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Thread: Bringing Back Relevance To The Dying Field of Opticianry

  1. #26
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    So would you agree that opticians could successfully change their way of doing business, by simply adapting to times, and charge for services rendered, while charging supplied goods at cost or close to it ?

    Which would translate into the better you are and know, the better you could charge.
    I do think that independent opticians should leverage EVERYTHING that they do.

    a. hand-chosen collections of the best eyeglasses
    b. technical knowlege of the latest lenses
    c. frame selection consultation and styling
    d. quality workmanship
    e. personal relationships
    f. outstanding aftercare (warranty, etc.)
    g. lens design, etc.

    I think the independent optician should itemize each and every one of these (and probably more) on a walk-out statement...

    ...and for today's day and age, instead of a charge, put "included" next to each item, in big, bold print.

    That will set the stage for the future, in case actual "parts and labor" itemization is necessary. And it may well be necessary.

  2. #27
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Economic power and marketshare are everything. Then comes political power. Then comes building the institutions like you want.

  3. #28
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    Folks, has access to competent Opticianry really decreased? Are there really any fewer competent specimens than back when? Any documentation on that widely believed claim?

    Yes, the industry has exploded in the direction of cheap specs and cheap labor fitting them for you. By comparison, the crops of undereducated fitters makes the market "average 'Optician'" skill lower. But has any consumer's decision to go average taken food off the plate off of a competent optician's table? Didn't that really level out a long, long time ago?

    People have more options, and I won't blame them for seeing if cheap works for them before they try expensive. Go with God!

    But 'expensive' glasses to pay for competent opticians isn't in less demand by my observation. There's enough demand for what only Opticians can do that they figure out they need to look for us. Patients who've been flung off the corporate sales cycle come looking for me cold. No advertising. They call to make sure I'm selling a higher price point before they even bother to show up. I say again, the corporate spec machine is my best advertising. I need no other.

    I can't bring myself to believe in Opticianry Distopia until someone shows me some good, contextual industry statistics that the market for good specs has actually declined. The market for the other product can do its own thing. Sure they scoop some of the business I might have otherwise gotten on the first pass. But I like it better this way, because the business they give me back are more educated consumers who know the value of what they're buying. I get more loyal business this way than without competing with McGlasses.

  4. #29
    OptiBoardaholic other_bill_fea's Avatar
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    The one thing I think can make an interesting selling tool is glass. It's not something they're going to find online, and it lets you offer something different. Granted, it won't work for everyone, but the ability to offer something unique is part of the whole experience.
    FEA Industries
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  5. #30
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    Just in time as a late X-Mas gift...

    https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Boo...%26sortby%3D17


    This would be a great place to start for those looking to immerse themselves in the field of refraction for 2017. Happy New Year!!

  6. #31
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    Redhot Jumper I can't bring myself to believe in Opticianry Distopia until someone shows me some ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Hayde View Post

    I can't bring myself to believe in Opticianry Distopia until someone shows me some good, contextual industry statistics that the market for good specs has actually declined. The market for the other product can do its own thing. Sure they scoop some of the business I might have otherwise gotten on the first pass. But I like it better this way, because the business they give me back are more educated consumers who know the value of what they're buying. I get more loyal business this way than without competing with McGlasses.

    The only performance statistics you can get these days are official website performances for online sellers. These performances are manifold higher than regular optical sites.

    Also if an Essilor has purchased the former Coastal (now Clearly) for close to $ 400 Million 3 years ago and this year the other one in the UK for nearly the same price, they must be producing their moneys worth.

    The same goes for Luxottica that could even service their internet sales in over 1,000 B&M stores of their own.

    Any one for the year 2016 projected sales of close to 30 million pairs was not sold by your business if you felt it or not.

  7. #32
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    As to refraction, I'll say this until I'm blue in the face but you cannot tease out prescribing for ametropias (and using refractive methods as a tool for that) from treating the entire patient's ocular situation (dry eye, mac degen, cataract, BV problems, etc.).
    This is the most true statement ever! So why does our industry cling to such a simplified and outdated Rx format?

    B

  8. #33
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    Redhot Jumper The only 2 optical labs labs listed with well increased website traffic in 2016

    An interesting thought crossed my mind yesterday afternoon working on my websites listing, I was updating the subsection of optical laboratory websites.

    The only 2 optical labs labs listed with well increased website traffic in 2016 were :

    Laramy K .................at an Alexa ranking of 712,643
    and
    FEA Industries .........at an Alexa ranking of 743,561
    both former OptiBoard main sponsors.

    The majority of optical lab websites have very low ranking website traffic statistics and about half of them have even no more information available. Their websites are not serviced anymore or they are gone.

    If these labs have closed or been moved to other countries, there could be a substantial loss of jobs in the optical trade.

  9. #34
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    Actually I would love nothing more than to be wrong ............................

