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Thread: Should Be Mandatory Reading For Opticians

  1. #1
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    Should Be Mandatory Reading For Opticians


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    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Today’s Opticians are the 1900’s blacksmiths. Ultimately regulated to history books.

  3. #3
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    Gotta disagree with that position.
    Opticians could reinvent themselves and carve out a great niche if they would change their ways.
    Push for subjective/objective auto-refraction to update lens orders.
    Create a store where people want to go and want to shop and want to spend money.
    No medical BS, no "prescriptions" no white coats ----
    Optician: A salesperson with a unique skill set and knowledge base that allows them to sell a specialty product.
    Grasp that and they could have a bright future.

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    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John@OWDC View Post
    Gotta disagree with that position.
    Opticians could reinvent themselves and carve out a great niche if they would change their ways.
    Push for subjective/objective auto-refraction to update lens orders.
    Create a store where people want to go and want to shop and want to spend money.
    No medical BS, no "prescriptions" no white coats ----
    Optician: A salesperson with a unique skill set and knowledge base that allows them to sell a specialty product.
    Grasp that and they could have a bright future.
    .....

    Until IOL’s, surgeries and stem cell push eyeglasses into museums. ( which will come sooner than you think). Independent Opticianry is on life support already, unless you partner up with an OD and even then you are locked out of most ins. plans. and as Keith points out in your article, margins are getting squeezed by competition along with the ridiculous prices our traditional lens and frame manufacturers have escalated to.

    Sure, there is a need for skilled Opticians..For now. And there will be a place, for a while in medical settings. And a few will do well in the luxury market. But, I would never recommend someone today to seek a long term career as an Optician. The market is changing rapidly, and the meager salary the average Optician makes today will surely sink.

    (sorry for the doom and gloom).

  5. #5
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    And as far as Opticians “reinventing themselves “....Sorry, but I gotta laugh at that statement. The vast, vast, vast majority in the field have never even thought of going to a CE event, let alone agree on anything that would better themselves or the field.

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    The skills that defined an optician have all been automated. The customer interaction has always been extremely poor. The ability (with a few exceptions) to direct a customer to proper lens selection or frame selections has never been there. Optical retail people always searched for the one answer that would work all the time, that has been the case for the 6 decades I ran a lab. There is virtually no desire for education nor is there any benefits to having one specific to the optical field. To improve the fate of opticians you must first define what an optician actually has to know. You will probably be surprised when you try to figure this out. Most optician functions do not involve optical knowledge but general office or business practices.

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    Compulsive Truthteller OptiBoard Gold Supporter Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    John:
    Unionize us with all it's warts.

    Reason Number 7: It’s a pipe dream.
    Optician apathy and decades of inability to form a coherent vision aside, most opticians don’t make enough to consider contributions to state and national organizations a worthy expense. Even if they did, I can’t possibly imagine it would be enough to take on the OD and corporate funds standing in opposition.
    Last edited by Uncle Fester; 11-21-2020 at 08:49 PM. Reason: tweak...

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    Sadly most opticians are no longer fabricators of eyeglasses but rather order takers. What percentage of offices even have an edger any more? The only time I worked in an office that didn't edge, it drove me nuts. For a while I worked with a woman who loved working with patients and hated lab work. It was great. Put me in the lab with a pile of trays and let me know when you go to lunch.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John@OWDC View Post
    Gotta disagree with that position.
    Opticians could reinvent themselves and carve out a great niche if they would change their ways.
    Push for subjective/objective auto-refraction to update lens orders.
    Create a store where people want to go and want to shop and want to spend money.
    No medical BS, no "prescriptions" no white coats ----
    Optician: A salesperson with a unique skill set and knowledge base that allows them to sell a specialty product.
    Grasp that and they could have a bright future.

    Exactly ! They could even succeed without auto refraction if they’d follow through with the rest of your ideas. Well said.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by John@OWDC View Post
    Having read this I’d say you were on the money.

    The only thing I would add is that the regulatory bodies I’ve seen , bring no value to the table in the form of leadership or vision and yes that’s also a function of membership apathy.

