3D D I S P E N S I N G.c o m
Discovery - Design - Delivery
Three Dimensional Dispensing
The Optician's Pathway To Success

The Optician's pathway to success is determined by
how well the eyewear makes contact with the Patient.

Discovery, Design, and Delivery
of Handcrafted, Form-Fitting Eyewear
aka Old Fashioned Hands-on Opticianry and
where we teach Opticians who think they know, how
to custom fit temples to the topography of the mastoid.

Opticianry is ultimately defined by how well the eyewear makes contact with
the Patient, not by the number of sales or customers served.
Opticians are highly
skilled Eyewear Professionals.
Optical Dispensaries are Health and Wellness Facilities.

"Most people think the optometric examination is important. It is, but
the discovery, design and delivery of the eyewear are more important
because this is where the patient is subjectively engaged in the choice of
their eyewear. And, who is the first person the patient comes back to if any
issue needs to be corrected? The dispenser, of course!" -- Ian Marks, Optician



Teaches the principles of excellence in the Discovery,
Design, and Delivery of handcrafted form-fitting eyewear

Improved job security for prescription Eyewear Professionals

Discovery, Design, Delivery

Discovery                          Design                               Delivery


It's time for three-dimensional dispensing, a time honored craftsmanship that includes:
. Discovery of the real needs of the Patient by way of an in-depth Lifestyle Interview,
. An unbiased Design of frame and lenses that fulfill the Patient's real vision needs, and
. Delivery of hand-customized eyewear, which creates a multi-dimensional balance in
relation to the visual axis, the face and skull, and results in a skull conforming,
form-fitting that precisely matches the topography of the Patient's features.

. Why do we so often consider Consumers mere customers
when they present us with a doctor's prescription for eyewear?
. Why not consider consumers Patients requiring vision care?
. Wouldn't this change the way we relate in terms of time and kind of
service we render them? (Maybe this is why we relate to them merely as
customers. We want to be simply merchants. Too much responsibility, otherwise.)
. Aren't optical dispensaries supposed to be genuine healthcare facilities where we
provide Three Dimensional Dispensing, i.e., Discovery, Design, and Delivery of
prescription eyewear, and where the Patient's health and wellness needs are served?


"Handcrafting prescription eyewear to fit the consumer
cannot be outsourced to virtual sources. It is an art form,
which requires actual and direct contact with the patient.
It cannot be learned or practiced in a lecture hall setting."

"For the last few decades our collective mindset has manifested as,
'Divided we stand... united we fall.' We must shift to, 'United we stand...
divided we fall,’ as our paradigm. Instead of 'money is the answer, what
is the question', it's time for 'service is the answer, what is the question?'"

"More than half of all people in the United States use some type of lens
to correct their vision. How many of these have been able to acquire
handcrafted, form-fitting eyewear?" -- OpticiansForChange.com

"It's time for Opticians to receive practical form-fitting training,
an art form and craft, which cannot be taught or learned virtually.
It's time for those Opticians who know to teach those who do not know.
And it is incumbent on those who do not know to surrender their ego."

"The real challenge for any Optician is to take a symmetrically 4-point-squared
device and handcraft it to fit an asymmetrically shaped surface. The answer
is hands-on training, hands-on training, hands-on training. It's time for those
Opticians who know to teach those who do not know. And it's time for those
Opticians who do not know to surrender their ego." -- Dispensing Guidelines

"When Opticians relate to Consumers as customers, it often has an adverse
impact on the relationship. When Consumers purchase prescription eyewear
they should invariably be served as 'Patients', never as 'customers'. Patients
receive healthcare. Customers receive merchandise." -- 3DDispensing.com

But does it fit the patient?

"If you will recall, Opticianry is ultimately defined by how well
the eyewear fits the Patient. So, the real issue for Opticians and
Consumers to consider, is not whether prescription eyewear can be
purchased in stores or online. The real issue is the current deficiency
in the delivery of eyewear due to the absence of the craftsmanship
and skills required to dispense form-fitting eyewear to the Consumer.
The real challenge for any Optician is to take a symmetrically, 4-points-
squared device and handcraft it to fit an asymmetrically shaped surface.
The answer is hands-on training, hands-on training, hands-on training.
It's time for those Opticians who know to teach those who do not know.

