EducationOAA Leadership Conference Follow-Up
By Maryann Santos, Program Director, Vision Care Technology, Goodwin College
Opticians Association of America held their OAA Leadership conference in Charleston, SC, February 8-10, 2018. Imagine being in a general session, breakouts, and socializing with opticians, apprentice opticians, opticianry students, industry leaders, frame, lab and lens representatives from all over the country. Each year the OAA puts on an outstanding conference that allows for learning, connecting, and sharing together for the sole purpose of fostering opticianry.
A part of the fun for me is experiencing the state roll call. Chris Allen, OAA’s Executive Director, calls each state and the attendees from each state respond by raising their hands, clapping, or hootin’ and hollerin’. It’s energizing to see the excitement each state brings to this conference. There were attendees from all corners of the U.S., and as far away as Alaska.
Dozens of student and apprentice leaders in opticianry attended. They had unique breakout sessions specifically designed for their leadership growth and development.
Attendees had the opportunity to choose from three different breakout sessions throughout the three days. Some topics were: State Society By-Laws, Promoting State Societies Online, Starting an Optical Program, How to Become a Presenter, Choosing a Convention Venue, Partnering With Your Partners, ANSI Standards, Branding and Mission Work. There is something for everyone, wherever they are in their optical journey.
Opticians give back. Monies were raised for The Vision of Hope Foundation, the giving arm of the OAA. Before the commencement of the conference, Vision of Hope participated in an eyecare mission trip in Charleston. A local optical shop closed for the day to allow for the mission work. Fifty-four people were served and 50 of them needed eyeglasses. One was an eleven-year-old girl who received her first pair of eyeglasses. Her prescription was -4.50. This child was astonished when she saw birds flying in the air for the first time! There was also a referral for glaucoma. Opticians serve; it’s what we do. If you have a heart for serving and/or you are able to contribute financially, visit the “giving back” tab on the OAA website.
Each year, OAA Leadership has their conference in a location where attendees can explore the surrounding area. Beautiful Charleston, SC, is a hospitable and historical city. The people of Charleston are friendly (singing in the street and on the elevator), and the dining options are tremendous and delicious.
If it weren’t for the generous Partners, this conference would not be able to run at its current level and capacity. Peruse the OAA website to view the list of Partners. These are the companies that believe in the optician.
Keep an eye out for next year's conference!
Opticians Association of America: www.oaa.org. Vision of Hope: www.oaavoh.org
Continuing EducationFuture LeadersBy Maryann Santos, Program Director, Vision Care Technology, Goodwin College
At the college, our Vision Care Technology students are introduced to the “players” in our industry beginning with the 3 O’s (opticianry, optometry, and ophthalmology), frame, lens, and laboratory representatives, and state and national organizations.
The one organization that unites all opticians is the Opticians Association of America (OAA). Each year the OAA puts on a State Leadership Conference drawing opticians, optical students, apprentice opticians, state society members, and industry representatives and optical leaders from across the country.
Student and apprentice optician attendance has been on an upswing in recent years. The first year of “Leadership”, there were 5 or 6 students, the past three years, there were more than 30 student attendees! Many return bringing classmates and/or colleagues, and some have entered leadership positions themselves after the networking opportunities they developed at the conference. The student track of three day courses includes topics on how to run a board meeting, understanding the various officer positions and committees within the make-up of a state association, and how to become a leader at your college, state association and even on a national level.
Students can apply to the OAA for a grant to help defray the cost of attending. Many who are not awarded a national grant, are able to receive support from their state associations. The state associations also financially support apprentices from their states who indicate their commitment and desire to attend.
The students develop a strong bond and remain connected through an OAA Leadership student Facebook page and online chats. Before leaving the conference, they develop a "leadership action plan". Upon their return home, students work on implementing their plans and keep in contact with their leadership classmates and mentors throughout the year. In addition, the students elect a representative to serve on the OAA Board of Directors.
