With the help of an optical lab technician, glasses and contacts are delivered to customers every day. It takes time to ensure that the accurate prescription is put together according to certain specifications. The tools and equipment used ensure that people are able to see things close up, far away, and everything in between. Technicians have several different responsibilities and often work with several different pieces of equipment.
An optical lab technician often works on the other side of the counter. While an optometrist works with customers, diagnosing the issues and finding the right prescription, a technician works behind the scenes. He starts by reading the prescription and figuring out which pieces of equipment are going to be used.
Starting with lenses from the stock, he grinds them until they match the required prescription. Once completed, the optical lab technician measures and double-checks the results. The lenses are then fit into the frames selected by the customer. Once again, they are inspected to ensure that the right glasses are being created. If a customer brings in a pair that are broken and need to be repaired, a technician can figure out the prescriptions and make adjustments.
In much the same way, an optical lab technician creates contact lenses for customers. Specialized equipment is used to cut the inside or the outside curvature. In order to be a technician, it is important to have real eye for detail. Every prescription that comes in is different and it is important that by the time the contact lenses reach the customer, they are perfect.
Education and Requirements
Aside from a high school diploma, there are several different routes to becoming an optical lab technician. A potential technician can chose to earn a certificate, usually through a one-year vocational program. The other option is to attend college and work towards a two-year degree, also known as an associates degree. Finally, a person can choose to become an apprentice to someone experienced in the field.
Once hired, it takes time to become accustomed to the equipment and tasks that need to be consistently handled. A supervisor checks over the work of new technician until he or she clearly establishes his skill in the area of glasses or contact lenses. Most people specialize on one piece of equipment as opposed to working on several just to make one set of glasses or lenses.
Technicians are not required to be certified, however many choose to be certified in order to increase their job opportunities. The job is also not limited to glasses and contact lenses. Some choose to find jobs working with things like camera or telescope lenses.