And it is time for any Opticians who do not know to surrender their egos.
It's been predicted that if Opticians fail to practice customizing eyewear to
fit the Patient, Opticianry will become irrelevant as a healthcare profession."

"Just as Hairstylists cannot practice without tactile contact with a consumer,
Opticians cannot dispense eyewear without direct contact with the Patient.
Unskilled eyeglass merchants routinely hand over prescription glasses without
hands-on assessment, nor any of the appropriate touch and feel required for
handcrafting eyewear. And when skilled Opticians dispense eyewear, they can
determine for themselves how the eyewear feels even in lieu of asking the Patient."

"Today's retail optical paradigm needs to be upgraded to that of serving
Healthcare Patients, as opposed to serving retail customers. Only then can
Opticians be seen as Healthcare Professionals, instead of mere merchants."

'The Professional Ego'

There are a number of conflicted forces at work within the ophthalmic dispensing industry, which keep us from making progress. The two biggest are:

.) We have not yet effectively dealt with the reality that the majority of current dispensers are woefully under trained and extremely challenged when it comes to handcrafting prescription eyewear. For instance, I know senior Opticians who attend Optical Workshops who are unable to adequately customize eyewear directly on a Patient. (The number one complaint by prescription eyewear consumers is they are unable to acquire well fitting eyewear.)

.) There's also a lot of what I call 'professional ego' or shaktipad*, whereby many 'Opticians' are unable to admit, either through ignorance or antipathy, that they really do not know (many only think they know and take umbrage when challenged) how to fit handcrafted eyewear. They are convinced that they need no further training, that they've been adjusting eyewear for years and see no need to change.

Regarding this 'professional ego' issue, I suggest that we ask a question of those dispensers who claim they already know how to fit eyewear and those who claim that they have been working as an Optician for several years.

"But have you had any formal training in fitting handcrafted eyewear?"

The problem is that many folks are self-taught, and most of those who came up as apprentices were taught by dispensers who have had no formalized hands-on the consumer training.

I am convinced this decades-old history is the main reason Opticianry as a profession has lost, and continues to lose market share.

Therefore it is incumbent on those who know to teach those who do not know. And it is incumbent on those who do not know to surrender their ego. OpticalGuidelines.com

*Shaktipad: The status or mind-set of an optical dispenser who knows far less than they think they know, and who fails to acknowledge it. The worst case scenario is that the optician falls into the trap of convincing themselves and others that only they know the best way, and that the old ways need to change, going forward. Beware of the 'tiger's bite'! Shaktipad is a normal consequence of 'riding the tiger' of pride. One must ever be alert to the signs in order to take appropriate action. In the case of opticians, the remedy is to seek out practical training with the attitude of a student, i.e., one who surrenders their ego, and realizes that learning never stops, that one can always improve their skills. See Ego Eradicator.




Consumers deserve a pleasant experience.
s deserve as much time as they need.
Consumers deserve handcrafted prescription eyewear.

What do Manicurists, Hairstylists, Dentists, and
Opticians have in common? They have to make direct,
tactile contact with consumers while dispensing services.

When Opticians do not touch the Consumer at the time
they dispense their eyewear, they're acting more as
unskilled eyeglass merchants than as an Opticians.

There is no right or wrong way to dispense eyewear.
There is only the Patient's way. Therefore, take as
much time as needed
to handcraft their eyewear.

Opticianry is ultimately defined by how well the eyewear makes
contact with the Patient, not by the number of Customers served.
Our mission is to humanize the delivery of prescription eyewear.

Dentists, Manicurists and Hairstylists make direct contact with the
consumer. Likewise, Opticians must make direct contact with the Patient.
Hands on the Patient Opticians, can determine by sense of touch how a
frame feels even in lieu of asking the Patient. Only an eyeglass merchant
routinely hands over prescription glasses with no hands-on assessment, nor
the appropriate touch and feel required to handcraft and form-fit the eyewear.

1950s Optician-assisted frame selection


"Opticianry is defined by how well the eyewear makes contact with the patient.
Eyeglass consumers need and deserve the following:
a) Optician-assisted, in-depth lifestyle interview;
b) Optician-assisted, design and selection;
c) Handcrafted, form-fitting eyewear;
d) Free lifetime adjustments and
minor repair services, none of
which are available online."
See EyewearGenie.com.