    The fact is education comes from the individuals desire and motivation to learn, not from controlled mandatory CE and not from yearly license renewal taxation.

    License renewal fees feed the wrong thing . Why should a person be taxed forever from a 2 year course?

    How does that benefit the optician ?

    It doesn’t, it only benefits the tax (license fee)collector . Witness for example those fees have done nothing to stop internet dispensing.

    License fees should be abolished and replaced with a performance bonus to regulators and the performance bonus voted on each year by membership. No performance = no bonus. How long would they last ?

    If a person has desire and motivation they will learn, and they will pocket the bill to learn. Regulatory bodies only step into the picture AFTER person has graduated. Regulatory bodies didn’t make the person learn to begin with. Opticians did that on their own.
    Last edited by idispense; 11-24-2020 at 12:27 AM.

  11. #11
    OptiGeek Wes's Avatar
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    I present my point by point rebuttal in response to the article posted earlier by Mr John Seegers here:

    “Reason Number 1: Optometrists already did it.
    The reality is, with more education, there’s simply no place for opticianry to go. ODs already occupy that space. To quote Gertrude Stein, “There’s no there there.” There’s really even nothing in between. All the positions within the context of eyecare have already been accounted for by ODs, contact lens specialists, and optometric technicians.”

    -I disagree; the education opticians need is in the field of opticianry itself. A casual visit to the FB page, Opticians on Facebook (OOF) should be more than adequate to demonstrate my point.

    “Reason Number 2: “Build it and they will come” is not a viable marketing strategy.
    You can’t diamond encrust the frames hanging on the board and expect they’ll make you millions because, “now, they’re better.” Unfortunately, there is precious little demand for that kind of bling, which is also true of highly-educated opticians in eyecare. Believe it or not, the highly-educated, highly-qualified opticians already exist in the marketplace and they don't get paid much more than anyone else. What’s more, as little as a typical optician does make, we still see managers regularly opting to hire lower-wage frame stylists and sales associates in their place.”

    -So you concede that “the highly-educated, highly-qualified opticians” do get paid more? Also, many, if not most, end up in management, leadership, and educational roles, also making much more.

    “Reason Number 3: It’s all about the Benjamins.
    One of the primary factors in wage determination is the value of the product being sold and margins aren’t what they used to be. We’ve done such a good job of presenting eyewear as a commodity—or even an entitlement—by presenting it as a “medical device”, it has worked against our own best interests. Given a choice between spending money on a medical device or something enjoyable (lattes, iPhones, etc.), which do you think most people would choose? It makes perfect sense that people want to spend as little as possible on their eyeglasses. Combine that with other downward pricing pressures resulting from new technology, internet transparency, online sales, vision discount plans, and corporate consolidation, it starts to become a challenge to sell an average pair of eyeglasses at a profit. As prices continue to be lowered by retailers in order to compete (a flawed strategy to be sure) and the optical market continues to get squeezed, most ODs—particularly those focused on their medical practice—will be hard-pressed to invest more money in highly-educated opticians.”

    -The ODs who do employ highly-educated opticians will realize higher profits than those who don’t, as shown by a study commissioned by the Opticianry Summit foundation under the umbrella of the Vision Council and OAA.

    “Reason Number 4: ODs don’t have to hire opticians.
    To me, this alone should be enough to put the whole idea of higher-level mandatory credentialing to bed. In states with license requirements, ODs can hire the much-maligned burger flipper as an optician, as long as a “supervising” optometrist is on staff. Therefore, if opticians get too expensive, they simply don’t have to be hired. Look around, it’s already a point of frustration among opticians today. Raise the salaries of opticians without providing demonstrably more value, what do you think will happen?”

    -What percent of opticians are employed by ODs vs ophthalmologists, Corporate, and independent shops – 1 in 4? Also, if you’re comparing opticians to burger flippers, then they’re clearly NOT highly-educated.

    “Reason Number 5: Where’s the beef?
    While it is true that a qualified optician is more valuable to an optical shop than an unqualified one, credentialing only gets us halfway there in terms of “elevating” opticianry. It creates a higher minimum standard, but doesn’t raise the profession as a whole. What I mean by that is, the most qualified optician in the world, let’s say a doctor of opticianry, can only provide so much value because she still fills the role of an optician. She can only sell, fit and fill so many prescriptions in a day. Like it or not, the market has already decided what that function is worth.”

    -Elevating the minimum standard most definitely does raise the profession as a whole, and those more qualified opticians can sell, fit, and fill prescriptions more accurately with fewer remakes and higher customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. The market has determined that has a great deal of value.

    “Reason Number 6: The robots are coming.
    As we move ever-faster toward telemedicine, AI, machine learning, and robotics—thanks in no small part to the pandemic—what does the future hold for opticianry and even optometry? Now that we can design an artificial intelligence to drive a car through crowded streets or fly an F-16 well enough to out-perform fighter pilots, is there any reason to believe that a far simpler technology can’t be used to help a customer choose her own frame/lens combination better than most opticians? Would it surprise you to learn that technology is already being developed and implemented? Admittedly, we (the optical industry) tend to be slow adopters, but it’s certainly worth considering that there will be opportunities down the road for docs and chains to save money by having technology do more of the work.”

    -“Now that we can design an artificial intelligence to drive a car through crowded streets or fly an F-16 well enough to out-perform fighter pilots” Source, because I’m not buying that, especially the latter part. I spent several years working in LMS software, so I know what technology is capable of – and what it’s not capable of, regarding this industry. Not only that, just because the technology exists, that doesn’t mean it will be adopted by a sizable percentage of the market anytime soon.

    “Reason Number 7: It’s a pipe dream.
    Optician apathy and decades of inability to form a coherent vision aside, most opticians don’t make enough to consider contributions to state and national organizations a worthy expense. Even if they did, I can’t possibly imagine it would be enough to take on the OD and corporate funds standing in opposition.”

    -If they’re not making enough, it’s probably because they’re not educated enough to deserve it. When the requirement to service 44% of the US population is a pulse, the requirements are too low. ODs are coming around, and many of them are seeing the value in a qualified optician. Saves chair time and remakes, for starters.

    “Reason Number 8: Opticians in states requiring licensure actually make LESS.
    Contrary to what you may have heard, on average, opticians take home less money in states that require licensing than in states that do not. Technically, adjusting for cost of living, licensed opticians get paid on average nine dollars per year more. But, if you throw in the time and cost involved in obtaining and maintaining the license, well, there go the nine dollars.”

    -This is absolute bunk. Timmons and Mills’ paper “Bringing the Effects of Occupational Licensing into Focus: Optician Licensing in the United States” shows that “annual optician earnings are substantially higher (by approximately $7,000) on average in states that have optician licensing statutes than in states that do not regulate the profession” and that “the average requirements for states that license are three exams, two years of education, and $184 in fees.” Have a look at the BLS data: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292081.htm#st
    If you look at the Annual Mean Wage of Opticians map of the US, the highest paid opticians by state almost exactly match those states that license opticians.

    “Reason Number 9: Opticians will always be the Rodney Dangerfield of eyecare.
    Snap your fingers and make the credentialing plan of your dreams a reality tomorrow and opticians will still be less educated than their optometrist overlords (no offense) and their customers still won’t care either way. No respect, I tell ya.:

    -And dental hygienists are less educated than dentists, and nurses are less educated than doctors. Should we eliminate education for them, too? Seems like you’re just trying to come up with ten reasons, because TEN SOUNDS OFFICIAL!

    “Reason Number 10: The power and meaning of “A lens is not a pill.” has long been forgotten.”

    -Meh. That reasoning was used to legitimize optometrists in the eyes of ophthalmologists. I don’t see how it applies here. Definitely stretching to get to TEN.

  12. #12
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    Opticians will always be the Rodney Dangerfield of eyecare
    I will take that as a compliment, thankyouverymuch.

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