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Thread: Studying only from a textbook.

  1. #1
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Corporate Sponsor
    OptiBoard Silver Supporter

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    Dispensing Optician

    Studying only from a textbook.

    There aremany on OptiBoard who believe that they can become competent Opticians and Contact Lens Fittersby studying only from a textbook.
    Now there personswho can read ‘Systems for Ophthalmic Dispensing’ and Ellen Stoner’s ‘OpticalFormulas’ and then understand and retain enough to pass the basic ABO or NCLE.After all, there is no hands-on ‘practical’ testing done on these basic exams,and any optical formula questions on these tests are of the most rudimentarykind.
    But thebasic ABO is entry-level optical knowledge and certainly doesn’t train or test someonein troubleshooting an eyewearer’s optical problem. Only a formal opticianrycourse with qualified instructor can provide the student with instant answersthey or another student might pose in a difficult area of opticianry formulas.Formulas are first explained on the whiteboard and then homework is assigned toensure a fine grasp of the theory. Once so learned, the practical implicationsof the formula are explained so that the student eventually develops an understandingof the whole of opticianry from the various optical formula parts.
    Formal opticianryis taught in layered portions, the student needing an understanding of the mostbasics before advancing to the next upper level of optical knowledge. In thisway the student eventually realizes how optical theory meshes with practical hands-ontechniques to produce an optician that is competent and confident to deal withanything that may occur in the field.
    Doctorsshare some of the blame as do some US State regulators. Nearly all regulators requireonly basic ABO as part of their registration process. This meaningless ABO requirementfrom formally trained opticians is ludicrous, but it maintain a higher ABO Basicpass rate than if these opticianry graduates were required to pass the morerigorous ABO Advanced.
    The phrase ‘Theydo not know what they do not know’ continues to ring true today.

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter lensmanmd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Optical Wholesale Lab (other positions)
    Another culprit is good ole LC. When I first started with them, they invested so much into training. PLCU and vendor sponsored training for all things optical and mechanical. Anyone here remember the Coburn Ranch? Once US Shoe developed cash flow problems, LUX swooped in and eliminated these programs. Then, they instituted QMP and Computer based training. By the time I left, managers were training non-optical hires with a 90 day timeline. Then, they taught others. See where I’m going with this? I’m sure glad that I left when I did, and wish I left sooner.

  3. #3
    Ghost in the OptiMachine OptiBoard Silver Supporter Quince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Sebago ME
    Optical Laboratory Technician
    I wholeheartedly agree that "You don't know what you don't know" couldn't be more appropriate for this industries current trends. It is an unfortunate experience for those who have to learn the hard way what makes one optical better than another- but the silver lining here is that the independents who do care and strive to be the highest functioning and up-to-date offices can truly shine because of it.

    Maine requires no licensing and I am the only one in my office that has gone for and passes the ABO exam. That doesn't make me more knowledgeable than my peers but it makes me feel good about my progress. Experience is key. I don't think there is a more perfect way to learn troubleshooting than to try. No amount of books can teach it all- especially with such an ever growing industry.

    I wish I could have entered this industry when apprenticeships were the standard route and things were much more hands on. But I cannot change my timing or my age- so I will continue to keep trying to add to the growth of my peers as well as myself. This means staying up with current research as well as trying to resurface older methods that may be fading out of practice with the newer gen of button pushers. That is something I refuse to become.

    Knowledge (and experience) is power!
    Have I told you today how much I hate poly?

  4. #4
    OptiBoard Professional
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Just outside the norm
    Dispensing Optician
    I still train using the old hands-on method. Books are good to go over basics and formulas, but nothing beats having someone take the time to show you their vast optical knowledge. I was talking to a frame rep today, and she still prefers bringing in a trunk of frames so the office gets a feel of the materials, fit, and quality. You can't see any of that on a tablet. And I feel the same way. I guess I'm just old school.
    "You can't think about it, you just gotta let your brain do the work....."
    my dad

  5. #5
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Newberry, FL & Jacksonville, OR
    Other Optical Manufacturer or Vendor
    Books, a Guru and lotsa hands on experience for a few years used to be the rule to develop a journeyman optician. In as much as the optician is in name only today you will probably find that half of the people selling eyewear today have never read a book or sat at the feet of a Guru. There are two year academic programs at many Junior Colleges but I'll bet dollars to donuts that less than one eyeglass sales person in 1000 has gone this route.

    Today, in the vast majority of cases, it is the blind leading the blind.

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