"OUR focus is YOUR eyesight"


Dispensing of Eye Glasses and Contact Lenses

When do prescriptions expire?
Unless there is a medical contraindication, setting a generic time limit on prescriptions is not justified by medical or health safety reasons. From the perspective of the Opticians of Manitoba (OOM), Opticians are able to dispense eyewear based on any prescription in accordance with the Standards of Practice. Generic expiry dates such as Not valid if over one year old should be regarded as a suggested recall examination date only and not a prohibition from providing eyewear.


The legislated role of opticians pursuant to the Opticians Act includes the dispensing of eye glasses and  contact lenses by opticians and contact lens opticians licensed by the Opticians of Manitoba. Pursuant to the Act however such restrictions may not apply to any duly qualified medical practitioner such as optometrists.

The acts which may also be performed by others such as Registered Students under the supervision of a Licensed Optician or Contact Lens Licensed Optician include:

  • Interpretation of a patient’s prescription for eye wear,
  • Discussion with patients to assess their visual needs and to determine the best options to satisfy their needs,
  • Dispensing of eyeglasses and contact lenses including taking measurements of any kind, fitting, adjusting, repairing or in any way altering a pair of eyeglasses and or contact lenses. All of these acts must be verified by a Licensed Optician/Contact Lens Licensed Optician
  • Providing information specific to the patient’s prescription with regard to lens type, material, coatings etc.
  • Providing specific information about frame choice and compatibility with the prescription.

The following acts which are part of the dispensing process but are not included in the legislated role of opticians and contact lens opticians may be performed by trained but non-licensed optical assistants:

  • assisting patients with the selection of frames and providing comments with regard to aesthetics
  • assisting patients with the selection of sunglasses, Ready Readers, accessories and all other items that are non-prescription
  • working the frame boards to ensure all frames are in their designated location within the frame grid
  • receiving product from the lab and processing the required paperwork
  • placing completed orders into designated trays and preparing them for review and fabrication by the optician
  • taking phone orders for contact lenses and providing the information to the Contact Lens Licensed Optician for processing
  • processing payments and deposits through front end cashier register systems
  • delivering eye wear to patients that has been verified by a Licensed Optician/Contact lens Licensed Optician

Training on insertion and removal of contact lenses can be done by a non- licensed person if they have been adequately trained by a Contact Lens Licensed Optician. The Contact Lens Licensed Optician must however verify with the patient before they leave, that the patient has received the training.

April 21, 2015

[1] NOTE: Dispensing vs Picking up Eyewear –The interpretation of a prescription and dispensing of eyewear, may not be performed in a dispensary by a person who is unlicensed. In the absence however of a Licensed Eye care professional in the dispensary, a non-licensed person may hand over prescription eyewear (including glasses and contact lenses) to a patient if the patient is simply picking up eyewear that has already been verified by a licensed eye care professional.

If patients are picking up glasses they should be told that they have to return to the dispensary at another time when a licensed eye care professional is present and can adjust their eyewear to fit properly on their face.

If patients are picking up contact lenses they should be informed if any follow up appointment is required.


  • For IEPs Directory of Manitoba Opticians News and Events
    Member Login
    Public Awareness campaign