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Thread: Is Opticianry Dead?

  1. #1
    OptiWizard
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    Is Opticianry Dead?

    Is Opticianry dead?

    Why?


    Why not?

    Discussion.......

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder
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    We are at a precarious place in our history. If we do not improve in many areas, we will continue to mean less and less in the marketplace. It takes little to no preparation to become an Optician (27 states require a pulse) and the level of knowledge continues to decline due to this continuing love of the antiquated apprenticeship system to train the majoriity who enter. This system was replaced decades ago by every other health-related group EXCEPT us. Why, because in this technological age, it has been clearly shown to be an ineffective and inefficient method. We must formally educate and train our people to gain a better understanding of the field. Unfortunately many Opticians do not know what they do not know because they have never been exposed to much of it. Opticians can expand our roles and become more than we are, but it will not be given to us. We must work towards higher standards and have the vision to move forward. My son and daughter-in-law have just entered Opticianry school, and I am proud they are following me. I want them to succeed, and know there will always be a place for folks to dispense eyeglasses, but I want more for them and the future Optician than just that paycheck. We were once on a higher plane, and I want to see us get back there. It is up to us.
    Last edited by wmcdonald; 09-15-2011 at 11:29 AM.

  3. #3
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Opticians have to provide added value that both their employer and their customers recognize, appreciate and are willing to pay for.

    No amount of certification/education/scope of practice increase will ever replace this fundamental, especially now with online encroaching.

    I'm not at all trivializing what Dr. McDonald and others are tryin to do. IMHO, there are more than a few ingredients to our recipe of survival.

    B

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    Master OptiBoarder
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    I agree, Barry, but to quantify that is very subjective. Until we legitimize urselves in every jurisdiction in America we will have little say in what happens around the country, unlike pharmacy, nursing, dental hygeine and everyone else EXCEPT us. Customer service is important everywhere, but the others got it, while wew continue to wallow in mediocrity.

  5. #5
    Just An Optician jediron1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    I agree, Barry, but to quantify that is very subjective. Until we legitimize urselves in every jurisdiction in America we will have little say in what happens around the country, unlike pharmacy, nursing, dental hygeine and everyone else EXCEPT us. Customer service is important everywhere, but the others got it, while wew continue to wallow in mediocrity.

    When you continue to get places like the Evil Empire and your Big Boxes trivializing the need to get a license then you get a populace that says I'm only dealing with a clerk who hasn't a clue on what there doing. Look at my area, the Empire has gone out of it's way to hire non-licensed RM's and intentionally telling them to get rid of the experienced help. When you do that instead of having a place where knowledge is passed down from master you have an area that is getting to the point of almost extinction. The baby boomers
    the largest segment of people who are retiring or thinking about it are basically th
    e people who are know being shifted out of a position by people who couldn't tell a PD sti
    ck from Slap stick. When you start to have shortages because of short sited corporate elit
    es who only think of the short term on filling there pockets and not for the long term out come as the industry as a whole!
    Last edited by jediron1; 09-13-2011 at 01:04 PM.

  6. #6
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Big box retailers only control our profession to the extent that we allow them to. Stop feeding them and force their products back into their locations alone. Demand college education as the only acceptable education requirement for admission to state board examinations. Refuse to hire "opticians" who are not properly educated. Make the effort to strengthen state and national Optician-centric associations by being an active member. Educate your customers on what it is that you do and why you do it better than anyone else. Never stop learning.

  7. #7
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    jediron1 has a point, and I loved the old masters as much as anyone. Unfortunately, there are no more of those, and if there were, the technology has grown to the point where it is almost impossible to impart the material in that fashion.

    CuriousCat is correct. We control our destiny and can improve, and the vehicle we need is education. The pharmacists work in big-box stores, but still advance their educational levels, and so can we. It is not going to be easy, but we can do it!
    Last edited by wmcdonald; 09-15-2011 at 11:30 AM.