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post


    Old-style Opticianry is dying because it has failed to adapt to changing times.

    Having all your old skills is a given. You now need to master a full suite of soft skills, which no school, ABO, NCLE or the like will test or credential you for.

    Chin up. Open mind. Willingness to learn anew.

    And maybe...just maybe...Chris was right all along.

    Happy New Year!

    B

    Happy New Year from me too .....................to all of you.

    Actually I would love nothing more than to be wrong, and only be guilty of stirring up some minds.

    However my father, who was on the Board of the European Opticians Association for 20 years, always used to say that opticians were more interested to standardize frame hinges than talking about real existing problems endangering the profession.

    So in this new Year 2017 somebody will come up with a solution not to reverse the happenings, but to come up with a solution to adapt to a new situation that endangers the standard way of professional life.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post
    This is the most true statement ever! So why does our industry cling to such a simplified and outdated Rx format?

    B
    I honestly think its because going to get an eye exam when their vision isn't as clear anymore (that hopefully includes an eye health check) is the only thing that brings a lot of these people into the doctor's chair to begin with. I'm sure another system could be created but the arguement for total care being linked to RX expiration is that. If people could get their RX without seeing a doctor and getting an in depth health examination of their eyes many cases of chronic disease may go without being diagnosed until the damage is done. I'm sure another system could be created as well though (and I'm sure you have a plan!

  11. #36
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post
    This is the most true statement ever! So why does our industry cling to such a simplified and outdated Rx format?

    B
    Perhaps you could be so kind as to show us all exactly what you would like to see in the your "updated" Rx format.

  12. #37
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Wasn't that the focus of the Summit meetings of 2013?

  13. #38
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    Perhaps you could be so kind as to show us all exactly what you would like to see in the your "updated" Rx format.
    1. The manifest refraction, before the examiner tweaking
    2. More info on phorias not being addressed with prism
    3. Quantification of eye dominance
    4. Exact nature and type of cataract progression.
    5. Acuities (duh!)

    That's a start.

    B

  14. #39
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    Question :

    What would such an updated Rx do, in the matter of purchasing eyeglasses by the consumer ?

    On-line optical sellers for sure are employing learned professionals, as opticians or even optometrists in their ranks.

    Most of them have been in this commercial field forever.

  15. #40
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I think what Barry wants would be a professional co-management relationship with the other parts of the eye care team.

    How about total sharing of records amongst professionals and an open phone line?

    He wants to "defrag" the system.

    I agree.

  16. #41
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    Blue Jumper

    That is a superb idea, as long as there will still be some confidentiality of some sort.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post
    1. The manifest refraction, before the examiner tweaking
    2. More info on phorias not being addressed with prism
    3. Quantification of eye dominance
    4. Exact nature and type of cataract progression.
    5. Acuities (duh!)

    That's a start.

    B
    Oh my goodness, YES! How often do I work with a patient trying to figure out why he isn't seeing 20/20 only to find out their best acuities are only 20/35. Or that they have macular degeneration, cataracts, or whatever! In my office, I get none of that information even if the patient was seen here. I don't get charts or anything, just a generic Rx. Would LOVE to have acuities. It would definitely make my life better.

  18. #43
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Merv, in what kind of a setting do you practice opticianry?

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    Merv, in what kind of a setting do you practice opticianry?
    I currently work in a practice that has 2 Ophthalmologists and 1 Optometrist. Although it is all under the same practice, they keep the optical separated. We use the same credit card machine and the checks are written to the same place, but I am very much isolated. Everything is done on the doctors side and then when finished they give the patient their RX and they come over to me through a doorway. I do have access to charts, but since it is old school and not computerized, I have to go searching for them. They could be anywhere...billing, scheduling, doctors desk etc. Since I am the only optician in a busy practice, I can see 75 patients a day just myself. Once in a while I will go looking for a chart, but that sometimes leads to a back up in optical where people end up waiting. It isn't unusual for me to have a line just to pick up glasses. A little note with the acuities would be great. I can note it on their order so when they pick up I know what to expect.

  20. #45
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Talk of relevance of Opticianry, and then we have this....

    http://www.optiboard.com/forums/show...r-Reports-quot

    Relevance will not get better while dealing with the above.

  21. #46
    ATO Member HarryChiling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayde View Post
    Folks, has access to competent Opticianry really decreased? Are there really any fewer competent specimens than back when? Any documentation on that widely believed claim?
    The evidence I have seen suggest the opposite of the anecdotal opinion represented by many opticians. Opticianry today is more competent than ever before. The past was riddled with limited choices in material and technology which meant it was easier to grasp 90% of the business with very little knowledge. The level of skill required in the past is what's missing but that's like comparing the accuracy of hand digging a trench to the modern back hoe. In this day and age, I appreciate the guy who can hand edge a lens, but it's a mere parlor trick in this day and age.

