by Lindy Faulkner, ABOC, NCLEC
You might often hear our opticians telling customers that “anyone would be happy to help you!” and it’s true. We take a unique approach to training so that anyone on the dispensary floor can assist you with any question. In addition to expert guidance with frames and lenses the Eyewear Architect can help you set an appointment, adjust your glasses, and a number of other tasks you might find you need help with from day to day. Teamwork is key when it comes to this skillful yet multi-tasking approach, and learning to be an expert optician first and foremost is a big part of this process.
Optician is defined by the Opticians Association of America as “a vision expert; a health professional specially trained to supply, prepare, and dispense optical appliances through interpretations of written prescriptions. An Optician is an integral part of the vision care experience that adheres to exacting standards in order to enhance your vision.” At Eclectic Eye we take this very seriously. In addition to ongoing training we participate in the state licensing process and the national certification testing. This allows us to maintain our high standards every day, while continuing to contribute to the overall protection of an important profession.
One of the first steps to being a great optician is lensometry. Lensometry allows us to verify that the lab supplies your lenses with the correct parameters and it allows us to trouble shoot any issue after the initial dispense. The beginnings of the lensometer coincided with the development of photography. Since both rely on lenses to manipulate light, many of the inventions for photography were used when developing optical equipment. Antoine Claudet invented the photographometer and the focimeter in the late 1840s which allowed him to perfect the art of portraiture. Herman Snellen took this a step further in the 1870s with the invention of the phakometer, which lead to a patent for first projection lensometer in 1922. Since then, the optical industry has improved the technology, but the overall application remains the same.
The lensometer looks like a microscope. To evaluate a lens, an optician will look through the eyepiece and use the dials on the side to focus reticles on a grid to determine if the prescription is correct and that the optical center is as requested. The outside labs we use also check using the same method, but we want to make sure it is exactly as it should be. Once the lenses are cut to fit the frame Chris, our lab guru, checks the lenses on the lensometer again to make sure it is still accurate. There is a small chance of the lens being cut off axis or slipping in the machine during the process which is why we inspect the lenses twice.
Because technology is king, the auto-lensometer came onto the optical scene and provided a faster way to verify prescriptions and fittings. If you’ve had an eye exam at Eclectic Eye you’ve seen us use our auto-lensometer when neutralizing, or reading, your current spectacles during the pre-test portion of the exam. The auto-lensometer is a speedy way to get a base line reading of lens power and general design parameters, however the standard manual lensometer is our go-to when verifying the prescription for your glasses in the lab. The manual component allows for a more exact reading and, in turn, better clarity for the wearer.
Training is on-going at Eclectic Eye to keep all Eyewear Architects up to speed on any optical instrument or process that contributes to our customers getting the perfect pair of glasses. I hoped you enjoyed this behind the scenes look on the rich history of optics and how it contributes to our eyewear today! We’d love to share more with you at our dispensary in midtown.