As I cruise around the Internet on a daily basis I come across quite a few articles that relate to our industry. Some I feel are positive for the future of opticianry, and some I feel are challenges for us. It seems that the world is constantly looking for ways to help the public do away with the need for our products, glasses and contacts. New procedures, that are mildly to fully invasive, are showing up on a regular basis.
Cataract surgery is progressing at a rate where we see some of our clients choosing options that reduce their need for glasses. Cataract patients are able to upgrade their surgical options to include lenses with larger optical zones, toric lenses, and multi-focal lenses, costing as much as $3,500 per eye. The other day I read an article that talked about new treatments that do away with reading glasses for presbyopes. These various treatments use drops to constrict the pupil or restore elasticity to the crystalline lens, doing away with the need for readers.
Opticians need to find their path to remaining relevant in this ever-changing vision care environment. Will the advent of non-invasive procedures result in the need for opticians to dwindle? When it comes to vision correction and aids, I believe, there will always be a place for opticians. Our products and services must and will evolve. As said many times in the past, opticians must always strive to raise their level of education and expand their practical knowledge of products and services we offer. We are problem solvers. Whether it’s a ptosis crutch for a droopy lid, or calculating a lens power for a specific task and focal length, opticians are the “go to” professionals to find solutions.
Recently a patient came in with an unusual problem. He had a major problem with tearing and he and his doctor decided that the remedy was to somehow keep his lower lids gently pulled away from his eyes. We had an initial consultation and working together we came up with a prototype device we attached to his current frames. It worked! We then chose a frame and I enlisted the services of Albert Mo of McCray Optical. Due to the fact that the patient wanted a plastic frame, modifications needed to be made in order to install the crutches. Albert built-up the frame eye wire in order for it to handle the installation of the crutches.
This is an example of where an optician’s problem solving skills and services changed a patient’s quality of life. I know I sound like a broken record, but I have to say it again… Opticians must continue to raise the bar on their education, and keep their enthusiasm for opticianry high. Attending OOA educational events are not only a great way to obtain continuing education, but they are a meeting place for opticians to share their experiences, views, and very importantly, their enthusiasm for our profession.
This fall’s lineup of presentations for the OOA Professional Learning Ottawa and Toronto Specialty Symposium will include exciting topics including, myopia control, digital lens theory and designs, peculiar prescriptions from behavioral optometrists, low vision, triaging red eyes, and other current topics.
Let’s keep up the passion. Attend your association events for the right reasons. Not just to satisfy the College of Opticians con-ed requirements, but to raise our level of education and share our experiences with our fellow opticians.