Jobs Outlook: Opticians, Dispensing

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Employment of dispensing opticians is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through 2014 as demand grows for corrective lenses. The number of middle-aged and elderly persons is projected to increase rapidly. Middle age is a time when many individuals use corrective lenses for the first time, and elderly persons generally require more vision care than others. Fashion also influences demand. Frames come in a growing variety of styles and colors—encouraging people to buy more than one pair.

Increasing awareness of laser surgery that corrects some vision problems will have an impact on demand for eyewear. Although the surgery remains relatively more expensive than eyewear, patients who successfully undergo this surgery may not require glasses or contact lenses for several years.

The need to replace those who leave the occupation will result in additional job openings. Nevertheless, the number of job openings will be limited because the occupation is small. Dispensing opticians are vulnerable to changes in the business cycle, because eyewear purchases often can be deferred for a time.

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