification.
The Board is a statutory authority set up under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act) to ensure that optometrists and dispensing opticians are competent and fit to practise their professions. Our Vision: Safe and effective vision care for all members of the public Our Mission: To protect the health and safety of members of the public through an effective framework of regulation that ensures optometrists and dispensing opticians are competent and fit to practise their professions Our Values: When carrying out its functions and activities the Board has many values.
Some of its key values are:
(i) Integrity (ii) Respect (iii) Transparency (iv) Accountability (v) Fairness
The Association of Dispensing Opticians of New Zealand(ADONZ) offers its members many benefits and the opportunity to stay in touch with their profession through newsletters, social events, educational workshops and conferences. ADONZ CPD events are free to members.
ADONZ organises an annual conference where we attract speakers from around the world and host Gala evening which includes awards, dinner and dancing. Conference fees are at a greatly reduced cost to members. Membership is voluntary, with 154 members accounting for 82% of registered DO’s in NZ. We have 59 student members currently.
All training is done whilst employed in practice as a trainee dispensing optician. The course is conducted online as distance learning with required attendance at practical block training.
The course material is generally supplied by Australian education providers, currently ACOD – Australasian College of Optical Dispensing. The practical block training is supported by Opti-Blocks which is a subsidiary of ADONZ. This means that the quality of the education is audited and approved by New Zealand registered education providers, with three decades experience in training New Zealands Dispensing Opticians.
Dispensing Opticians work in practice, both independent and corporate chain, as DOs, managers and business owners. Dispensing Opticians are represented in private Ophthalmology clinics and the Optometry school at the University of Auckland. DOs can be found as frame sales representatives, spectacle lens sales consultants, working in labs and as contact lens reps.
The challenges in NZ are the limited number of registered DOs which means relatively high fees. A limited scope of practice is a frustration although with higher levels of education available this is not necessarily a dead end.
We definitely punch above our weight here in New Zealand. We have a robust continuing education program, we have a conference that is envied by visitors who attend and we have retained our status as health care practitioners whilst our Australian neighbours have not.
Topic: Country spotlight