The teachers’ guide to careers in eyecare

The optical world is less well known than other branches of healthcare. But it offers a range of rewarding careers, for people with all kinds of talents and interests.

Some roles offer recruits the chance to earn while they learn, while qualifications include apprenticeships, diplomas or degrees.

From healthcare to fashion, technology to retail, management, design or manufacturing, there’s an eyecare role for everyone. We’ve got a whole host of resources for students and teachers. 

Careers in eyecare lesson plan 

This lesson on eyecare careers linked to STEM is for students in Year 10 and takes an hour. 

Career options

What is a dispensing optician (DO)?

A dispensing optician (DO) advises on, fits and supplies the most appropriate spectacles after taking account of each person’s visual, lifestyle and vocational needs. Find more information, including typical salaries, here.

What is an ophthalmologist? 

Ophthalmologists are qualified doctors and surgeons who diagnose and treat patients with diseases of the eye and visual system. Find more information about careers in surgery here.

What is an optometrist? 

An optometrist is a primary health care specialist trained to examine the eyes to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases or abnormality and treat some eye conditions. Further information including typical salaries here.

What is an optical assistant? 

Optical assistants welcome customers, helping them choose the right products for eyecare and eyewear. They may play a role in healthcare, under supervision, such as completing eye health screenings.

What is an optical technician? 

Laboratory technicians are trained to make and glaze spectacles. They may be attached to an opticians’ practice or work in a laboratory that has a range of customers. Find out more about the role of an optical technician.

What is a lens designer? 

A lens designer works for an eyewear company, creating new products or technologies based on detailed research. Find out more about lens design here.  

What is an orthoptist?

Orthoptists diagnose and manage a range of conditions that affect eye movement and visual development, such as squint. They study the role of the brain in controlling the eyes. 

For more information, including typical salaries, see National Careers Service 

Other eyecare careers

Find even more roles here.  

Further resources: