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Thread: Who is part of their regional Opticians organization?

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    Wave Who is part of their regional Opticians organization?

    Just spit-balling here...

    Are any of our OptiBoarders part of their regional optician's organization?
    If so, why and what is done for your opticians?
    I'm trying to get a better idea what can be done around me by finding out what others are doing or have done. Even if you're not a member of your local group, please tell me why?
    Any other ideas on what a group can or should do to improve our optician's situation?

    cs

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    C.O.A.T. (http://coat.tv/ ) is our local Opticians association. Extremely well run. Bi-Monthly ABO CE's with a dinner. Over 100 Opticians showing up is not unusual. Monthly newsletter, usually with some educational content. They also have a local jobs bank. I can't speak higher for any Opticians organization, national or local. I pay for all our staffs membership yearly. A truly great return on the investment.

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    Washington has an exceptional Opticians Association that provides solid CE, lobbying efforts representing Opticians, and multiple networking opportunities. There are very few "regional" groups, but here in the Southeast, we have the Southeastern Opticians Conference, which allows Opticians from the various states to network and learn from each other. But the only way to improve Opticians is to mandate education and licensing in every state. Until then, little will change. All other health-related fields have stringent requirements, while the primary requirement to be an Optician in 27 states is a pulse, and even in licensed states a high school diploma.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sphinxsmith View Post
    Just spit-balling here...

    Are any of our OptiBoarders part of their regional optician's organization?
    If so, why and what is done for your opticians?
    I'm trying to get a better idea what can be done around me by finding out what others are doing or have done. Even if you're not a member of your local group, please tell me why?
    Any other ideas on what a group can or should do to improve our optician's situation?

    cs

    Chris,
    Are you not on the board of the OAW. What are you getting out of your regional organization and what do you hope to gain from it's continuation. FWIW, I am a member of the OAW. I have been a member of the TAC for SCCC since what seems like forever. I have been on several fact finding committees for both the OAW and the school.
    I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. Mark Twain

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    I am a member of www.pof.org and it is very well run; even if i don't agree with everything the folks in-charge do a great job!

    As an owner my own license is more of a detriment to me than anything else! I should give it back and just place my orders on-line like VSP.

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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    I was president of the New Hampshire/Vermont Opticians Association in 1971-73. We played a little golf and drank a lot of booze and planned to take over the world. It was the same game as it is today; no one can see beyond their own threshold.

    Ahhhh, but hope springs eternal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    I was president of the New Hampshire/Vermont Opticians Association in 1971-73. We played a little golf and drank a lot of booze and planned to take over the world. It was the same game as it is today; no one can see beyond their own threshold.

    Ahhhh, but hope springs eternal.
    I only wish that you "leaders" of that era had done more, and had more vision for what we could become! Maybe we would be in a better position today had you all wanted to do more. I do not mean to direct this in a personal manner towards Mr. Baker, so my apologies up front for the appearance, but we have had folks with high school educations or less, trying to do things they were not prepared to do. It is still that way, unlike every other health-related field and it has caused the slow death of a once-great profession with excellent potential. This fear of education (or could it be self-preservation......we can't let anyone get ahead of us, now can we?) still amazes me.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    I am the President (again) of the Opticians Association of Virginia.
    We hold 2 conferences per year. One in the spring and one in the fall.
    We worked together with the Virginia Optometric Association in 2013-2014 to advance HB1444 aimed at eliminating the stranglehold that VCPs have on product/lab selection. The bill passed, but with few teeth. We are now asking for documentation in VA of the heavy-handed tactics being used to maintain their control.
    We are currently looking for sponsored NCLE speakers for our spring meeting and we could use everyone's help in finding them.

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    Blue Jumper we have had folks with high school educations or less,

    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post

    ................but we have had folks with high school educations or less, trying to do things they were not prepared to do. It is still that way, unlike every other health-related field and it has caused the slow death of a once-great profession with excellent potential. This fear of education (or could it be self-preservation......we can't let anyone get ahead of us, now can we?) still amazes me.
    I believe that is due to politics of not having professions under federal government control, but individual state/provincial jurisdictions in North America, unlike most other countries, as in Europe.
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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    I only wish that you "leaders" of that era had done more, and had more vision for what we could become! Maybe we would be in a better position today had you all wanted to do more. I do not mean to direct this in a personal manner towards Mr. Baker, so my apologies up front for the appearance, but we have had folks with high school educations or less, trying to do things they were not prepared to do. It is still that way, unlike every other health-related field and it has caused the slow death of a once-great profession with excellent potential. This fear of education (or could it be self-preservation......we can't let anyone get ahead of us, now can we?) still amazes me.
    No offence taken as I am just an observer and commentator today; I have no dog in the fight. Mr. Baker held a BS in Civil Engineering from Dartmouth College and after serving as a Marine Aviator graduated from the two year Ophthalmic Technology department at the Worcester Industrial Technical Institute. He was certainly no Bozo when he entered the craft employed by an ethical Guild Optician who had a company policy of hiring only the graduates of two year optical programs of which there were very few.

    The membership of our State Association, at that time consisted of mostly extremely knowledgeable opticians, quite unlike what we find posing as opticians today. Of course there were no chains, big box schlock houses, third party payees or merchant ophthalmologists and no State regulators in those days. Everyone was making a pant load of money as things were and we could see no reason to change our business model. We all stood on our own feet.

    Of course, no one could have predicted what was to come back then. Most practicing optometrists were the runt of the litter who had attended a two year program at the Fenway School of Optics and sold frames out of a drawer. MD's were prohibited from "advertising." and heaven forbid they sold glasses or contact lenses. Opticians purchased their goods from local wholesalers. All of this changed. The OD's cleaned themselves up. The MD's got down in the mud and became merchants. And the Opticians just sat around picking their noses. Opticianry became the chump of the eye care business.

    OK . . . I will take some responsibility for not reimaging the opticianry scene back in the day. The problem was, I saw the future and realized that the optician was soon to become the prostitute of the MD, OD, insurance company and Corporation and got out of the retail end of the business rather than fighting the valiant fight as a few have done.

    History will certainly repeat itself and we will face a similar paradigm shift (sorry for using that term) today. What will the eye care business look like in thirty years and what are you movers and shakers going to do about it?
    Last edited by rbaker; 01-27-2016 at 12:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post

    History will certainly repeat itself and we will face a similar paradigm shift (sorry for using that term) today. What will the eye care business look like in thirty years and what are you movers and shakers going to do about it?
    Not sure what we've seen is a paradigm shift but this is-

    Super computers and bio/genetic tech will eliminate the need for most corrective eye wear. A few exceptions will remain for the most educated dispensers but what we have today will go the way of the village blacksmith.

    I plan on retiring with my Powerball winnings!!! (Next drawing for SURE!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    No offence taken as I am just an observer and commentator today; I have no dog in the fight. Mr. Baker held a BS in Civil Engineering from Dartmouth College and after serving as a Marine Aviator graduated from the two year Ophthalmic Technology department at the Worcester Industrial Technical Institute. He was certainly no Bozo when he entered the craft employed by an ethical Guild Optician who had a company policy of hiring only the graduates of two year optical programs of which there were very few.

    The membership of our State Association, at that time consisted of mostly extremely knowledgeable opticians, quite unlike what we find posing as opticians today. Of course there were no chains, big box schlock houses, third party payees or merchant ophthalmologists and no State regulators in those days. Everyone was making a pant load of money as things were and we could see no reason to change our business model. We all stood on our own feet.

    Of course, no one could have predicted what was to come back then. Most practicing optometrists were the runt of the litter who had attended a two year program at the Fenway School of Optics and sold frames out of a drawer. MD's were prohibited from "advertising." and heaven forbid they sold glasses or contact lenses. Opticians purchased their goods from local wholesalers. All of this changed. The OD's cleaned themselves up. The MD's got down in the mud and became merchants. And the Opticians just sat around picking their noses. Opticianry became the chump of the eye care business.