Upon their arrival to the conference, students and apprentices are assigned as members of the welcoming committee and immediately meet other students and leaders. When not in student leader development classes, they attend general sessions and breakout sessions with national leaders as guests of their home state associations. State associations have created positions for student leaders to be able to serve as directors to their own boards.The passion for our profession grows from this conference. Megan Tyler, 2nd year Goodwin College Vision Care Technology student said, “Leadership 2017 was an anticipated event for me as a first year Ophthalmic Science Student. With so much still unknown about the profession and how I would even fit in to the world of optics, I was skeptical about my take away from it. The three days that I was in Savannah, GA, felt like I was a part of something incredible, something that was going to change the way people see the world (literally). Going into the 2018 year, I cannot wait to return, because walking into a room of strangers and feeling like you can accomplish the world with the amazing work that we do and feeling like you are at home, will be a feeling I will never forget. A feeling I will return with to the OAA State Leadership Conference every year.”
This year’s OAA State Leadership Conference will be held February 8-10, 2018 in Charleston, SC. Let’s make this a record turn-out! For more information and registration, go to http://www.oaa.org/events/2018/02/08/2018_oaa_ldr_conference.
The Ideal Student By Maryann Santos, ABOM
Optical student applicants
As program director for Vision Care Technology (A.S. degree) at Goodwin College, I must identify the ideal skills, interests, and knowledge set that make a strong applicant to our program. Students who apply are recent high school graduates, career changers, or are in higher education with a desire to be in healthcare. An optician should be well versed in basic algebra, have mechanical dexterity, and a desire to work with people in a healthcare setting. After much reflection, I narrowed the ideal skills, interests, and knowledge set down to four categories: math, science, sales, and healthcare.
To be accepted into the program a student must have a C+ or better in Intermediate Algebra or a higher-level math course. Students who can apply mathematical principles with ease are naturally more successful in the program and as practicing opticians. Opticians use mathematical principles daily, sometimes without even realizing. Math is being applied when neutralizing a pair of eyeglasses on the lensometer, lining up a job for edging, or final inspection. Often times we need to transpose a spectacle prescription from plus to minus cylinder, convert a multifocal prescription to intermediate or near vision only, calculate slab off prism or compensate for vertex distance. We do all of this by using our math skills. For those opticians who fit contact lenses, math is used for gas permeable lens design, determining vertex compensation power, and modifying lens power after over refraction.
Students who have a curious mind and wonder how the human eye works, are ideal applicants to the program. Students with an interest in science tend to thrive in such courses as Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology of the Eye. Our biology course is demanding, but the knowledge gained is transferable to subsequent contact lens courses and applicable in the field. Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology of the Eye explain to students how the eye converts light into a visual image, anatomical and biological causes of refractive errors, as well as common eye disorders, and diseases of the eye and associated treatments.
At the end of the day, we are selling a product to a customer. To be successful as an optician it helps to enjoy working with people of various backgrounds and ages. In sales, one has to meet the customer’s needs and be a problem solver. In Goodwin College’s Optical Training Store, students apply “lifestyle dispensing.” Students learn how to get to know their customers/patients by listening to them and filling their optical needs. Opticianry is a multi-faceted profession in which one can work as an independent owner, for a corporate chain in the mall, in an optometric or ophthalmology office, or in a high-end or economy environment. Formal education allows the student to be able to know the “why” behind certain products and features to best serve the customer/patient.
Opticians are in a unique position as we work between the examining eye doctor and the consumer/patient. Students are drawn to the profession because of their interest in being part of healthcare, a desire to have direct patient care, and want to have an impact in patients’ lives by helping them see their best. Many ideal students are out there. Encourage them to join us in an exciting and rewarding field!
CONTINUING EDUCATIONCan Optician Be a Household Word?By Maryann Santos, ABOM, CT Licensed Optician
Children are often asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" The most common responses are: doctor, teacher, nurse, firefighter, or policeman . As children get older they learn about different professions such as accountant, lawyer, dentist, construction worker and electrician. Unless an optician is in the family, the profession of opticianry is rarely dinner time talk. Even children who wear glasses rarely consider being an optician. Why? If you ask the average optician how they landed in the field, many will say that they fell into the career by chance or it's been in their family.