Many dispensers practice four-pointing eyewear on a flat surface as
a substitute for handcrafting eyewear directly on the Patient. This is a
pointless, time consuming exercise after the frame is initially squared,
usually at the lab. Once four-pointed, the eyewear must be fashioned by
skilled hands, using appropriate tools, to fit the contours that are unique to
each Patient's face-skull, to wit four-pointing becomes an exercise in 'fluff.'

Four pointing a frame

Handcrafted frame-fitting, i.e., touch and feel, hands-on dispensing,
cannot be outsourced to text books or virtual sources. It is an art form and
craft, which requires direct and multi-dimensional contact with the Patient.

Today's retail optical paradigm needs to be upgraded to that of serving
Healthcare Patients, as opposed to serving retail customers. Only then can
Opticians be seen as Healthcare Professionals, instead of mere merchants.

The customized fitting of eyewear involves more than just adjusting a nose
piece or bending a temple. It has to include the reshaping, bending, stretching,
twisting and artful sculpting of the frame components in order to personalize the
eyewear. Anything less will most likely compromise the Patient's visual comfort
and full-time wearability. The difference between merely adjusting and form-fitting
is what's different between today's eyewear merchants and yesterday's Opticians.

Opticians are highly skilled Healthcare Providers.
Optical Dispensaries are Health and Wellness Facilities.

Any ophthalmic dispenser who is not practicing basic guidelines as described at DispensingGuidelines.com is a mere eyeglass merchant, not an Optician. And this is the major reason why many of today's PRESCRIPTION eyewear consumers purchase their eyewear online. See GlassesOnlineWarning.com. See Letter To Eye Care Professionals. See The Danger Independent Opticians Face. See EyewearGenie.com. See My Two Sense.

If you are not practicing Opticianry with the application of 3D Dispensing, Discovery-Design-Delivery, skills, i.e., a) Discovery of the consumers REAL eyewear needs in an unbiased Comprehensive Lifestyle Interview, b) Using yesteryear skills in both the Design of eyewear, and Tactile, Touch and Feel Hands on the Consumer Delivery of prescription eyewear, let’s be honest, you are a big part of the cause of today’s proliferation of online sales. And only you can restore market share to the ECP industry, more skillful professional services for consumers, and lost art-craftsmanship skills to the Opticianry profession. See 50 Things On Line Sellers Simply Cannot Do.

Also, we recommend across-the-board-charging of a realistic fee to Web-based consumers who seek follow up attention for ill-fitting eyewear. (This is addressed in some detail elsewhere.) Of course, we must see to it that we have the hands-on skills to warrant our fees. Opticians have historically offered free lifetime service, but with the advent of the Internet, lifetime services can only be realistically offered to full-fee consumers. Again, we must have the hands-on skills to warrant the fee. And for many Opticians, even many senior Opticians, this could be a real challenge.

Where there is NO DIFFERENCE between the service offerings of a brick-and-mortar merchant and an online vendor, other than price, many consumers understandably choose the online source. Online providers are 7/24 accessible, cheaper, and offer the same absence of direct human contact as a majority of today’s dispensaries. What’s not to like? Note: Keep in mind that 7-11 stores are successful even though their prices are high. Why? Because consumers mostly get the Service and Quality they want. See The Danger Independent Opticians Face. See OpticalViews.com.

There are only three things the optical industry can offer the prescription eyewear consumer, SERVICE, QUALITY and PRICE. But most latter-years dispensaries currently ever offer ONLY TWO of these, simultaneously. Why can’t we offer SERVICE, i.e., 1) HANDS-ON THREE DIMENSIONAL DISPENSING, 2) QUALITY PRODUCTS, and 3) FAIR PRICING, all three simultaneously, like we used to do? This leaves the online providers with only their cheaper prices with no custom fitting skills for that segment of the market, and leave the remaining market (we’re talking mostly about full-time-wear prescription-wearing consumers, not those looking for plano sunwear or readers) to Eyewear Professionals. A big challenge now, is that the industry has devolved to the point of being extremely deficient of Multi-Dimension Dispensing Opticians.

Three Dimensional Design

From Individual Custom Eyewear Frames

The majority of prescription eyewear consumers relates to and seeks customized Discovery, Design, Delivery, including Quality Products, IF and WHEN these are available. What has prompted the migration of consumers to the Internet is that Multi-Dimensional Dispensing skills have become more the exception than the rule. We, for instance, have served consumers in recent years that were literally shocked to experience a tactile, hands-on, touch and feel frame fitting, having never seen nor experienced such service. Sad! -- Opticians For Change


Sustained and conscientious emphasis on the following procedures is necessary for the qualitative dispensing of prescription eyewear.