    OK . . . I will take some responsibility for not reimaging the opticianry scene back in the day. The problem was, I saw the future and realized that the optician was soon to become the prostitute of the MD, OD, insurance company and Corporation and got out of the retail end of the business rather than fighting the valiant fight as a few have done.

    History will certainly repeat itself and we will face a similar paradigm shift (sorry for using that term) today. What will the eye care business look like in thirty years and what are you movers and shakers going to do about it?
    Again......I am not referring to you. The terminal education requirement in most states is a pulse, and we should be better. We allowed ODs to make positive changes, while we continue to wonder what happened, and let others define us. ODs defined themselves.

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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    Again......I am not referring to you. The terminal education requirement in most states is a pulse, and we should be better. We allowed ODs to make positive changes, while we continue to wonder what happened, and let others define us. ODs defined themselves.
    The problem is not the OD's. It goes far beyond that and as long as we seek to place the blame for the demise of the craft on others we will perpetually dwell in the darkness.

    While it is a laudable pursuit, the quest for knowledge, I believe that what you are trying to do is to polish a turd by pushing "formal" education on a few hundred students a year in a job market of thousands. Joe Optometrist or the Medical Eye Care Physician and especially Acme Global Eyewear doesn't care a whit for the "credentials" of what today amounts to a clerk. They will however be interested in talent and smarts and you usually don't find those traits coming out of the Rumpelstiltskin Junior College at a non-livable wage. If a young person is willing to spend the money and the time there are a lot of more lucrative endeavors that they may pursue.

    You see, this is the change that has evolved in the craft. Yes, anyone with a pulse can call themselves an "optician" and it didn't used to be that way. Unless an individual has the ability to stand on his own two feet and master the craft through formal education or apprenticeship and than practice the craft on his own terms free of the impediments of third parties be they employers, insurance companies or regulators you will dwell among the mouth breathers with pulses.

    By and large it just ain't worth it today.

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    I am not saying in any way it is the OD's fault. It is our fault. In fact, I am saying just the opposite. They did very well. Three kinds of people......those who make things happen, those who let things happen, and those who wonder what happened. The ODs made things happen, while we sat by and let things happen. We now fall largely in the last category. I do not consider Opticians "turds", as you seem to, but have loudly shouted about significantly increasing standards for all......not just a few hundred. Opticians can, and should have evolved and expanded our services rather than let others decide our plight. You see it as a craft only. Making a pretty pair of glasses is important, but Opticians can and should do much more. We should be in management roles, contact lenses, low vision, and even refraction. And we could have if we had leaders with vision. I want to transform Opticians into true professionals with a well defined sphere of knowledge, while others are content to let the future look ore like the clerks you describe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Fester View Post
    Not sure what we've seen is a paradigm shift but this is-

    Super computers and bio/genetic tech will eliminate the need for most corrective eye wear. A few exceptions will remain for the most educated dispensers but what we have today will go the way of the village blacksmith.

    I plan on retiring with my Powerball winnings!!! (Next drawing for SURE!)
    Hey, that's my plan.
    I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. Mark Twain

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    Paul, yes I am on the OAW board but I'm a noob. Been trying to figure out what I can do and what the rest of us can do to advance opticianry.
    I'm on the fundraising committee this year, been trying to come up with new and better ideas so far this last year. However, I realize that there's a great deal more that goes into our OAW. What can I do? What should be done? What has already been done or tried? Just trying to play catch up and educate myself in the details, minutia of it all.
    Hearing about and learning what has worked and failed from my fellow opticians in the same position. I'd love to have access to or create a solid line of communication between all the different groups and associations. An aggregate of minds and ideas from the plethora of skilled and motivated opticians throughout the country. Think of what might be accomplished.
    Like I said, I'm spit-balling some ideas and musings.