Looking to the Future
To ensure the future growth of opticianry, we must make the profession a viable career option for the youth of today. How many careers offer the diversity that ours offers? We are afforded a profession that is a blend of math and science, healthcare, fashion, hands-on repairs and fabrication, sales and management, and even small business ownership. Opticians can work days, afternoons and evenings, weekends or Monday through Friday. There are national organizations that work to promote and sustain the profession. One is the Optician’s Association of America (OAA). This national group works to get opticianry to the eyes and ears of Americans with their public service announcements (PSAs) marketing the profession. They are active in Social Media, where you can search and “like” them on Facebook. There one can find PSA announcements and other videos, including links to share on your Timeline or Page. This is just another way to get opticianry “out there.”
Building a legacy
Another avenue to increase the visibility of our profession is building relationships with colleges. There are 30 members of the National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS) in the U.S. and Canada. The NFOS board is working to increase that number and to see schools open in states that have no opticianry programs. Bob Russo, President of the NFOS says, “As technology advances in the eye care profession, it is important that opticians have a thorough understanding of optics, to understand why we do things and to be able to troubleshoot optical prescriptions, in order to meet the visual expectations of our patients.”
Yet another way to advance our field is for opticians and/or state optician associations to contact local high school guidance departments and participate in their career fairs. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of opticians is projected to grow 24 percent from 2014 to 2024, a much faster growth compared to the average for all occupations combined. An aging population and increasing rates of chronic disease are expected to lead to greater demand for corrective eyewear. The jobs are there. Collectively, we need to promote this exciting profession in our own way. Perhaps by mentoring a young adult or offer a career transition person a day to shadow you at your place of employment.
Reading publications like this one says that you have an interest in promoting a best kept secret, opticianry. I urge you to join your local opticianry association and get to know the OAA. Together, we can make opticianry a household word.
THIS IS YOUR YEAR TO GO!
October 6-8, 2017 is OptiCon is ABO-NCLE's national education conference. If you are an apprentice optician, an opticianry student, a licensed optician, or an optical dispenser this is the place for you. Imagine ABO and NCLE credit classes all under one roof. In addition, there are review classes and opportunities to sit for your national boards.
One of the highlights is to watch the National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS) student reps compete in the annual College Bowl. Optical knowledge competition, jeopardy style. It's a lot of fun.
Being around like-minded professionals from all over the USA provides an opportunity for you to share best practices, meet people who may end up being life-ling friends, and can re-energize you professionally. The courses are outstanding as is the exhibit hall.
All of this takes place right outside of Magic Kingdom at Disney's Contemporary Resort.
Please visit ABO-NCLE website at https://www.abo-ncle.org/
Here is an excerpt from their website:
OptiCon® 2017 will take place from October 6 - October 8, 2017 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida at Disney's Contemporary Resort! Mark your calendar now so that you don't miss this event. Come to Disney before the conference, or stay after the conference to enjoy everything that Walt Disney World has to offer.
OptiCon® 2017 events will begin on Friday morning, October 6 with educational sessions, and continue through Sunday afternoon (October 8). Courses that are being scheduled include the following categories: Spectacle, Contact Lens, Business and Hands-On, Refraction for Opticians, as well as the ABO and NCLE exam review courses!
For more information on the conference itself, hotel and air travel, please click on the links to the left. Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.
We look forward to seeing you at Disney!
Tom Barracato, ABOC Patrick Goughary, NCLEM, ABOM
ABO Board Chair NCLE Board Chair
Ophthalmic Science changed its name to Vision Care Technology effective in the fall of 2017. After in-depth discussions with our many stakeholders, including faculty, staff, current students, our amazing advisory board, the general public and most critically prospective students, we believe changing the program name is appropriate.
Research of other accredited optical programs has revealed a trend away from that term toward more easily understood titles using the words “vision” and “care.” We believe that Vision Care Technology will engage, rather than confuse, and that the valuable time our faculty and admission officers currently spend correcting misunderstandings can more effectively be used to explain career benefits to prospective students.
