Connect with us

Buzz Session

We Asked ECPs Their Thoughts on Professional Licensing and the Future of Refraction

And just like state opticianry requirements, your opinions were all over the place.





In three sentences or less: What is your hot take on professional licensing and where refraction falls in the future of optometry and/or opticianry?
  • Optometric licensing is archaic. — Dr. Paul M., Manasquan, NJ
  • Consumers will drive the profession to accept disruptive refracting technology. ECPs that are positioned to use this new tech to improve their customers’ experience will come out ahead. The anxiety inducing part is lacking the imagination to see how new tech will be harnessed. — Vlad C., Hackensack, NJ
  • As an optician in a licensed state, I believe that the standards should be the same across the country. And not just the requirement of a license, but the same requirements to obtain that license, because even that varies from state to state. I think it only discredits our industry to have such variances for the same position. That wouldn’t happen for ODs, so why does it happen to LDOs? — Christine H., Plainville, MA
  • Licensing is being attacked by big box. Cheaper labor but more sophisticated lens choices make cheap labor expensive. — Carol M., Canandaigua, NY
  • Refraction will become more computerized with the development of technology and telehealth medicine. — Danielle D., Detroit, MI
  • I’m currently in a licensed state and like the idea of having to go through schooling/apprenticeship/testing to acquire that license. Though I love my optometrist, I’m excited about the possibility of opticians preforming refractions in the future. — Maggie C., Winston Salem, NC
  • I believe that the words professional and licensing go hand-in-hand. Professionals have credentials because of education and some kind of licensure. Therefore, if you really want to call yourself a professional, you should definitely make that effort. I feel like optometry serves refraction best and if opticians stepped up their professionalism game, they would also level the playing field with the other Os and everyone could work in coordination. — Nikki G., Oakdale, MN
  • Tennessee ODs are lobbying make sure refracting stays in their domain. I’m more concerned with online exams. There’s no way they’re able to diagnose and treat eye issues and the patients have no idea that they’re being cheated out if genuine healthcare. They just want to save a dollar. — Scary stuff. Cindy H., Hixson, TN
  • I personally like to perform my own refraction as an optometrist. It gives me a lot of insight into the patients visual system. How they respond, what they can see, all of those are an important part of the puzzle. — Cynthia S., Lewis Center, OH
  • I believe professional licensing is a must for our profession as we work primarily with medical devices. Licensing protects our profession AND keeps us accountable to the public. As for refraction, this is a “nice to know” skill, but not a priority for me. — Pablo M., Atlanta, GA
  • Optometrists should have reciprocity and, if either profession doesn’t protect their licenses, refraction will move onto your smart phone in the future. — Marc U., Pine Beach, NJ
  • I think ODs are feeling like opticians did when online shops were having patients download their own PD stick and take their own measurements. We’ve had patients come in for a refraction but instead left with an appointment with a neurologist due to our doctors discovering other issues. I worry serious conditions could be missed by “refraction only” appointments. — Lorie F., Bakersfield, CA
  • I wish that all states were on the same page when it comes to licensing. I’m personally not licensed, but I take pride in always continuing my education and staying up to date on all new trends, materials and treatments. I do plan to get my ABO certification. — Sophia P., Huntley, IL
  • Best profits are in optical not in medical. Medical can supplement optical but not the other way around. Costco and Walmart have thriving opticals. — Texas S., Citrus Heights, CA
  • All states should have licensing and allow opticians to refract. — Dorothy R., Fairfield, CT
  • Licensing is no guarantee of but improves the knowledge base of those dispensing glasses and contact lenses in order to best serve the public. Better troubleshooting skills when some knowledge of optics is there. Refraction? If a tech can be trained in a few days to refract, opticians should have the right to refract as well. — Robin M., Ft. Myers, FL
  • Optometry is teaching its way out of refractive services as it embraces the medical model. Having graduated a number of years ago, I enjoy providing all services licensed for but especially QUALITY refractions! — Dave S., San Luis Obispo, CA
  • We need reciprocity with all states. Refraction is still an art and an integral part of optometry. — Richard F., Wildwood, NJ
  • With professional licensing there needs to be a standard across all states and mandatory ongoing continuing education requirements. Refraction is an art and not an “on the job” skill that has been taught. — Sonja F., Austin, TX