    Hayde thanks for thinking outside of the box, I would never post on a thread like this but reading this one little tidbit made my day.
    1st* HTML5 Tracer Software
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    *Dave at OptiVision has a web based tracer integration package that's awesome.

  22. #47
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    What is *competency*? Is it the understanding of optics? The ability to fabricate a pair of glasses from raw data? To know optical formulas? To interpret an Rx and provide competent troubleshooting?.....


    Or is it the ability to communicate effectively, interact with most anyone on their own level and be able to close sales routinely and successfully?.....



    I think most of us would agree that having both abilities makes for the ideal Optician. But that's not where Opticianry is heading. When was the last time you saw an employment ad that required "superior ophthalmic knowledge."? Virtually every ad has wording with the requirement of "superior selling skills". Sure, I know that selling glasses is what keeps the ECP world turning. That's what Dr's and chains alike seek in their Opticians. There is virtually no emphasis on the *optics* part in their modus operandi.


    And why should there be? Technology has pushed the need for that knowledge out of the equation. Don't know how to compound prism? No problem, there's an app for that (or a few hundred). Need a slab off? Let the doc prescribe and let the labs software do it. Don't know how to take a PD or seg height? There's equipment that can do it ( and that technology is getting better). With the advancement of this technology comes a cost. And that cost will be taken out of Opticianry's pockets in the form of lower wages. The pace of change is much more rapid today than ever. The spiraling up in tech and the spiraling down need for ophthalmic optical knowledge will certainly lower the need for *skilled* labor. ( And don't forget how states are looking to eliminate Optician licensure...)


    The day when someone with no HS education, but sales ability learned at the GAP can replace you, will be the beginning of the end of the * Ophthalmic Optician*..........






    .....Oh yea...That already started happening about 30 years ago.....

  23. #48
    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    It's rather akin to the auto industry lamenting the loss of skilled jobs to automation. Its a trend that will never reverse. Nor should it.

  24. #49
    One eye sees, the other feels. OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    What is *competency*? Is it the understanding of optics? The ability to fabricate a pair of glasses from raw data? To know optical formulas? To interpret an Rx and provide competent troubleshooting?.....


    Or is it the ability to communicate effectively, interact with most anyone on their own level and be able to close sales routinely and successfully?.....
    Yes, no, I think it was Einstein who said...never memorize things you can look up, yes, and yes.
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  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryChiling View Post
    The evidence I have seen suggest the opposite of the anecdotal opinion represented by many opticians. Opticianry today is more competent than ever before. The past was riddled with limited choices in material and technology which meant it was easier to grasp 90% of the business with very little knowledge. The level of skill required in the past is what's missing but that's like comparing the accuracy of hand digging a trench to the modern back hoe. In this day and age, I appreciate the guy who can hand edge a lens, but it's a mere parlor trick in this day and age.

    Hayde thanks for thinking outside of the box, I would never post on a thread like this but reading this one little tidbit made my day.
    lol Thanks Harry. Opticians past and present probably still have a healthy contrarian streak. All respects for the OP and the discussion--I think it's Very useful for all of us reading it. I didn't intend to pour cold water on the brainstorm even though I'm not sold on the premise. My point is just that 'anecdotal' is no substitute for data. I find the former usually untrustworthy in the absence of the latter. Given the near unfathomable leap in national wealth, public health, and access to vision correction in the 20th century I have a hard time imagining that the Jedi Knights of Optics were really economically displaced by the advent of corporate spec factories. Growing the pie and thus losing relative 'market share' doesn't by itself logically imply you lost customer count or revenue.

    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    What is *competency*? Is it the understanding of optics? The ability to fabricate a pair of glasses from raw data? To know optical formulas? To interpret an Rx and provide competent troubleshooting?.....


    Or is it the ability to communicate effectively, interact with most anyone on their own level and be able to close sales routinely and successfully?.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post
    It's rather akin to the auto industry lamenting the loss of skilled jobs to automation. Its a trend that will never reverse. Nor should it.
    Excellent points (as usual from excellent pointers.) I'll go one further...the ability to distill and communicate the technical may always have been the best test of mastery. Is there a more important skill in health care? Does not a doctor sink or swim based on their patient communication skills beyond any other? The information age keeps us honest. I have no problem with that. Dr K's Consumer Reports thread is a disappointing example of its unwise excesses, but consumers who go that route will discover how much they value (or devalue) their own time and effort. Then one of the sadder but wiser ones will write a better article. In the meantime, there's a magical space within 3 feet of a patient who wants to hear good counsel on their specs. It's a tenacious demand that won't go away. "Jarvis" just won't be good competition for a long, long time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Martellaro View Post
    Yes, no, I think it was Einstein who said...never memorize things you can look up, yes, and yes.
    Relatively, Yes. :P
    Last edited by Hayde; 01-04-2017 at 05:42 PM.

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