Jun 14, 2024  
2008-2010 Catalog 
2008-2010 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Ophthalmic Dispensing, A.A.S.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Degree & Certificate Programs


Degree: Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code: 5212
Curriculum Code: 0549
Campus Location: North
Health Sciences Division

Pre-Admission Recommendations: 2 years Math
Recommended High School Courses and/or Experiences: Math II, Gen. Science
Career Opportunities/Further Education: Opticians, Optometrist, Large and Small Independent Offices, Health Maintenance Organizations, Wholesale Sales


Program Description

Ophthalmic Dispensers (Opticians) are licensed professionals who dispense eyeglasses and/or contact lenses to the public from prescriptions written by eye doctors.

With the increase in the nation’s population and the aging of the baby boomer generation, the demand for ophthalmic dispensing services and a trained corps of ophthalmic professionals has risen. This demand exists in private businesses, health maintenance organizations, nationwide chain store operations, professional eye care offices and in other areas including ophthalmic sales, supply and laboratories.

The program’s objectives are to provide the necessary theoretical and practical training to enable students to pass New York State licensing exams, to meet national certification criteria and to be prepared to take exams, if desired, in any of the 24 states that have ophthalmic licensing exams.

Classroom lecture and laboratory training involves the careful selection, measuring and fitting of eyewear and lenses unique to each person. Laboratory skills also include the actual fabrication of eyewear. In the case of contact lenses, the use of sophisticated instruments and evaluation techniques are used to design and dispense contact lenses to each individual.

Students will be trained in the use of computers to maintain patient histories and prescription requirements. To complement their classroom and laboratory training, students will participate in an externship at participating doctor’s offices and dispensing facilities. Second year students gain purposeful clinical experience through supervised participation in the community eye clinic which offers eye examinations and prescription eyeglasses to those in need in the community.

Upon graduation of the program students participate in credentialing exams administered by the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners and state licensure exams through the Office of Professions, New York State Education Department.

Department Note

Students must maintain a 2.00 QPA in all ophthalmic courses


Commission on Opticianry Accreditation

Special Admission Requirements/Prerequisite

  • Applicant must be a high school graduate
  • Applicants should have at least 75 percent high school average
  • Transfer students must have an overall QPA of 2.0 to gain admittance to this program
  • Advance transfer credit for general education or professional courses in which a “C” or above was earned may be arranged when course descriptions match ECC courses
  • In addition to tuition, students will be responsible for paying for a set of ophthalmic tools, liability insurance and a name tag for use in off-campus clinical work
  • Students are responsible for providing transportation to off campus fieldwork sites utilized for general dispensing practice course
  • Exceptions to the above criteria may be made for returning adult students and for those currently working in the field


The following scholarships are awarded to the Ophthalmic Dispensing student population annually:

  • NYSSO Student Scholarship, $250; sponsored by the New York State Society of Opticians
  • NFOS College Bowl Accommodations Award; sponsored by National Federation of Opticianry Schools.
  • Joseph George Optical Scholarship, $250; sponsored by Joseph George Optical through ECC Foundation
  • Lenscrafters Scholarships, $500; sponsored by Lenscrafters, Inc.
  • Student Grant Award of $100 and Corneal Reflection Pupilometer sponsored by Essilor of America
  • Richard Terry Memorial Scholarship, $250; sponsored by friends of Dick Terry
  • Optical Society of Western NY, $200; College Bowl Travel Award; sponsored by the Optical Society of WNY.

Students are encouraged to participate in additional academic scholarship award contests provided on a local and national basis. Scholarships are available to matriculated students only.

Program Competencies

Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing, the graduate will be able to:

  • Determine patient needs, make frame and lens type recommendations and illustrate and demonstrate the use and application of the appropriate ophthalmic products to fulfill the patient’s visual requirements
  • Detect and verify prescription irregularities by applying knowledge of ophthalmic terminology and principles of refraction
  • Perform ophthalmic and medical history taking and basic ophthalmic screening procedures demonstrating proper utilization of ophthalmic instrumentation and procedures
  • Demonstrate eyewear fabrication laboratory skills within American National Standards Institute standards
  • Use instrumentation and other empirical methods to determine appropriate contact lens type and lens design ensuring ocular integrity, patient comfort and good visual acuity
  • Conduct a diagnostic contact lens evaluation based on patient’s prescription and keratometric readings and determine the need for modification of lens design
  • Conduct oneself in a professional and ethical manner by adhering to ethical standards, being courteous, demonstrating proper manners and professional demeanor
  • Participate in the New York State licensing examination for Ophthalmic Dispenser and Contact Lens Fitter and the National American Board of Opticianry Certification Exam and the National Contact Lens Examiners Registry Exam
  • Comply with all safety and environmental regulations relative to fabrication, dispensing, contact lens laboratories and clinics


Total Degree Credits: 65.5

First Year, Fall Semester


* i.e. AN 102, PS 100, HU 100, SO 100.

The student must also demonstrate proficiency in algebra at the level of MT 013.

NOTE: This is a recommended sequence. Student should consult his/her academic advisor prior to registering.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Degree & Certificate Programs