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    Yet why is this an issue only for Opticians? Optometrists and even Dental Assistants who lack federal oversight are thriving.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    I believe that is due to politics of not having professions under federal government control, but individual state/provincial jurisdictions in North America, unlike most other countries, as in Europe.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ~Benjamin Franklin

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    Great post Dr. McDonald, I have long advocated the business aspects of Opticianry have been terribly neglected. Your wording on this is quotable.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    I am not saying in any way it is the OD's fault. It is our fault. In fact, I am saying just the opposite. They did very well. Three kinds of people......those who make things happen, those who let things happen, and those who wonder what happened. The ODs made things happen, while we sat by and let things happen. We now fall largely in the last category. I do not consider Opticians "turds", as you seem to, but have loudly shouted about significantly increasing standards for all......not just a few hundred. Opticians can, and should have evolved and expanded our services rather than let others decide our plight. You see it as a craft only. Making a pretty pair of glasses is important, but Opticians can and should do much more. We should be in management roles, contact lenses, low vision, and even refraction. And we could have if we had leaders with vision. I want to transform Opticians into true professionals with a well defined sphere of knowledge, while others are content to let the future look ore like the clerks you describe.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ~Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    I only wish that you "leaders" of that era had done more, and had more vision for what we could become! Maybe we would be in a better position today had you all wanted to do more. I do not mean to direct this in a personal manner towards Mr. Baker, so my apologies up front for the appearance, but we have had folks with high school educations or less, trying to do things they were not prepared to do. It is still that way, unlike every other health-related field and it has caused the slow death of a once-great profession with excellent potential. This fear of education (or could it be self-preservation......we can't let anyone get ahead of us, now can we?) still amazes me.
    I was a member of Michigan's Optician organization early in my career. At that time, we were trying to get licensing passed for our state. Much to our chagrin, Optometrists lobbied against us, and licensing has never gotten through our legislature. Optoms make a lot more money than opticians, so it was futile. I left the organization as I couldn't justify the membership fees to the benefits they provided.
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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=icmor;520423]I was a member of Michigan's Optician organization early in my career. At that time, we were trying to get licensing passed for our state. Much to our chagrin, Optometrists lobbied against us, and licensing has never gotten through our legislature. Optoms make a lot more money than opticians, so it was futile. I left the organization as I couldn't justify the membership fees to the benefits they provided.[/Q

    We never got as far as having to bow down before the OD's. We could not even come to a consensus among our members. Bearing in mind that most of the members of our State Opticians Association, at that time, were independent business owners and not employees the proposal to seek State Licensing/Registration was overwhelmingly defeated at our annual business meeting despite the fact that it was rumored that a dreaded Pearle Vision Center was planning to open down in the State Capitol city.

    Live Free Or Die.

    On second thought, all these years later, perhaps no government regulation ain't such a bad idea after all.