DISCOVERY... of the Consumer's real visual needs by way of a Comprehensive Lifestyle Interview, followed by a fully objective and Unbiased Disclosure of all prospective eyewear options and costs.

DESIGN... of the Consumer's eyewear, i.e., lenses and frame, by way of Hands on the Patient, in-place, on the face Visual and Tactile assessment. Tactile Assessment is one of the most important, yet least implemented aspects in today's retail optical marketplace. Frame Design and Adjustment, especially the more subtle aspects, is an artful skill, which can be acquired only through practice and experience. NOTE: This expertise cannot be learned virtually, it can only be learned practically.

DELIVERY... of the Consumer's eyewear by way of the most subtle, skillful and artfully handcrafted, touch and feel techniques of frame-fitting. See Dispensing Guidelines.

See Custom Frame Fitting Up Close and Personal. See Final Fitting. See Serving vs Selling.


No two heads or faces have the same dimensions, so the delivery
of eyewear 'as is' or as if it's one-size-fits-all, is NOT an option.

"Patients deserve custom-fitted prescription eyewear.
When adjusting glasses, you're fitting a human being
for comfort, not an inanimate table for square or for pretty.
Opticians must observe and feel glasses in-place on the Patient
and then take the time to align and handcraft the eyewear to fit."

Can you spot asymmetries in these photos?*

How will anomalies affect the design of patient's lenses?*
Do facial asymmetries translate into ear-skull anomalies?
Can these be overcome via lens-frame design and-or adjustments?


"There is no right or wrong way.
There is only the Patient's way."

Although the Full Discovery Lifestyle Interview and Frame Fitting Techniques are not the only aspects of what we call Ophthalmic Dispensing, today they are much underrated, even subordinated skills. Frame design and fitting skills can be acquired only through direct, practical experience that must include a) Visual-Tactile, Hands-on Assessment, b) Gross Frame Alignment, i.e., correcting the most obvious frame and lens misalignments, and c) Subtle Frame-Temple Adjustments, i.e., hand crafted multi-dimensional adjustments that include 'touch and feel' procedures such as reshaping the temple ends to make direct but light form-fitting contact with the skull and mastoid behind the ears, while simultaneously avoiding any direct contact of the frame components with the pressure-sensitive ears, is one of the single most important considerations for the Patient's long term comfort and full-time wearability. Full but light contact with the skull, NOT THE EARS, along with the bridge of the nose, are the primary means of alignment and support for the frame. See example. NOTE: The ears are used as a means of frame alignment.

"The most perfect prescription can be compromised if the eyewear
does not provide the Patient with comfortable, long term wearability."

Not only is a poorly fitted frame likely to cause discomfort, and inconvenience to the Patient, but in cases of higher lens powers and high astigmatic corrections it can even adversely impact the effectiveness of the prescription, thus creating additional visual problems. And a poorly fit frame will most often result in the Patient broadcasting an undesirable image of Ophthalmic Dispensing, as well. Get the rap on wrap-arounds here. See advisory on frame selection here.

*SPECIAL NOTE: Multi-focal lenses are routinely ordered today with the reading portion placed at matching heights because vertically-equal eye symmetry is assumed to be the norm and-or "it looks better" when the segments can be observed as vertically and horizontally equidistant, and because vertical eye asymmetry is not considered as a design factor, even though its consideration is important for the Patient's visual balance and comfort at the near and intermediate points. In fact, eyewear merchants don't allow for any disparate bifocal segment height or seg inset in their lens design, even in their software. Skilled Opticians however, compensate for the Patient's structural disparities by way of frame and lens designs and-or handcrafted frame adjustments.

"It is how well the eyewear makes contact with the
Patient that ultimately defines Ophthalmic Dispensing."


1) Hands-on, In-Place, On-The-Face Assessment
2) Handcrafted 'Touch and Feel' Adjustments

A well-fitted frame will come into physical contact with the wearer at only three points, namely the bridge of the nose, and on each side of the head including behind each ear. These three points form a triangle known as the fitting triangle, as illustrated above. The temples should not touch the side of the head before reaching the ears. Should this occur, it creates a constant tendency for the eyewear to slip forward and down resulting in an unacceptable displacement of the lenses, and unwanted pressure on the Patient's nose and behind the ears, often causing soreness.

