Spotlight on ... New Zealand

Spotlight on ... New Zealand

How many opticians are there in New Zealand?

198 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

  • Standards of clinical competence
  • Standards of cultural competence
  • Standards of ethical conduct
  • Additional – Statement on release and receipt of patient information

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.

Craig Robertson New Zealand Dispensing Optician

What are the optical organisations in your country?

The Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board

ODOB logo

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 logo

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.

ADONZ has 174 full members and a very impressive 82 student members.

Sarah Bycroft New Zealand Dispensing Optician

How do opticians receive their training in your country?

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.

Tell us a bit about being an optician in your country: where do most opticians work and what sort of work do they do?

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.

Simon Barradell New Zealand Dispensing Optician

What are the current challenges for opticians in your country?

The challenges faced by opticians in New Zealand is the large number of people dispensing who are unqualified which affects perception of the industry. This is in a country where our title is protected, but customer expectations can be low as they are exposed to staff without even a moderate amount of training.

What are the biggest achievements for opticians in your country?

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.

A key achievement for opticians in New Zealand is maintaining registration as Health Care Practitioners status in a profession under attack from outside and inside the industry.

If people want to find out more about training as an optician in your country, what website can they visit?

The Australasian College of Optical Dispensing

ACOD logo

If people want to find out about working as an optician in your country, what website can they visit?

The Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board

The Association of Dispensing Opticians of New Zealand

Topic: Country spotlight