  8. #8
    OptiWizard anthonyf1509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CuriousCat:398006
    Demand college education as the only acceptable education requirement for admission to state board examinations. Refuse to hire "opticians" who are not properly educated. Make the effort to strengthen state and national Optician-centric associations by being an active member. Educate your customers on what it is that you do and why you do it better than anyone else. Never stop learning.
    Agree and slightly disagree. My father never finished high school, he could teach and pass any and every exam/certification so college degree wouldn't be necessary--yet preferred and an advantage, but shouldn't DQ someone. It really only takes the drive and want in learning. If he/she doesn't have it or display it - Bye Bye! I might be harsh but it's my sports background that helps drive me. I'm a master motivater (@ least in my mind ;)

    "Be more concerned over the things you can control, than those you cannot and you'll be most successful."

    Opticianry isn't dead...it just doesn't exist at Big Box or Joe Schmoes. I don't care what they're doing down the street or wherever I can't control. Opticianry is alive for those who care, put the time in and make a difference...especially us in positions to hire etc.

  9. #9
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Anthony, I can agree with you absolutely. However, at some point Opticianry has to set the bar for education and as the older master Opticians retire from the field, there is no better time to move to the college-based education model. I am a relative old-timer in the industry and I have seen changes that back in the very early '70's would have been unthinkable. As our technology advances, so should our education requirements.

  10. #10
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Mandating a college diploma before sitting for a state boatd exam is a non-sequitur for me. Keeping in place a 100 question, multiple choice test that does not vett competance and accomplishment is a ripe target to begin on.

    Sure, if I made the test, fewer would pass. But all who did would bring reall value to any place they work.
    And bring back the friggin' practical exam...this is a craft-field!

    B

  11. #11
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    Anybody see the selling opportunity here? If you can't differentiate yourself from those who don't know how to fit a pair of frames, sell AR or listen to a patient's optical ergonomics, etc., then your merely competing on price and will lose the sale to the cheapest shop in town anyway. We are the only shop in town of 20 ODs with dispensaries, 7 of which are real optical shops. that does not take insurance, has never had a 'sale' (since we opened 04/07), doesn't carry a Luxotica product and doesn't discount...And we're doing great. What sets us apart is service, precision and passion for optics. In short we like what we do.

    I employ and have learned from an optical master (50+ years) and I don't give a whip about licensing and formal education. How many times has a client asked if you are certified or licensed? Share your knowledge, demonstrate your skill, don't sell yourself short and optical bliss will follow.
    Bman :shiner:

  12. #12
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    Before the Big Boxes we had the OD's. The OMD's used to be our supporter and we thiers. Then the OMD's decided to dispense, have tech's refract, and cosyed up to the OD's for surgical referrals. The OD's cosyed up to the OMD's for referral fees and post surgical follow-ups.
    We opticians never had any money and very little political clout. Both the OD's and the OMD's had plenty of both, not to mention a certificercat, and a license.
    When we lost the support of the OMD's we lost what little leverage we had.
    So yes, we are at least dying.


    Chip

  13. #13
    bilateral peripheral scotoma LandLord's Avatar
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    This is the most true statement in the thread: "Opticians have to provide added value that both their employer and their customers recognize, appreciate and are willing to pay for." -Barry Santini

    To answer the original question, opticianry was never really alive to begin with outside the consciousness of opticians. The public has still not learned what an optician is. (They think it means optometrist).

    Sadly, the business model of opening a shop, and waiting for an Rx to walk in... that business model is dead.

    Opticianry can thrive but it will take a business mentality, not a political mentality. In the political arena, optometry, big box and internet have way more power and visibility than opticianry.

    In the business arena, the playing field is level. Not even, but level. It will take strategic, out of the box thinking to win money, power and prestige.
    Last edited by LandLord; 09-13-2011 at 07:52 PM. Reason: Why do I need a reason?
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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    Just An Optician jediron1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chip anderson View Post
    Before the Big Boxes we had the OD's. The OMD's used to be our supporter and we thiers. Then the OMD's decided to dispense, have tech's refract, and cosyed up to the OD's for surgical referrals. The OD's cosyed up to the OMD's for referral fees and post surgical follow-ups.
    We opticians never had any money and very little political clout. Both the OD's and the OMD's had plenty of both, not to mention a certificercat, and a license.
    When we lost the support of the OMD's we lost what little leverage we had.
    So yes, we are at least dying.


    Chip


    I agree Chip! But what most failed to see or comment on was I listed the Evil Empire as number 1 and the Big Boxes 2! What they fail to see is the Empire is hard at work to desensitize the public to the fact you don't need a license because the OD is there, so by process of elimination you get rid of the licensed opticians and put in non licensed sales clerks or frame stylist. Why do you think the Empire hires RM's that have the optical knowledge of a Dodo bird and hire store managers with so little optical knowledge that if it wasn't serious it would be down right laughable.