Also, great care must be taken to ensure the temple ends-tips do not touch the sensitive cartilage behind the ear. The frame is held steadfastly as the result of only a slight touching pressure on the side of the head behind each ear. The temple ends should be crafted to follow the contours of the mastoid complex. When executed properly, this procedure produces a multi-dimensional balance both in relationship to the ears and in relation to the skull, resulting in a skull conforming, 'like-a-glove' fitting that completely matches the topography of the Patient's skull. To the inexperienced Dispenser the results can look severe (see example) but it all blends in, unseen and unnoticed, when worn by the Patient. This is perhaps the least understood and least applied of any of the artful, more Subtle Frame Adjustments, which of course 'Mature Generation' Opticians are accustomed to providing.

NOTE: When completed, the temple ends may even look crooked, bent and misshapen. But how do the temples fit the Patient? Dispensers are hereby cautioned against making subjective judgments as to frame appearance, especially the temples, following the application of any Subtle Frame Adjustments since the objective is to make the Patient comfortable while wearing the eyewear full-time, and not just to satisfy the Dispenser's personal aesthetic sense of the frame, especially for the temples to look straight, squared, and 'pretty' while 'four pointed' on a flat, 'one-dimensional' surface. A PATIENT'S FACE AND SKULL IS NOT A FLAT SURFACE. Given the numerous anomalies of human facial and skull structure, a 'frame-squared' fitting can be, and in most cases is, the antithesis of Patient comfort. "You are fitting a Patient for comfort, not a flat surface for square or for pretty." See example.

An experienced skillful Dispenser is able to 'take charge' of the dispensing process and anticipate adverse visual and fitting issues before the Patient has to endure them, thereby avoiding the necessity and inconvenience of return visits and-or a possible redos, or worse, a refund.

Tactile Hands on the Patient Contact Is Essential


"The Optician must touch and feel the eyewear
on the Patient. Each Patient deserves handcrafted,
multi-dimensional, form-fitting frame adjustments
in-place, on the face in order for chronic discomfort issues to
be eliminated or at least minimized after proper adjustments."

After placing the frame (See OpticalGuidelines.com) on the Patient and making a hands-on, in-place, on-the-face, tactile-visual assessment, a careful adjustment of the nose piece along with handcrafted sculpting of the temples at all points of contact is extremely important so that any frame contact is caressing, i.e., not pressing, pinching, rubbing or grabbing. One principle to remember in three-point fitting is, "No touch, no hold", i.e., at any point of the fitting triangle where the bridge and temple ends do not touch the nose and head, there is a reduced ability for the face-head to support the eyewear and thus hold it comfortably in place.

Gaps and spaces are obvious when observing poorly fit frames, especially while touching and feeling the frame while it is in-place on the Patient. The idea is to remove ANY gaps or spaces between the Patient's skull and respective points of frame contact behind the ears. Again, where there's no touch, there's no hold. The displacement is usually too subtle to be seen, and if there is no direct touching-feeling by the Dispenser while the frame is in-place, on-the-face, there's almost no way to perceive the subtlest points of no-contact.


The complete frame fitting procedure, when it is fully applied, involves three distinct steps:

Basic Frame Alignment,

Visual-Tactile Assessment of the frame's contact with the skull at all points of contact,

Subtle Frame Adjustment.

Gaps between the frame temples and the skull can be easily felt behind the Patient's ears using the Sense of Touch. When the temple ends are hand crafted and contoured to fit the mastoid complex, they may resemble something akin to a segment of a pretzel, such as in the case of a 'wavy' mastoid bone or a mastoidectomy. But when the treated temple-ends are placed on the Patient, even the most radical reshaping becomes invisible to an observer and the resultant fit is extremely comfortable. See photo below.


Note big gap between skull and temple-end.

"Where there's no touch, there's no hold.
Temple-ends must fully contact the mastoid complex.
Temple-ends cannot hold eyewear in place for long-term
comfort if they do not make full contact with the mastoid.
Full contact does not mean pressure. Touch only is necessary."