    Live Free Or Die.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    I am not saying in any way it is the OD's fault. It is our fault. In fact, I am saying just the opposite. They did very well. Three kinds of people......those who make things happen, those who let things happen, and those who wonder what happened. The ODs made things happen, while we sat by and let things happen. We now fall largely in the last category. I do not consider Opticians "turds", as you seem to, but have loudly shouted about significantly increasing standards for all......not just a few hundred. Opticians can, and should have evolved and expanded our services rather than let others decide our plight. You see it as a craft only. Making a pretty pair of glasses is important, but Opticians can and should do much more. We should be in management roles, contact lenses, low vision, and even refraction. And we could have if we had leaders with vision. I want to transform Opticians into true professionals with a well defined sphere of knowledge, while others are content to let the future look ore like the clerks you describe.
    I agree with everything that you stated, Bill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by icmor View Post
    I was a member of Michigan's Optician organization early in my career. At that time, we were trying to get licensing passed for our state. Much to our chagrin, Optometrists lobbied against us, and licensing has never gotten through our legislature. Optoms make a lot more money than opticians, so it was futile. I left the organization as I couldn't justify the membership fees to the benefits they provided.
    Licensed to do what? Should there really BE a license for folks who do little more than take PDs and measure Seg Heights? Not all, but most Opticians, especially in states where the exhaustive requirement to be an Optician is a pulse, have absolutely no idea how to analyze and Rx, or use even the basic optical formulae. You do not get a driver's license and then learn to drive, first comes the education and training, and then you can achieve a license. Why do we not get that?
    Last edited by wmcdonald; 02-27-2016 at 09:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wisconsin ABO View Post
    I agree with everything that you stated, Bill.
    Thanks you, Sir. Many here will not, but it is the same story I have told for 35 years. I just wish I was the messenger we needed to get folks to understand it. Many see me as the enemy, degrading them personally. That is far from the truth. I want to better Opticianry before I am gone, and if I have made just one understand, I have succeeded. My old friend Harry in Massachusetts never understood until he sat with me and Dr. Ferguson for several hours. After we explained to him what could be, he was our biggest fan, and I his. We can be more if we just do it.. But time is running out. Fortunately there are some positive things coming, so keep an eye out for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    Licensed to do what? Should there really BE a license for folks who do little more than take PDs and measure Seg Heights? Not all, but most Opticians, especially in states where the exhaustive requirement to be an Optician is a pulse, have absolutely no idea how to analyze and Rx, or use even the basic optical formulae. You do not get a driver's license and then learn to drive, first comes the education and training, and then you can achieve a license. Why do we not get that?
    And who would get a driver's license if it wasn't mandatory to drive a car legally? The vast, vast majority of Optician's will not go voluntarily into the time and expense of getting a formal education in Opticianry. Why? Because it's not MANDATORY! Warren, I think this is the only thing we disagree on. I love you to pieces, I have tremendous respect for you, but education Then legislation is never going to happen. We have to legislate Then educate. It's the only realistic and viable way to elevate our field. As I've said, you will have to drag Opticians into the classroom kicking and screaming the whole way and the only way is if it was mandated to enter our profession.

    I've always been open to ideas to get Opticians educated but have yet to hear a realistic plan that doesn't include mandatory training.

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    I expected your response, George, but that is the only way it will ever work. No one would get a driver's license if we were not required to have one, but the public knows it is important. They see the real harm an automobile can cause, and still see us in a positive light. Research proves that they feel we are all educated and licensed, and are concerned when they find out the truth about us. It will never happen unless we want it, and see the opportunity......just like Optometry, Nursing, Dental Hygiene, and every other health-related profession did decades ago, and continue to do today. No one will give us a license unless we can do harm to the public, and unfortunately taking a PD and Seg Height does not provide evidence of that. If Opticians do not want it, and will not pay the price to advance, it will not happen. We agree on that. Where we disagree is the path to take, and on that we are polar opposites. There will always be folks call Opticians, but it is a shame it has devolved into its current state. You see it more than most, because you live in Texas, an unlicensed state. There are excellent folks there, like you, but even some of them who thought they were the best there could ever be who wanted a degree went to NAIT, and to a man told me they had no idea what they did not know. We could have been more, but it easy to enter this field, and have folks look upon us as professionals with little effort. We attracted the bottom of the barrel. Even in the community colleges and technical schools, those who wanted to go into health related fields and couldn't pass Nursing, Respiratory, and other programs were sent to the Opticianry programs when they could not pass the entry exams. We took anybody. That is our current state of affairs. We have taken those who sought something easy, and because of that have declined for decades.

    You have experienced the licensure process in Texas. It passed both houses in your legislature, only to be vetoed by the Governor who was heavily influenced by ODs. That was long ago, but still relevant today. What we seek will never happen without mandatory education and training, but I am afraid that will not happen, so we will continue to decline until some state somewhere with a license loses it. Then those who did not feel the need to get a real education, and learn something more will shout to the rooftops about the evil government taking away their livelihood. I have seen the enemy, my friend, and it is not from the outside. It is not the ODs......they do not even see us as competition any longer. It is not the chains. Yes they want to hire the cheapest labor they can, and I understand that. All businesses want the same. Neither of those is our worst enemy. Our enemy comes from within. The apathy, and long-standing lack of leadership with a vision has almost killed us.

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