  15. #15
    bilateral peripheral scotoma LandLord's Avatar
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    "Why do you think the Empire hires RM's that have the optical knowledge of a Dodo bird and hire store managers with so little optical knowledge that if it wasn't serious it would be down right laughable."

    Presumably because the Empire wants managers that have managing skills. Eyeglass sales skills can be had much cheaper. I don't agree with it, but at least its better than the internet.
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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    Optiwizard making films Audiyoda's Avatar
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    Historically the opticians roll has certainly been diminished - but then I think all rolls in optics have been diminished in various ways.
    • The three O's used to live together nicely. The patient went to the Optometrist for the Rx, went to the Optician to get that filled and went to the Ophthalmologist when a medical necessity arose.
    • Then the Optometrist decided to dispense. Now the Optician cried foul since the Optometrist had a captured audience. But for the most part Opticians just played along and went to work for the optometrist.
    • Then the OMD decided to dispense. Opticians cried even more. Optometrists on the other hand played it smart and got in bed with the OMD to co-manage.
    • Of course we can't forget LensCrafters popped up and brought service down - but we are a society of instant gratification so their business model worked. And Opticians cried even more.
    • Then the bottom-dollar retailer emerged. Basically prostituting the Optometrists services at a bottom dollar rate to get people in the door. Service diminished even more and Opticians cried even more.
    • Among all of this the Optometrist and OMD have had their spats and arguments but for the most part still get along. Opticians on the other hand cry about all of it.
    The moral: Stop crying and figure out where you fit within this new framework. There are opportunities out there you just need to find them.

  17. #17
    Just An Optician jediron1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandLord View Post
    "Why do you think the Empire hires RM's that have the optical knowledge of a Dodo bird and hire store managers with so little optical knowledge that if it wasn't serious it would be down right laughable."

    Presumably because the Empire wants managers that have managing skills. Eyeglass sales skills can be had much cheaper. I don't agree with it, but at least its better than the internet.



    You don't have to agree, I don't mind. But I have been there and have seen for what I talk about. We had an RM who came from children's clothing and told us "I don't know anything about optical". As for manager I interviewed with one and associate manager both had no optical knowledge and even told me so. They said if we have too we will study a little book take the Mickey mouse NY board and get our license. Needless to say with that chump I walked out the door!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bman View Post
    If you can't differentiate yourself from those who don't know how to fit a pair of frames, sell AR or listen to a patient's optical ergonomics, etc., then your merely competing on price and will lose the sale to the cheapest shop in town anyway.
    This is pretty much how I see it. I also predict that there will be fewer master opticians hanging out their shingle in years to come but those who do will draw a good niche crowd. Customers who appreciate craftsmanship, knowledge and service will find their way to you. Much like those who seek out a good seamstress, shoe repair guy, etc. because you know that is where you go for quality. How many customers do you know that have worn and depended on glasses most of their lives go to cut rate stores? Not too many.

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    Ophthalmic Optician OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandLord View Post
    Opticianry can thrive but it will take a business mentality, not a political mentality. In the political arena, optometry, big box and internet have way more power and visibility than opticianry.

    The best business practice is to hire the most educated professionals available. It goes without saying that you also, should be as educated as you possibly can be. It makes no difference what profession you are in.

    The difference between a job and a profession is education. Simple as that.

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    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    Redhot Jumper What a thread...................


    What athread...................so many different opinions and most of them have agood point and and come from a positive opinion that has a good point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Audiyoda View Post

    The moral: Stop crying and figure outwhere you fit within this new framework. There are opportunities out there youjust need to find them.


    To Barry Santini who has some practical reasoning.......................

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini

    Sure, if Imade the test, fewer would pass. But all who did would bring reall value to anyplace they work.
    And bring back the friggin' practical exam...this is a craft-field!


    IMHO, thereare more than a few ingredients to our recipe of survival.


    From Dr McDonald to Barry Santini all of them have good and validpoints...........................

