Community and Health


Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician

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Helping or advisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5Skill Level 6

An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats diseases, injuries and deficiencies of the eye.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has undertaken additional specialist training in the diagnosis and management of disorders of the eye and visual system. Future Growth Very StrongAn ophthalmologist is both physician and surgeon who diagnoses, treats and prevents diseases of the eye. The surgical work of the general ophthalmologist may include cataract extraction, squint and glaucoma surgery, retinal, oculoplastic and nasolacrimal surgery.

ANZSCO ID& description: 253914: Provides diagnostic, treatment and preventative medical services related to diseases, injuries and deficiencies of the human eye and associated structures. Registration or licensing is required. eye exam

Alternative names: Eye Specialist, Eye Surgeon, Medical Ophthalmologist

Specialisations: Clinical Cytopathologist, Forensic Pathologist, Immunologist

Knowledge, skills and attributes

An ophthalmologist needs:

  • intellect to demonstrate thorough knowledge of ophthalmology and the inter-relationships between medical disciplines

  • hand-eye dexterity

  • to be detail oriented and well organised

  • to be a team player with leadership capabilities

  • to perform well under stress

  • to be personable and patient

  • able to communicate and empathise with patients

  • to enjoy working with patients of all ages who are generally healthy with specific eye problems

  • to like a patient mix of both surgical and medical problems

Duties and Tasks

  • Read patient's history

  • Examine patients and determine whether surgery is necessary

  • Consults with anaesthetists about the operation and the patient's treatment

  • Gives instructions about preparing patients for operating theatres

  • Performs and manages operations

  • Provides instructions for post-operative care

  • Monitors patients after surgery

  • Keeps medical records and sends final reports to general practitioners

  • May teach trainees

Working conditions

Ophthalmologists can work in operating theatres, out- patient clinics and increasingly in community care settings. There may be extensive periods when an ophthalmologist works in low level lighting.

There may be times when an ophthalmologist is required to work extra hours and be on-call although out of hours work is generally not as demanding as other specialities and night work is not typical.

Many ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific research into causes and cures for eye diseases and vision problems.

Tools and technologies

Ophthalmology continues to incorporate new technology including optical instrumentation, lasers and microsurgical instrumentation. The advances in technology, drugs and techniques have led to development of new process and a rapidly changing job role.

Education and training/entrance requirements

Ophthalmology training equips eye specialists to provide the full spectrum of eye care, including the prescription of glasses and contact lenses, medical treatment and complex microsurgery.

To become an ophthalmologist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in ophthalmology. These degrees usually take four years to complete. Entry requirements include completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline. You must also sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and attend an interview at your chosen institution.

In Australia and New Zealand, an ophthalmologist is required to have undertaken a minimum of 12 years of training, including:

  • 5 years at a medical school, graduating with a degree in medicine,

  • 2 years (minimum) as a newly qualified doctor undertaking basic medical training,

  • 5 years of ophthalmic specialist training and successful completion of examinations set by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO).

On completion of the postgraduate medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency). To then specialise in ophthalmology, doctors can apply to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.

Did You Know?

What is the difference between an ophthalmologist, optometrist and orthoptist?

All are eye care professionals, but only an ophthalmologist is a medically trained specialist.


Optometrists examine eyes, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe and fit glasses or contact lenses.


 If eye disease is detected, an optometrist will refer patients to an ophthalmologist for further management. In certain circumstances, ophthalmologists and optometrists work collaboratively in the care of patients, especially those with chronic eye diseases.

The typical training for an optometrist in Australia and New Zealand includes:

5 years at university leading to a degree in optometry.
1 year of pre-registration experience.


Orthoptists are allied health professionals who are trained to diagnose and manage disorders of eye movements and associated vision problems. They are also trained to perform investigative testing of eye diseases. They work in a diverse range of settings, including hospitals, private practices, low vision and rehabilitation settings and research centres.

Orthoptic training is undertaken in a 4 year Bachelor of Health Sciences/ Master of Orthoptics university degree. (Source: Australian Society of Ophthalmologists)

Small boy


Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician
Community and Health

Practical or MechanicalClerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 3Skill Level 4

An ophthalmic laboratory technician, commonly referred to as an optical technician, is an eye wear specialist whose job it is to make prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses as well as lenses for binoculars and other optical devices. While many steps in the production process have been automated, there are some tasks that still require the expertise of a technician. Future Growth Strong

They fill prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists, ensuring that the lenses refract light at the proper angle to permit optimal vision.

ANZSCO ID: 311299
Alternative names: Opthalmic Laboratory Technician, Optical Technician, Ophthalmic Technician, Ophthalmic Medical Technologist,

Specialisations: You may also specialise in making, servicing or repairing binoculars, telescopes and scientific optical equipment.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

To become an opthalmic laboratory technician, you would need:

  • good numeracy skills
  • an interest in science and physics
  • good eyesight
  • excellent accuracy and attention to detail
  • time management skills
  • an understanding of and ability to handle specialist optical equipment
  • detail-oriented with excellent dexterity
  • strong written and verbal communication skills

3D eye measurements
Rodenstock’s DNEye technology has been available in Australia since 2018 and is used for high-precision 3D eye measurement
(Source: Insight News)

Duties and Tasks

  • Collect and study detailed work orders and prescriptions for ophthalmic equipment, such as contact lenses and eyeglasses, and determine which manual and automatic equipment to use in the manufacturing process
  • Follow prescriptions from optometrists or opthamologists
  • Cut, polish and grind lenses using specialist tools
  • Use a coating machine to add protective or other coatings to lenses
  • Inspect lenses for quality, detect flaws and check smoothness
  • Use and maintain specialist machines
  • Verify lenses against set prescription powers
  • Shapes and inset lenses into spectacle frames
  • Polish finished products.
  • Determine proper specifications and settings for laboratory equipment, including requirements for additional tools or attachments, to efficiently and accurately fulfill work orders
  • Use manual and computer-aided tools to form, shape and modify materials as necessary to create customized lenses and optical devices
  • Measure and examine finished lenses to determine compliance with work order requirements, and repair any defects or issues by polishing, shaping or remaking material as needed
  • Inspect completed products for functionality and appearance, and complete shipping and documentation tasks according to standardized procedures
  • Collaborate with laboratory personnel and ophthalmologists to develop new procedures for improving fit, effectiveness and comfort of eyeglasses, contact lenses and other optical devices
  • Complete repair work orders by choosing optimal repair procedure or manufacturing replacement equipment to meet order requirements and maintain laboratory efficiency
  • Participate in on-the-job training to become proficient with all laboratory equipment, and then train new laboratory technicians

Working conditions

As as ophthalmic laboratory technician, you would usually work a standard number of hours per week.

You would be based in a laboratory. You would handle some solvents and chemicals and wear necessary protective clothing and equipment.

Tools and technologies

  • Cut, polish and grind lenses using specialist tools
  • Use a coating machine to add protective or other coatings to lenses

AHS Careers -- Ophthalmic Medical Technologist



Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an opthalmic laboratory technician you would usually have to complete a VET qualification in Optical Technology.

You could also become an opthalmic technology technician by gaining a traineeship in optical technology. Generally, employers require a senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, maths and physics would be appropriate subjects to study at school.

Employment Opportunities

Employment of opthalmic laboratory technicians is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, an ageing population will lead to more people wearing corrective lenses, and therefore greater employment opportunities for opthalmic laboratory technicians. The frequent use of computers and hand-held technology devices is also leading to more vision problems which need to be corrected in younger people.

The joy of being an ophthalmic technician



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