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An Optician retailers specialises in providing eye tests to the general public and will dispense prescriptions to those who require spectacles or contact lenses. They will not perform any medical tests, however they will alert patients of any early medical conditions and refer them on. Some opticians will also design and fit special appliances to correct any cosmetic or traumatic defects; these are called shells or artificial eyes.
An opticians can be located in a number of places, mainly as an independent practice as either part of the NHS or private. However they are often placed in retail stores, hospitals or eye care centres. Joint practices also exist where an opticians will join with an ophthalmologist.
There is becoming an increasing demand for glasses and contact lenses due to the ageing population, therefore job growth within the industry is more secure than other professions.