    Quote Originally Posted by mcdonald

    I agree,Barry, but to quantify that is very subjective. Until we legitimize urselves inevery jurisdiction in America we will have little say in what happens aroundthe country, unlike pharmacy, nursing, dental hygeine and everyone else EXCEPTus. Customer service is important everywhere, but the others got it, while wewcontinue to wallow in mediocrity.


    Chip who says.......................................

    Quote Originally Posted by chip anderson

    Both the OD'sand the OMD's had plenty of both, not to mention a certificercat, and alicense.
    When we lost the support of the OMD's we lost what little leverage we had.
    So yes, we are atleast dying.



    and then comes the opposite..................................

    Quote Originally Posted by bman

    I employ andhave learned from an optical master (50+ years) and I don't give a whip aboutlicensing and formal education. How many times has a client asked if you arecertified or licensed? Share your knowledge, demonstrate your skill, don't sellyourself short and optical bliss will follow.


    Here is a discussion that does not give a one thought about the most importantpoint that is the origin of all the present problem and that is the economysteering the consumers thinking. Lets not talk about the rich, lets talk aboutthe millions of consumers that need glasses and have to get them.

    Do they give a hoot about the qualifications when the can get a pricedifference that has a large multiplier and a quality that is not on the badsite. Can we be honest and try to find a solution that can be accepted by most opticiansNOW and not haggle what would be best in the future. It is the NOW that isimportant.


    Chris Ryser
    ________________________________________
    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

  21. #21
    OptiGeek Wes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darby View Post
    The best business practice is to hire the most educated professionals available. It goes without saying that you also, should be as educated as you possibly can be. It makes no difference what profession you are in.

    The difference between a job and a profession is education. Simple as that.
    ^^^This.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LandLord View Post
    To answer the original question, opticianry was never really alive to begin with outside the consciousness of opticians. The public has still not learned what an optician is. (They think it means optometrist).
    My grandmother still thinks I'm an obstetrician. :)

    I think as long as there are people willing to stick their neck out and take the risk of owning an independant optical shop, that opticianry will continue to cling to life. The majority of these businesses will employ well educated opticians, because lets face if, the old salty dogs who are 'master' opticians are retiring, and the only replacement for them are educated opticians.

    If and when we are only left with big box chains and onliners, then we will see the optician go the way of the dinosaur.

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    If the idea is to make a diploma important than we need to increase the amount of colleges as well as make it easier to enroll. I have been trying now for 2 months to study at Hillsborough CC and still have yet to get enrolled. The people in the program for opticianry have been very helpful(the college itself has not). but since I am not local, I cant exactly go visit the Tuition Assistance to get that setup(former military). And they require my high school transcript which my country wont send unless I go in person which is also not local.

    Its not easy to get a degree online from a college that is not really setup as an online college which is most opticianry programs unfortunately.

  24. #24
    OptiGeek Wes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by optilady1 View Post
    My grandmother still thinks I'm an obstetrician. :)

    I think as long as there are people willing to stick their neck out and take the risk of owning an independant optical shop, that opticianry will continue to cling to life. The majority of these businesses will employ well educated opticians, because lets face if, the old salty dogs who are 'master' opticians are retiring, and the only replacement for them are educated opticians.

    If and when we are only left with big box chains and onliners, then we will see the optician go the way of the dinosaur.
    Dinosaurs didn't go completely extinct. Look at the crocodile. Also, they evolved. Birds... maybe we need educated master opticians? That's the goal of the Society to Advance Opticianry.

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorbait View Post
    If the idea is to make a diploma important than we need to increase the amount of colleges as well as make it easier to enroll. I have been trying now for 2 months to study at Hillsborough CC and still have yet to get enrolled. The people in the program for opticianry have been very helpful(the college itself has not). but since I am not local, I cant exactly go visit the Tuition Assistance to get that setup(former military). And they require my high school transcript which my country wont send unless I go in person which is also not local.

    Its not easy to get a degree online from a college that is not really setup as an online college which is most opticianry programs unfortunately.
    From what I hear, Hillsboro CC has all the students it can handle! Yes, formal schooling in opticianry is alive and well in Florida. I suggest you pm Laurie Pierce (Laurie) here on ob. She instructs there, and may be able to assist.

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    I worked for a Master Optician, in fact I was well trained by him. He told me don't bother with ABOM because they have changed it so much now that its not worth it. That if he had to publish papers, he would have never tried.

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