  • Refraction is a professional service, it cannot be automated. — Bethany C., Holland, MI
  • With the increase in online refractions, I think that it won’t be long before opticians and possibly others will be licensed to refract. — Kimberly R., Ligonier, PA
  • I think it comes down to a larger question: Is opticianry a professional designation in the class of MD, OD, JD? Is it possible to envision opticianry as a trade? I personally lean toward trade and craft which makes sense given I promote frame making as a path to success and ownership in the industry. — Kevin C., Glenview, IL
  • Refraction is going to become a cheapened service as we see more and more remote/telehealth/app services… Very similar to how opticianry has changed over time. Licensing is not going be the reliable solution that makes the difference, but proper staff education WILL be. On an individual practice level, word-of-mouth (i.e. having a solid local reputation) will take care of the rest. vJen H., Sandpoint, ID
  • I feel that it would be a valuable asset to our license and equate us as more important to the optical industry as a whole. — Chris C., Panama City, FL
  • Professional licensing needs to stay in this field! We as a society are becoming too relaxed on everything. We need to convey the integrity and importance of education and standards in this profession and licensing shows just that. — Jennifer L., Dansville, NY
  • Licensing for opticians isn’t required in my state, I definitely see the benefits in requiring licensing though. I believe refractions should mainly stay within the bounds of an OD. — Morgan D., Carmi, IL
  • Refraction is an art as well as a science, it requires individuals who have professional training and licensing to create the Rx. — Lisa S., Vancouver, WA
  • I think professional licensing is very important for the safety and health of our patients, as well as the ability to perform our jobs. I think refractions should be performed by a qualified person, not just an autorefraction machine. — Kelsey B., Winston Salem, NC
  • In my area, almost every doctor seems to be moving towards medical and the uptick in rechecks over the last few years is painful. I believe there should be a licensure for opticians to be able to refract much like there is in so many other countries. Often times techs are doing the refracting for these doctors and they don’t have the experience to know what these changes are going to do in the final pair of glasses. — Travis L., Logan, UT
  • I’m in a state that doesn’t require opticians to be certified. I think refractions should be left in the hands of the doctor. — Nick S., Frisco, TX
  • The turf war between MDs and ODs has for the most part relegated opticians to the sidelines. In my opinion, refractions should be open to all three licensed eyecare professionals. A refraction is not rocket science. — Amie R., Spring Hill, TN
  • I think we should also focus on what we do best. As an optician it would be helpful to be able to over-refract the OD/MD refraction, when so many of them don’t check what their tech did. It could cut down on remakes. — Jennifer Y., Canandaigua, NY
  • I took and passed the ABO exam in 1979 even though Missouri doesn’t have licensing for opticians. It’s been proposed several times through the years but one of the other Os kept shooting it down (They didn’t want us dispensing contacts). I believe opticians with proper training would do great refractions. — Robert L., Jefferson City, MO
  • Refractions are already delegated. Understanding what to look for when a patient can’t see 20/20 by refraction is a skill that requires differential diagnosis provided by physicians. — Ben T., Miami, FL
  • I like licensing. Refraction’s future lies in the level of importance we place on customizing the eyewear that is generated from that data. — Mark C., Pittsburgh, PA
  • Professional licensing is good for the industry along with the patients. — Ron C., The Villages, FL
  • Quickly thinking, I think people should be encouraged to see the doctor. If needing glasses is the only reason they come in then I think the refraction should remain doctor signed. — Jocelyn M., Lancaster, MA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.



The Best Overall Progressive Lens, Now Powered by AI

Engineered with Behavioral Artificial Intelligence and utilizing new XR-motion™ technology, Varilux XR series goes beyond prescription and eye physiology to consider the patient’s visual behavior and design a progressive lens that respects how
their eyes naturally move.

Varilux XR series comes in two versions, Varilux® XR design and Varilux® XR track. The Varilux XR track lens provides an additional level of personalization by incorporating the exclusive Near Vision Behavior Measurement, providing up to 25% more near vision width3 according to the patient’s need, so patients get the highest level of customization.

Discover Varilux XR series and enjoy instantly sharp vision in motion4 and seamless transitions from near to far.

For more information, visit here.

Promoted Headlines





Get the most important news and business ideas for eyecare professionals every weekday from INVISION.



Most Popular