Every Patient deserves sufficiently handcrafted,
multi-dimensional, form-fitting frame adjustments, e.g.,
gaps and spaces are removed from between the frame's
temples and the skull behind the ears, in order to enhance
comfort, stability, and full-time wearability. Full contact with
a light touch of the skull, NOT THE EARS, is the primary means
by which the frame should be held in place for long-term comfort.
Note: If you're able to teach this skill, contact me at LinkedIn.com.

Form-fitting the Mastoid Complex
with Handcrafted Mastoid Dip and Wrap

Form-fitted for actual patient

Bends are not seen when worn!

. Note old bend position
. Estimate new bend position
. Straighten and re-bend (3 bends)
. Make vertical bend just past ear crest
. Bend temple-end to create mastoid-dip
. Bend remainder to create wrap around skull

BEFORE temple-end is in out-of-the-box condition,
i.e., it doesn't make contact with the Patient's skull,
whereas the AFTER temple has been form-fitted with
an added handcrafted mastoid dip and mastoid wrap.
It now fits the mastoid bone like a glove since it has been
shaped to make full, direct contact with this Patient's skull.
The customized temple-ends become invisible when worn
and the resultant fit avoids pressure and is extremely comfortable.
Note: This skill cannot be learned virtually, i.e., via lecture or online.
This skill is acquired only by handcrafting the eyewear using direct, face
to face, on the Patient, tactile, touch and feel contact with the Patient. The
availability, knowledge and skilled use of related handcrafting tools is essential.
Also, keep in mind that online merchants are incapable of providing this service.

But when worn by the Patient, as shown in the photo above, the temple ends look, feel, and fit like a glove, no space or gaps. This kind of custom fitting utilizes the contact surfaces to their maximum. The removal of the space and gaps however, requires Subtle Frame Adjustments, reshaping, even 'sculpting' of the temples with a bit of artistic skill. The eyewear will now fit only that person for whom it was intended, and provides a truly customized, balanced and comfortable fit. See Letter To ECPs.

Up Close and Personal

The highest level of customized frame fitting, aligning, and sculpting, is achieved mostly with handcrafting skill and the trained eye, along with the aid of hand tools. A successful multi-dimensional frame alignment and fitting can be achieved only when the Optician 1) visually assesses the eyewear in-place, on the face of the Patient, and 2) uses the sense of touch and feel simultaneously to determine any anomalies between the frame's temples and the Patient's skull. In most cases, the Dispenser cannot remain seated.

That is to say, the Optician must get up, and get close to the face of the Patient, otherwise an appropriate evaluation cannot occur. In other words, the Optician must stand and lean over the seated Patient in order to make the required observations at different angles to the front and rear of the Patient's head. The fitting-adjustment procedure itself also requires the removal and re-placement of the eyewear directly on the Patient as many times as necessary to complete, and the entire evaluation including any touch-feel fitting procedure requires sufficient time to execute properly, i.e., no procedures can be be rushed. Haste makes for waste. See more Hands-on Fitting details here.

A: When temples too tight, spread temples

B: When temples too loose, bring temples in
C: When just right, temples touch head with no pressure

"Most people have at least a few subtle
facial-cranial anomalies to be reckoned with.
The Dispenser must stand up, look and feel behind
the ears, then look down over the top of the Patient's
head to acquire the above view of the fitting triangle.
Use your hands to manipulate the head, the frame, and
to feel the temple ends relative to the mastoid complex."

Example A: Incorrect fit.
The temples touch the side of the head before reaching the ears. This is a common fitting error and can be very uncomfortable for the Patient. It creates a constant tendency for the frame to slip forward resulting in additional pressure on the nose and behind the ears as well.

Do this: Bring the temples out at the end piece and bend the temples in toward the skull and behind the ear line if necessary.

Example B: Incorrect fit.
There is excessive bowing of the temples causing extra pressure behind the ears. In this case the eyewear frame should have been adjusted from the end- pieces first to allow for a straighter temple alignment.

Do this: Bring the temples in at the end piece and remove the bowing if necessary.

Example C: Correct fit.
Note how the temples go straight back toward the ears and come in contact with the Patient only at the three points of the fitting triangle. Also note that the equal and parallel distance of planes of the lenses to the plane of the face can only be observed from above the Patient. The Dispenser cannot accomplish this while seated.

Again, the Dispenser is greatly handicapped in the fitting process by a) Merely looking frontally into the Patient's face from across the dispensing table, b) Not visually assessing the lay of the frame from multiple angles, even from above the Patient, and c) Not touching and feeling the eyewear, in-place, on-the-face, which includes the frame temples where they make contact with the skull, especially the mastoid complex behind the ears.