Did you know that the Vision Care Technology program is on Facebook and LinkedIn?!?!
WE SURE ARE!
Be sure to click the links below and LIKE our pages. By connecting with each other on social media, we can help promote opticianry.
Looking forward to seeing you on social media!
Goodwin College: Vision Care Technology
Goodwin College: Associates degree in Vision Care Technology
Come out to support a Goodwin College alum at Simsbury Eye Care in Simsbury , CT
Check out Lafont Eyewear, sample French cuisine, and learn about the pairing of eyewear and fashion.
To Adjust or Not to Adjust
Glasses entire existence is based on the idea or concept of being able to help a person see. They spend about one third of a person’s day sitting nice and snug on an individual’s face. Depending on the individual, the life of a pair of glasses can be rough. Some people wear them and take such good care of them, when they are not on their face, they are in the case. However, there are people who are a bit rough on their glasses and may on occasion fall asleep with them on, play contact sports with them on, or misplace them in places, causing them to later be sat on or stepped on. For these glasses, in particular adjustments become a necessity in order to restore the owners comfort level as well as vision.
Glasses are made based off of specific measurements acquired before making a complete pair. The prescription within the lenses are placed in a person’s best area of vision, hence why a pupillary distance is taken. This measurement allows an Optician to make sure they place the prescription portion of the lens at the correct distance from one lens to the other. If a pair of eyeglasses are sitting crooked from laying on them, the wearer may experience eye strain. The reason for this is your eyes are trying to get into the best point of vision. Progressives lenses that have three different prescription strengths for distance, intermediate and reading, are even more greatly affected if glasses are not aligned properly. If the glasses have the front of the frame with one side higher than the other, this could cause eye strain and fatigue because one eye may be viewing into a portion of the lens with a different lens power faster than the other. If the front of the frame is significantly crooked, one eye could be looking through the distance portion and the other at the arm’s length or intermediate portion with the brain being confused as to which image should be used. Opticians measure the height from the bottom of the frame to the mid pupil in order to make sure the patient has the three areas of prescription where they would need it.
Besides the visual issues that can come from a person’s glasses needing an adjustment comfort can greatly be affected as well. The best places to go to get your glasses looked at and adjusted properly is an optical store that sells glasses. These places will have Opticians who specialize in adjusting eyeglass frames and restoring them to the correct way of sitting on a person’s face. Those who are Opticians have either gone to school for this skill or have apprenticed for a few years and are greatly skilled. Do not take it upon yourself to attempt to fix them as, you may end up breaking the glasses beyond repair. Leave it to the experts often it is a courtesy and saves you having to buy a new pair and the embarrassment of tape on any part of your glasses until a replacement comes in.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUBMISSION I.L.S
OAA Leadership Conference
February 9-11, 2017 marked the Opticians Association of America’s annual Leadership conference held in Savannah, Georgia. The host city was beautiful, rich with history and pleasantly warm. Attendees from the northeast missed a big snow storm!
There were opticians and optical students from all over the U.S., including Alaska. Many state societies were also represented and they sponsored students and apprentice opticians to attend. It was wonderful to be in a room full of like-minded individuals who want to promote opticianry through leadership, education, legislative representation, and communication. Being a member of the OAA is an investment in our profession as is attending Leadership. I am already looking forward for next year’s OAA Leadership conference in Charleston, South Carolina.
Some break-out sessions that were well attended include:
Money was raised for the Vision of Hope Foundation/Opticians Association of America. You can read about some of what they support and do here: http://www.oaa.org/who-we-are/giving-back We learned about how to plan for a successful mission trip and how life changing mission trips are for those being served and those serving.
I hope you consider attending next year!
Polycarbonate or Trivex? Tell us....
What’s your "go to" lens? Polycarbonate or Trivex? Share in the comments which one and why.
This is "our" place to share ideas, information and thoughts on opticianry, eyewear, & contact lenses.