Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians

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Also known as:
Contact Lens Cutter, Contact Lens Technician, Eyeglass Assembler, Eyeglass Lens Cutter, Eyeglass Maker, Lens Grinder, Lens Grinder and Polisher, Lens Mounter, Precision Lens Centerer and Edger, Prescription Eyeglass Maker

ABOUT OPHTHALMIC LABORATORY TECHNICIAN CAREERS
Video transcript

In between the health care specialist who examines the eyes and writes a prescription for a lens, and the eyeglass store where a suitable frame is selected, is a technician with a very important role. A precision optical goods worker makes the lenses to fit the prescription and prepares the frames to hold them. He or she might also be called an ophthalmic laboratory technician, manufacturing optician, or optical mechanic.

They work behind the scenes at large eyeglass stores or at laboratories where stores send the prescriptions once a frame has been selected. Most technicians use automated equipment to make lenses that used to be produced by hand. Lenses can be glass or plastic. Each lens is marked, cut, ground, edged, and finished in accord with the prescription.

Whether working by hand or with machines, the prescription optical goods worker must be able to follow directions precisely. Employers generally hire people with a high-school degree and provide training on the job. They look for careful students who work well with their hands. Coursework in science, mathematics, and computers can be very helpful.

Precision optical goods workers also learn their craft at technical schools and in the armed forces. The skills used for prescription lens-making can also be applied to making lens for telescopes, binoculars, and other optical equipment. Automation has resulted in a declining demand for these workers. It can take up to 6 months to learn the various procedures necessary to finish a lens. The customers rarely see the technician, but they see better because of the technician.

SNAPSHOT
Cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. Includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centerer-edgers, and lens mounters.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Position and adjust cutting tools to specified curvature, dimensions, and depth of cut.

Inspect, weigh, and measure mounted or unmounted lenses after completion to verify alignment and conformance to specifications, using precision instruments.

Adjust lenses and frames to correct alignment.

Mount and secure lens blanks or optical lenses in holding tools or chucks of cutting, polishing, grinding, or coating machines.

Select lens blanks, molds, tools, and polishing or grinding wheels, according to production specifications.

Repair broken parts, using precision hand tools and soldering irons.

Shape lenses appropriately so that they can be inserted into frames.

Set dials and start machines to polish lenses or hold lenses against rotating wheels to polish them manually.

Mount, secure, and align finished lenses in frames or optical assemblies, using precision hand tools.

Inspect lens blanks to detect flaws, verify smoothness of surface, and ensure thickness of coating on lenses.

Clean finished lenses and eyeglasses, using cloths and solvents.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
TOP SKILLS
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.