The Basic Frame Alignment, being the most obvious, begins even before placement of the frame on the Patient with the squaring of the 'x' frame axis or plane, as illustrated here, followed by the Hands-on Assessment of the nosepiece-bridge while in-place, on-the-face, then continues on to the squaring of the 'y' and 'z' planes, and ends with the reshaping of the temples, always working from the front-to-rear, face-to-mastoid, of the Patient's head.


Conventional coordinates for optical system analysis:
1) X-axis - the horizontal, 2) Y-axis - the vertical,
and 3) Z-axis - the optical axis of the system.

x, y, and z planes


In most cases frames are fit so that the pupil is positioned several millimeters above the optical center of the lens. When this occurs some Pantoscopic tilt is desirable as shown in figure A, above.

Less commonly, when the pupil is positioned directly behind the optical center, an Orthoscopic frame tilt is recommended. In the very unusual situation where the pupil is positioned below the optical center of the lens, a Retroscopic angle is called for as in figure C.

For every millimeter the pupil is positioned above the optical center of the lens about two degrees of pantoscopic angle should be applied to the front.

Ideally, for good cosmetics, there should be approximately 8 - 10 degrees of pantoscopic angle for most frames. With some unusual shapes, it may be even be necessary to specify the vertical decentration of the distance optical center.

Positive face form should be used when the Patient's PD is narrower than the GCD of the frame. Since this is usually the case, most frames will have some positive face form.

In instances where the GCD and the PD are the same, no face form is best.

In the very unusual instance where the Patient's PD is actually wider than the frame PD, negative face form should be employed. However, the need to apply negative face form can usually be avoided with a more appropriate frame selection.

The Patient should always be advised of any critical fitting issues, e.g., too short or too long temples, too narrow bridge, too shallow eye size, should they select a frame with poor fitting qualities, which does not accommodate their features, there being no alternate sizes available. The Patient can then make a more informed selection. Get the rap on wrap-arounds here. See advisory on frame selection here.

The temple is too short in the photo, left, and the temple-end, right,
makes contact with the skull only at the very tip. See form-fitted temple.

As mentioned earlier, care should be taken during frame selection to insure a good fit for the bridge. When using non-adjustable bridges, little can be done to alter the fit at the time of delivery. When fitting frames with adjustable nose pads, the main issue is to be sure the entire area of the pad is resting on the nose. If the pad is angled in such a way that only a portion of it is resting on the nose, there's a tendency for it to “dig in” and cause soreness.

Commonly Required Basic Frame Alignment

Left lens is higher - Bend left temple up, or right temple down.

Right lens is higher - Bend right temple up, or left temp down.

Left lens is lower - Bend left temple down, or right temple up.

Right lens is lower - Bend right temple down, or left temple up.

Left lens is farther in - Bend left endpiece in.

Left lens is farther out - Bend left endpiece out.

Right lens is farther in - Bend right endpiece in.

Right lens is farther out - Bend right endpiece out.

Increase pantoscopic angle - Bend both temples, or endpiece down.

Decrease pantoscopic angle - Bend both temples, or endpieces up.

The list above may be partially summarized by the following: “in with in; out with out; up with up; down with down.” Which means if a lens too far in, bend the temple or endpiece in to bring it farther out; if one lens is too far up, bend the temple or endpiece up to lower that side, and so on. Manipulating the frame tilt has the effect of bringing the frame either farther away or closer to the cheeks and eyebrows. Manipulating the face form will also effect the distance the frame lies from the cheeks. The entire frame front may be lowered or raised by widening or narrowing the bridge, and as previously mentioned, this is most easily accomplished with adjustable nose pads. See Common Complaints and Causes.

Subtle, Personalized Frame Adjustments

"Just as a dentist cannot practice dentistry without direct patient contact, an
Optician cannot effectively dispense without tactile contact with the patient.
Unskilled eyewear merchants routinely hand over prescription glasses with
no hands-on assessment, nor the appropriate ‘touch and feel’ required to
custom fit the eyewear. When skilled Opticians dispense however, they can
determine for themselves how the frame feels in addition to asking the patient."

The Subtle Frame Adjustment, (see example) is considered to be a more advanced and sophisticated aspect of the frame-fitting procedure, i.e., it is multi-dimensional, with most attention given to hand-crafting detail, along with sufficient time and patience to accomplish the tasks. It can be demonstrated only by hands-on-direct tactile instruction, and it can be learned only by direct experience. Therefore, this subject cannot be fully addressed within the confines of this Course. A workshop setting, whereby the related tools and materials are available to the participants, is required. These techniques cannot be taught virtually.

For instance, Subtle Frame Adjustment involves the conscious, and somewhat artistic hand crafting or contouring-sculpting of the temples to the Patients skull whereby any space or gaps between the skull and temples are removed. (See photo.) This is the most sophisticated aspect of hands-on frame fitting and requires some level of artistic skill. It is the least known and thereby the least practiced, even by many senior generation Opticians. The resultant effects are the least visible but most comfortable while being worn in-place by the Patient, yet it is given the least attention by today's Dispensers due to the subtleties involved. It is of great importance, however, in spite of its subtlety, for the Patient's maximum long term comfort.


From an East Coast Optician.

"The good news is that this issue was addressed at the webinar, was it last week? To what I remember, the plan is to promote (for lack of better word) Opticians... I got really excited about the possibility, now we just need to see it come to pass and I hope sooner rather than later." --

  Thank you, for your feedback!

I agree. However, we face an apparent daunting task. I mean, these issues have been 'discussed' at many levels of the industry for years with no real action taken.

My view: There are a number of conflated forces at work, which keep us from making progress. The two biggest are:

1) We have not yet effectively dealt with the reality that the majority of current dispensers are woefully undertrained and extremely challenged when it comes to handcrafting prescription eyewear. For instance, I know senior Opticians who come to my workshops who are unable to adequately customize eyewear directly on a patient. (There's also a lot of what I call 'professional ego' involved in that many 'Opticians' are unable to admit, either through ignorance or antipathy, that they really do not know (some only think they know) how to fit handcrafted eyewear on a patient. See DispensingGuidelines.com.

2) And even if we had plenty of experienced, skilled Opticians at the ready, corporate retail interests and their unskilled, inexperienced managers will not allow adequate time and space for appropriate handcrafted skills to be applied at the dispensing table. (As you well know, it takes sufficient time to handcraft eyewear directly on the patient. Of course, this can be done fairly quickly, but only by skilled and experienced Opticians.) They are too interested in numbers of sales and serving their stockholders interests ($) at the expense of the Consumer, their real base. Serving their consumer-base is when their stockholders are best served. Too many optical retailers don't get it, in that we are a genuine healthcare industry, and Opticians are Healthcare Professionals dispensing prosthetic devices, not ready-to-wear eyeglass merchants. (I could tell you some really interesting albeit disturbing stories based on my experiences since 1958.)

The task is not impossible and I remain an optimist, but I have not seen anything to indicate we've stopped the rhetoric to the point where we're really getting our 'edge and groove' back. Time is short!

This is the principle, which must be the industry's universal, personal and corporate theme. "Opticianry is ultimately defined by how well the eyewear makes contact with the Patient, not by the number of customers served.” Once adopted, the industry will once again excel in the art form and craft of humanized Opticianry. See Indivijual Custom Eyewear Frames.

And here's a follow up from a senior Optician.

"One thing I have run into is today's optical world works at the top of the bell curve only by being interested in or capable of serving 60% of the eyeglass wearing public. With the rest, it is hit or miss at best. I would say that the new optical people need to understand what an Ultex is and why someone might be wearing one today, how to build a Numount, a Balgrip, or fit an aphakic lenticular. In our onesize fits all world, one size really fits about half. You fit a person with an ophthalmic prosthetic so that they can function in their day to day life. This requires a human touch, not a used car salesperson." --


Whatever happened to old-fashioned
Hands on the Patient Opticianry?

Contact Lens Care and Compliance

Eyewear For Hard-To-Fit Patients

NCLE No Fee CEs For Opticians

The Rap on Wrap-arounds

Sunwear Is Not An Option

About Professional Egos

Time For Craftsmanship

American Board of Opticianry accredited and Florida State Board approved CE hours
for Intermediate and Advanced Level Opticians in Handcrafted Frame Fitting are
currently offered under the sponsorship of POF, the Professional Opticians of
Florida. Click or Call 855-410-2700 to arrange for Training Session.




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