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Opticians Association of Virginia Responds To JLARC’S Deregulation Recommendations


  1. The Commonwealth licenses and regulates Opticians to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the citizens and consumers in Virginia. The laws enacting this regulation and oversight have been in place since 1954.  Since that time, technology has increased the available lens options for filling prescriptions more than tenfold, making a licensing process more necessary than ever.


  1. An Optician’s scope of practice is more than simply transferring numbers from a doctor’s prescription to an order form. Opticians are specifically educated to accurately evaluate and interpret an eyeglass or contact lens prescription to ensure the patient received the fullest benefit from their eye exam and refraction, based upon many factors, including occupation, sports played, and general lifestyle.


  1. Licensing and regulating the practice of Opticianry ensures a minimum level of training and expertise through formal college level or post-secondary education, hands-on experience and examinations covering all aspects of the profession including the manufacturing, fitting and dispensing of eyeglasses and contact lenses.


  1. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles places restrictions on visually challenged drivers’ licenses which legally require the driver to wear properly made corrective eyewear or contacts lenses. Opticians are educated and regulated to provide the appropriate eyewear for all restricted visual needs including commercial vehicle operators, pilots, public transportation operators, and both safety and protective eyewear as required by many professions.


  1. Children with visual challenges are disadvantaged in classroom and after school activities without proper eyewear. This is especially true for children in low income families.  Opticians are educated to inform parents on the necessity of both impact resistant lenses and sports specific eyewear to protect the safety and wellness of their children’s vision.


  1. Opticians in Virginia are required to adhere to legislated regulations, therefore, the practice of Opticianry remains independent and outside of any other commercial influence.  This independence allows opticians to be advocates for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth.