Change is the end result of all true learning.

'Professional Egotism'

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 egotism and shaktipad (see NOTES* below), whereby many 'Opticians' are unable to admit, either through ignorance or antipathy, that they really do not know how to adjust eyewear, i.e., handcraft eyewear directly on a patient. Many only think they know and take umbrage when challenged. They have convinced themselves that they need no more training because they've been adjusting frames for years, and they see no need to change.

Regarding this 'professional egoism' issue, we suggest that we ask this 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. "Have you had any formal training in handcrafting eyewear directly on the consumer?"

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, frame-adjustment training.

This decades-old history is the main reason, not price, that 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


EGOTISM is the feeling or belief that one is better, more important, more talented, etc., than other people.

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

New eye implant helps eliminate reading glasses.


My Six 'Sense'

Read Me First.


Check out this headline, then follow the comments we've received.

BREAKING NEWS: Luxottica setting eye on the online market

This is certainly an interesting move by Luxottica. The uneasy relationship with independent online retailers may well change given their entry into this marketplace. Whilst the purchase of eyewear will ultimately remain a bricks and mortar proposition in the main, Luxottica have insight into the growth of this market/channel as their brands including Ray Ban Oakley and others are online stars. Its also interesting that they have chosen Glasses.com in part due to their development of a very impressive virtual try on smart phone application. There is much controversy over the genesis of this tool as Ditto.com claims Glasses.com have purchased patents in a 'patent troll' fashion and have essentially copied their technology. Watch this space...

Phooey! I think we do not give the public enough credit for common sense. My experience is that online purchasing is really not affecting practices so much, in fact many people who have tried it are now coming in having had bad experiences. Sure, some people will go there, but to think that it will take over the entire retail aspect or a large portion of it is insane. People want a personal hands-on experience when it comes to eyewear. Its up to Opticians to educate and reinforce the greater advantages, shopping experience, and back up there is to be had by visiting your local Optometrist or Optician.

So we all knew they were going to do something big in online sales, and they did. There is a way forward to compete with this, just don't have the answers right now, today. I think the first question is: Can an independent practice survive over the next twenty years without going online? Once you know the answer to that question, then you will find the answer to the bigger question of how.

I certainly wouldn't buy dentures online and I cringe when I hear about "old enough to know better" people ordering glasses online. It seems odd to me that on the one hand we have Luxottica/Lenscrafters saying that their glasses are returnable after their staff takes any required measurements, and now offering glasses where the customer takes their own measurements. I certainly would not like to work for a company that wants to eliminate the importance of the service that Opticians provide.

Online purchases are going to grow. Just like contact lenses...people will still come in and get an exam, and a pair, but that "second cheap spare pair" will more and more be bought online.

My six 'sense'. This Luxottica news is not surprising. It continues the decades-old and ever-increasing prostitution of Opticianry. As an Optician of 56 years, and one of only a few remaining 'old school' hands-on the patient Opticians who teaches the art, this is my advice to any Optician, and especially those who are considering Opticianry as a career.
Eyewear 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.
Until our industry acts collectively to get back to putting Hands-on-the-Consumer service first, there's no certification or licensure that can save us. PRACTICAL HANDS-ON TRAINING IS OUR ONLY JOB SECURITY. See Letter to ECPs. See TimeForCraftsmanship.com.

1) Do you consider prescription eyewear to be medical devices, which require precisely crafted fit and finish for your long term comfort and wearability?
2) Do you consider dentures to be medical devices, which require precisely crafted fit and finish for your long term comfort and wearability?
3) Would you consider purchasing such devices online?
4) If so, how or where will you acquire replacement, repair and-or adjustment services? See Glasses Online Warning. See 3DDispensing.com. See DispensingGuidelines.com. See Serving Versus Selling. Stay tuned.

Here's more.

The question is whether they will finally rule the eyewear industry through their continuous purchasing of companies, frame designers and manufacturers etc. If we really do understand the importance and value of independent eyewear professionals whose approach and selection are far different than the big box folks, and certainly the on-line crazies,and if we try and support these people in all that they do, including opticians of long-standing (you for 56 years - wow!) and offer something different and exciting, will we not be certain of a place in this industry for a long time in to the future? Small towns in Canada rued the day Walmart and expanded grocery stores took over the community and put small businesses to flight. Yet now see the reverse happening as small stores or small franchises like Cobbs bread stores come back in and find a niche and a living in these towns, because people want something special and different, and I really think they want a warm body to relate to when it comes to making their purchases.

...you are correct on so many levels. There was no move to stop this in Canada either. I had discussions on blogs with prominent international chain owners in the past, who said that this was in fact an oligopoly and so escapes government ridicule. Whatever the semantics, the fact is, they have a huge piece of the pie. However, their modus operandi could be their worst enemy. Making cheap frames in Weng Zhou, lacking on so many fronts in retail (read blogs) and being hard to deal with from the perspective of the few stores that continue to "have to have their brands" on a wholesale purchase level.

I think it's just another reason any right-minded Optician would never order from Luxottica, much less work for them.

I also agree. I will continue to do the very best I can for every single patient, including selling the best possible products at prices that are reasonable for the consumer. I've been at this for 37 years, because I like the personal contact and ability to make people happy. And I'll avoid any company that gets in bed with Luxottica, especially a European lens company.

I do believe that Luxottica will continue to gain market share. The FTC is responsible for policing monopolies, and has done a horrible job the last 20 years. My understanding is that monopoly exists when a company has more than 51% of a market. I recently read that Luxottica has over 70% in the U.S. Our government has betrayed us on this and other monopoly businesses. It's a sad day, but it's the reality.

70% sounds incredibly high. I do think that one reason they will avoid any sanctions irrespective of share of wholesale market is that they will not be crossing over to optical lens or contact lens manufacture.

The natural evolutionary development of the optical retail market continues. Luxottica moving into on-line is just natural -- should not surprise anyone. Traditionalists in the optical retail market are not going to change any of this. The smart players will find a way to move with the evolutionary development, not moan and groan about it.

Indeed, though what exactly is traditional any more. Some would say that 1-hour service is traditional and that click and collect is the future. Perhaps Luxottica will integrate glasses.com with Lenscrafters and produce some synergy in that way.

My six 'sense'.

To the two uninformed and obviously unskilled authors above: Either you do not wear prescription eyewear, and-or know nothing about the art form and craft of dispensing eyewear, and-or are untrained Luxottica merchants-distributors. Again, Opticianry is ultimately defined by how well the eyewear makes contact with the Patient... Many optical outlets, including online merchants, employ unskilled dispensers. This environment has prostituted the practice of Opticianry.

1) Do you consider prescription eyewear to be medical devices, which require precisely crafted fit and finish for your long term comfort and wearability?
2) Do you consider dentures to be medical devices, which require precisely crafted fit and finish for your long term comfort and wearability?
3) Would you consider purchasing such devices online?
4) If so, how or where will you acquire replacement, repair and-or adjustment services? See TimeForCraftsmanship.com. See Glasses Online Warning. See 3DDispensing.com. See DispensingGuidelines.com. See Serving Versus Selling. Stay tuned.

Evidently, many would. I was taught move ahead or fall behind. The evolution of the market doesn't trouble me. I live in our nation's capitol. I would argue that the system of checks and balances is way out of whack, to the ultimate detriment of all of us. Laws in almost everything need to be enforced. Either that, or we should remove all item warnings and safety laws, and let natural selection do its job.

I think the point is that we are watching an unnatural evolution of the optical market place. Monopolists or oligopolists are being allowed to run over laws that should really be protecting a fair, properly placed and balanced market. However, as E. Dean says, it is what it is... and the evolution we see (full of genetic modifications) is what we have to deal with. I don't think we are about whining. Above authors are making points about how the independent really is the individual that brings excellence to the sale, and this message needs to hit the retail customer in some way shape or form, for that is how independents will fight for their market share---stating the facts. The pure and simple fact is (and there are many, many factors that support this) a personalized and hands-on fitting by a caring professional is the proper way to ensure a medical appliance is properly fitted to the patient. The latter is supported by the many incidences of people obtaining incorrectly made eyewear. There are those that will then go to their professional to correct this. There are those that don't, and lump them with those abusing contacts bought online without proper fit or training, and we have a whole bunch of people ruining their eyes/eyesight. Let's not forget, you only get one set of eyes...

Things we can do... .) Promote the professionalism and expertise we have and care about - spectacles are not a one-size-fits-all commodity, so lets talk about in our businesses, shops and over social media - lets trumpet the professional and bespoke service offered by qualified DOs and ODs. .) Stop trading with those who have dictated to our industry in the UK for years - find other better, more innovative products and companies to deal with - in my personal opinion, the quality of service delivered by companies like Luxottica and Safilo has been atrocious in the UK market for years, yet the industry here puts up with it...why? I'm not moaning about where we are, but I'm certainly not sitting back and allowing the tail to wag the dog! Rant over!

Its a shame, because you'd think people would realize that supporting the likes of Luxottica only fuels their ability to beat you up even more. So quit buying from them already. BUT I was in one of my accounts yesterday, and said they cannot do without the brands - Tiffany, Prada...their best sellers. So what do you do?

The design houses wouldn't give their couture brands to the big two if the industry turned it's back on them - the licenses would be given to other smaller companies as they came up for renewal. Having been in this industry for 33 years, I'm fed-up seeing over-priced, poor quality goods and poor service as the norm from many retail optical organizations and their suppliers. If no-one takes a stand then things will remain as they are...and get worse for the professionals who really care.

I suspect the huge and immediate inventory dispersal of the Luxottica retail group provides huge and immediate licensee payments. investors would appreciate this. However, I often wonder how boutique names like Tiffany and Prada feel about being put into these big box environments for sale, when they are really haute couture.

I am based in Ireland where we see a similar monopoly run by Specsavers, some 60%-70% market share. Independent practitioners cannot compete with a marketing budget-spend similar to big box grocery retailers.

Specsavers is suspected to be coming to Canada. With all that is going on around with these big stores barging into the marketplace, we really have to take to heart all that was said above especially by Hari. Look at the likes of Datsun and Hyundai. They were small players in North America. People said they would never have market share, but they persisted, and now look at Nissan, making some of the finest cars/SUV's in the world -- and having captured a share in all price markets. Hyundai in Canada won Car-of-the-Year award. I think we should take a lesson from this in that we concentrate on excellence (value added form-fitting eyewear), stick to our own plan to provide something different, and I think we have a good chance at being a significant factor in the market place in years to come. How did these two auto manufacturers make it? Well, they excelled in quality, care, marketing and never giving in to what was going on around them. As E. Dean said, the big guys will make strides forward - inevitably. However, I think the independent can, too.

Problem for the independent is that without strong eyewear brands it becomes more difficult. I would agree with John and consider that Specsavers are infinitely more threatening to the future of Independent Optometry than Luxottica.

Across the street from me is a Lenscrafters Boutique. They do, in fact, carry all the big brands that Luxottica is known for. We have gradually jettisoned most of the brands they carry. Luckily, their store is staffed by people of lesser ability. This seems to be apparent to patients, judging from the number of comments we hear.

The main flaw I see in the Specsavers marketing model is that never have they promoted product quality, innovation, professionalism, customer service, clinical care or expertise. These are the areas that the independent eyewear professional need to highlight and promote. We can never compete with the Speccies stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap, 2-4-1, buy one get 4 free type promotions, but we can offer quality products, professional service, the added value of qualified Optometry and Dispensing staff, high performance technical products (frames and lenses), and 'go the extra mile' standards of service. One of the many challenges (especially in Scotland) is taking the risk in investing in the right, committed, qualified professional staff that will differentiate and raise our businesses above the multiple (and online) spec retailers and being unafraid to promote that expertise to the public...in my humble opinion.

Yes, but in my country, the owners (mostly optometrists I am afraid) will not do two things. 1. Hire good people and pay them well, or 2. Make sure there is training and teaching to ensure their place has all the things you list above, and then build incentives for their staff to perform. They don't get it that if they were to do this, everyone wins.

I think we're going to find that the same thing can be said in every country. I work with people desperately in need of training. One of them has just been made manager of a store. He can't even do the basics, but they can pay him less which is viewed as more profits, but only short term. In the end the business suffers.

Luxottica is looking at Warby Parker and seeing the potential for online Rx sales.

That's some news. A part of me wishes it is not true but this is the real world and money talks. What we need is less support for Luxottica and Safilo from the independents and more support for independent brands.

Lots of good dialog here. Truth is that VTO technology has been around for over 15 years, and I have seen multiple good retailers use it in their practices. Glasses.com has a great version of the latest technology. Warby Parker "popularized" the B-C concept thru sharp marketing. There are hundreds of sites now with more to follow. We cannot stop the evolution of business models , nor can we stop the direction of the consumer market. So, we must learn from Darwin (adapt, migrate, or die), and the bigger/faster animal is not the winner, but the more ADAPTABLE one is. As a frame vendor to independent dispensers in the USA, we recognize that the online space is here to stay and will represent a part of the market in the future. NOW--how do we all play?

My six 'sense'.

To the "...frame vendor to independent dispensers in the USA...": This statement is another testament to the core issue in today's ophthalmic healthcare industry. It's obvious the author is an ophthalmic merchant and not a true Optician of the soon-to-disappear-if-we-do-not-make-changes, handcrafted form-fitting frame genre. We see this ignorance of the real issue emerge time and time again. Of course, just about anything can now be purchased online. But in the case of prescription eyewear, which is every bit a medical prosthesis as dentures... DOES IT FIT COMFORTABLY, AND CAN IT BE SERVICED COMPETENTLY WHEN ACQUIRED FROM AN ONLINE SOURCE? Very few if any latter day optical industry workers get the point of the statements below, especially item 'c', which we repeat here from our earlier entry in this discussion.

Imagine a Dentist having to get permission
to touch your mouth for dental work.

Opticians are out of 'touch' with Consumers.

"Eyewear 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.
Until our industry acts collectively to get back to putting Hands-on-the-Consumer service first, there's no certification or licensure that can save us. PRACTICAL HANDS-ON TRAINING IS OUR ONLY JOB SECURITY.

1) Do you consider prescription eyewear to be medical devices, which require precisely crafted fit and finish for your long term comfort and wearability?
2) Do you consider dentures to be medical devices, which require precisely crafted fit and finish for your long term comfort and wearability?
3) Would you consider purchasing such devices online?
4) If so, how or where will you acquire replacement, repair and-or adjustment services?"

In conclusion, the widespread and decades-long absence of the fitting skills required to competently provide these services, not price, is the reason for the proliferation of today's online vendors. The following statements from our OpticiansForChange.com web site makes our points.

Speaking of Price...

What are the chances of today's eyewear consumers getting a handcrafted, customized fitting of their prescription eyewear? If you answered this question correctly, you know why they buy online.

And here's the point that is so clearly missed in the industry's rush to engage technology at the expense of serving the healthcare needs of the consumer.

Handcrafted frame fitting skills, 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 actual and multi dimensional contact with the Patient.

Here's a first response to our last commentary.

Hari at OpticiansForChange.com, I do think that people like David are on your side. We get your impeccable fight for your master trade. David and others are simply saying that what has happened regarding on-line markets is here, its not going away, and he and others are saying that the adoption of the methods and reasoning you have to better fit and service customers is in fact the way to go. He calls it adapting. In Shawshank Redemption I recall the line, "get busy living or get busy dying". It's time for IOP's to get busy...

I think that eyewear dispensing has been given a disservice by inadequate college training. The skill sets we need in our dispensers in IOP's is sadly missing. Both Opticianry (and Optometric for that matter) courses in Canada do not spend any time on the customer interaction or consideration for business practices and models that will provide for IOP's to be successful in the future. The intense care factor that Hari projects, along with his pertinent knowledge is not to be found in young folks that run our dispensaries today. It appears to be a dying trait, that in our attempt to adapt, maybe the very thing we need to revive. Business owners need to realize the importance of having staff with the message that Hari shares right on their lips.

I will disagree with one thing David says, and that is that we cannot alter the direction of the consumer market. If IOP's raise their voices and educate the populous with such information that Hari shares, we should be able to grab market share, and help determine at least part of the future market. Patient.

Here's a couple more.

Hari, in addition, many opticianry or dispensing courses are now taught on-line up here (Calgary). The statement you made "Handcrafted frame fitting skills, 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 actual and multi-dimensional contact ..." applies even more so to the needed teaching methods that colleges or institutions must impart to future generations of "Hari's".

I admire the few really good Opticians that are left in my territory. Since I became an independent distributor I send all my friends to be fitted by them, and I insist my family go see a friend who is wonderful when explaining and fitting glasses. I used to be a national manager here in Canada, and I gave many lectures across Canada to both Opticians and Optometrists about the intricacies of eyewear. Many of them know very little about the appliance. Since I became an independent, I have continued to give lectures to help dispensers, and my latest has been based on the awful situation arising from on-line eyewear offerings. Keep up the good fight.

My six 'sense'. When we look at the categories of Eye Care Professional listings at LinkedIn.com, they seem to be in line with our previously stated and decades-old observation below regarding the optical dispensing industry's movement away from Healthcare, which is not where we belong (ask any Optometrist or Ophthalmologist whether they consider themselves to be Healthcare Providers). We find it increasingly alarming and even more indicative of the industry decline that so many members list themselves under "Apparel and Fashion Industry" or simply "Retail Industry" as opposed to the "Health, Wellness and Fitness" or "Hospital and Healthcare Industry" categories. It appears to us that our identity as Opticians, i.e., Vision Healthcare Providers, is soon to vanish completely as we identify ourselves more and more as Merchants, and less and less as Vision Healthcare Providers. See ServingVersusSelling.com.

"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. When we relate to consumers as Customers, it has an adverse impact on our relationship. When consumers get prescription eyewear, they should invariably be served as Patients, never as Customers. Patients receive Healthcare. Customers receive Merchandise. Just making this simple, basic change in our mindset will have a very positive impact on the way we deliver our Healthcare services."

Here's a commentary we broadcast in a popular professional network recently.

Good morning!

My mission is to promote the training of Opticians in the artful skills necessary to fit handcrafted, form-fitting eyewear with the goal of turning around the current and pervasive dehumanized dispensing of ophthalmic eyewear.

If you are interested in my views I invite you to visit these websites and do whatever you can to assist our industry. TimeForCraftsmanship.com, DispensingGuidelines.com and OpticianryToday.com.

I am a licensed Optician with 56 years in the industry. I am currently teaching the art form and craft of dispensing eyewear the way it was taught in the '50s. Please contact me if I can assist you.

See well.

Hari S. Bird, Optician

Eyewear 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."

A couple of replies.

This is great information. I am new to optics and awaiting my apprentice Optician License for Kentucky. Thank you for sharing this information.

Hi, Hari Singh! Thank you for forwarding this information, I find it spot on and I'm in total agreement with your views of our industry. I to am a long time Optician, licensed in Georgia, New York, and Arizona. I also have an AAS degree in Optical Technology from Erie Community College in Buffalo, NY, as well as ABOC and NCLC. I will go over your sites in more detail to get a good sense of what you are doing. In the meantime keep up the good work. Our industry needs people who aggressively promote Professional Opticianry. Thanks!

Another comment.

Good morning, Hari! The optical field is a dying business and unless you have a way to beat the internet, make our economy better so people can afford good eyewear I don't think you can really be of assistance to me, but thank you. I am a licensed optician for 34 years. Good luck.

My six 'sense'.

Thank you for your feedback!

It's not really a matter of affordability. It's a matter of availability. The way to get our groove back is to give consumers what they need and deserve, which online merchants can't. I refer you to to our previous entry. It's the craftsmanship I teach in a workshop setting here in Florida for the POF.

"Eyewear 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."

This was the standard of 50 years ago, and it is missing today. We've had veteran Opticians attend our workshops and tell us that they have never seen eyewear fitted with such user friendly results. Unless you are fitting eyewear as depicted here, as just one example, you need to be open to making some changes. It's the absence of this kind of craftsmanship over the last 50 years that created today's online merchants. At least 2 generations of consumers have grown up not knowing that this kind of form-fitting craftsmanship ever existed. Check it out here.

In short, we Opticians collectively created the present issues by failing to render the services. The future is in our HANDS both literally and figuratively.

"Any ophthalmic dispenser who is not practicing these Basic Guidelines is a mere eyeglass merchant, not an Optician. The absence of these practices (not cheaper prices) is the reason more of today's PRESCRIPTION eyewear consumers purchase their eyewear online." DispensingGuidelines.com

Here's a follow up from this respondent.

Hari, I have to disagree with you. I am a Dispensing Optician like I was taught many moons ago... The people who use the internet don't care about quality lenses, and think that they can get adjustments at any optical, but we ask before we adjust... The economy is a huge factor as well and the average person is not spending like they once did... My boss (who is an optometrist) and I are awesome together but due to everything going on in this country business is 80% off... I don't need to learn how to be an optician, I need people to fit glasses... That is the problem. Take care.

Our second reply.

There's no question that the Web is and will continue to be a source of ophthalmic eyewear. But if you look at the numerous online blogs with complaints about eyewear purchased online you'll find extreme dissatisfaction with the service, fit and finish. The majority of these say nothing about price. I contend that we will never recover any amount of our lost market share if we refuse to provide services that online merchants will never be able to provide.

Again, I do not see consumers buying dentures online for the same reason. Form-fitting denture craftsmanship is not available online just as it remains largely unavailable for eyewear even in today's brick and mortar outlets, let alone online, with few exceptions.

We've got to stop blaming the economy and others for the status quo. I've spent a lot of time monitoring various optical outlets. The lack of competence is alarming to say the least. The real enemy is us. We must train upcoming Opticians in the art form and craft of handcrafted form-fitting eyewear.

My experience is that veteran Opticians like yourself are not really all that easily convinced. However, the response we get at our workshops is profound, even from veteran Opticians who thought they knew how to fit eyewear.

BTW: This is the reason the Florida Board of Opticianry added required CE hours of handcrafted form-fitting eyewear training for any prospective licensee no matter what their previous experience is 3 years ago.

See well.

Here's a second follow up from same respondent.

All I can tell you here in NY where I work and the business my husband owns in Brooklyn is being hurt by the economy, the president, the uncertainty of what is going to happen... It has nothing to do with handcrafted form fitting eyewear, etc... The amount of people complaining about online product is minimal compared to those who love it and save money. Progressives are a different story, but again who knows... I haven't fit a progressive in two weeks.

Our end of the year flex spending was a bust. Lenscrafters isn't even doing well in this region. I know that because my friend works there.

I was at the Boca Resort for the classes two weeks ago... My husband is licensed and took classes... I wont be convinced because I just don't see the industry as anything other than a joke...

BTW: Hearing aides can be gotten online... Dentures no because they need an actual mouth to put the right set in, which cant be done online...

Unless you are dispensing in an area where people have the money and want good glasses, there is no shot a business can succeed...

My husband changed nothing. His old customers left and new ones who are computer savvy are online...

Funny how we see things so differently, but I am thinking where you work is thriving.

Our third reply to the same respondent.

8 out of 10

Not so funny, really. All things happen in cycles. Most consumers, 8 out of 10, will relate more to quality and competent service before price IF it's available. I am comparing what I see today with what I saw and learned from a Master Optician back in the '50s. So, I remain an optimist. Those who relate only to price I encourage to go elsewhere. Opticians must maintain the highest of standards of quality and service, and relate to consumers strictly as Eye Healthcare Patients not as mere mercantile Customers. This is where our industry got lost. See TimeForCraftsmanship.com, ToServeIsToSucceed.com and ServingVersusSelling.com. It's been good talking to you. See well.

Here's a reply from a young Optician in the making.

Thank you for your message. I am so happy to see that you truly care about the eyecare industry. I've only been working in an optical for about three years, but have found that even Opticians sometimes do not give consumers the in-depth attention they deserve. I have hopes to some day open my own optical, so I can ensure the satisfaction and quality care of every eyeglass wearer we see. I am an Apprentice Optician, and I am studying for the ABO exam in May.

If you have any advice, please feel free to let me know. I attended the Vision Expo in Ft. Lauderdale earlier in the year, and I attended lectures by representatives from ABO, NCLE and POF. I found it very informative, but also noticed that POF is having a hard time enforcing their regulations and standards. Once I learn more about the industry, I would be interested in joining the Board, to see if I could help change the industry standards for the better. I'm looking forward to checking out your websites.

I'll let you know what I think! Thank you!

My six 'sense'.

Thank you for your feedback! Our advice: Success is your destiny.

"To serve is to succeed. We have entered the Age of Service. Serving comes first. Then comes profit. Service is those human activities, which contribute to the well-being of others, i.e., anything we do to lighten somebody's load."

See ToServeIsToSucceed.com. Keep up!

Check this out from a truly independent Optician and Veteran whom we sincerely thank for their service.

Good afternoon, Hari! I too believe in hands on dispensing and that people who entrust me with their care are Patients not customers. I come by this as I was first an EMT and Hospital Corpsman stationed with the Marines. I was first introduced to the world of Opticianry working OJT in the Optometry clinic @ MCB, 29 Palms, CA when I wasn't in the field with Charlie Co. 3rd Tank BN.

In 1979 I was selected to attend Navy Optical School in Yorktown, VA. Worked in the lab for awhile after graduation and then back to the eye clinic in San Diego. After enlistment ended, I worked for one chain after another, dissatisfied with all. I did other things over the years but recently had the opportunity to open my own Independent Optical shop. No Doctor and no insurance participation, very small town in a rural area but loving every day. I will continue tilting at windmills, swimming upstream and fighting the good fight against multinational conglomerates and vision insurance behemoths who seek to control every facet of what we do.

Licensed Optician, Owner, ABOC/FNAO.

My six 'sense'. Professionals with this level of passion and understanding are sorely needed to teach upcoming Opticians. BTW: Any Optician interested in teaching their craft can contact me at LinkedIn.com.

Hi, Hari!

I think what you are doing is awesome!! Too many times a Patient walks into a store and is serviced by someone who either transferred from the garden department or worked as a telemarketer and landed a frame stylist job and has zero idea what they are doing (no offense to the two professions), but it is an insult to the Patient. Often they get lackluster care, poor dispensing techniques, and end up with a pair of glasses that do not fit their lifestyle or their needs. I commend what you are doing and would love to get involved.

I have not been doing optical as long as you but I have 30 yrs under my belt, 12 in retail, 18+ in wholesale, and I have seen my share of bad sales. I did 13+ at Walmart's biggest lab doing 8000 complete pair per day, and I would sit there and shake my head, and call the store on jobs to have the Patient re-styled because they had zero idea what they were doing. It is a shame and disgrace what is happening in optical, as most companies are leaning toward online eyecare. In my opinion, they are just trying to do away with the expense of real Opticians to save money, and it is at the Patient's expense.

I commend you for standing up for the decency and integrity of a REAL Dispensing Optician. We do not sell hamburgers and we should not be traveling this road of voodoo optics and let the Patient choose with an uneducated mindset. We've become oblivious to the needs of the Consumer and the Consumer is oblivious to what they need.

Let me know how I can help and I will be glad.

Best regards and nice to meet you.

This is some great material (see above), thank you for sharing, I will be passing this on to my team. Its re-inspiring - I desired to be like this in the beginning, but staffing issues and what not, sometimes shape the kind of service we give. No more compromising for me! It was nice to meet you here, if I can serve you in anyway in the future, let me know! --


. Why do we so often consider Consumers mere customers when they come to us with a doctor's prescription for their eyewear?
. Why don't we consider Consumers to be Patients that require vision healthcare rather than a a mercantile customer?
. Wouldn't this change the way we relate in terms of the 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 Opticians provide Three Dimensional Dispensing, i.e., the Discovery, Design, and Delivery of prescription eyewear, and where the Patient's vision health needs are served?

What is Three Dimensional Dispensing? It's old fashioned craftsmanship, which 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 vision needs, and
. Delivery of handcrafted eyewear, which creates a multi-dimensional balance in
relation to the visual axis, the face and skull, and results in a skull conforming,
frame-fitting that precisely matches the topography of the Patient's skull.

"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

Here's a note we received following a phone conversation re this page. Sounds like this is one of only a few remaining skilled Opticians who can teach the craftsmanship necessary to get our groove back as true Opticians. Hopefully there are many more out there than it appears. See TimeForCraftsmanship.com.

Hello, Hari!

A little personal update about myself. I have been an Optician for 42 years, this year. I have owned my own optical business since 1986. We operate a custom vision care optical dispensary. We specialize in making custom drill mounts. You name it, I have done it. I have made lenses the size of a 50-cent piece, and as large as 70 mm eye, drilled mounting. My speciality is custom-fitting eyewear to patients with special expertise in designing the product to fit the person. I am ABO Certified since 1987 and I am an ABO Certified Instructor. In 2002 I was awarded Best Practice Award for Optical Creativity. I use trial lenses in analyzing problems and I demonstrate to patients issues that may be indicated by their Rx. I have a finish lab where I am able to customize drill mounts with variable sizes and shapes, altering 'A' and 'B' measurements and moving nose piece coordinates, both in and out in order to accommodate narrow bridges. When it comes to metal or zyl frames, it is not unusual for me to customize-reshape eyewear to better suit the patient's needs. Very little eyewear ends up leaving our office without the application of custom, handcrafted form-fitting. Bottom line, these techniques have helped me maintain a very satisfied patient base.


P.S. No English major, as I said on the phone, I am better at verbalizing than writing. Enjoyed our conversation very much! Tell your wife we said, "Hi".

Note: Any genuinely skilled Optician interested in teaching their craft can contact me at LinkedIn.com.

Back to the beginning.

See Online Glasses Ripoff Reports. See Testimonials From Consumers. See Chicago Tribune's Look At Buying Glasses Online. See Online Glasses Not What Doctor Ordered. See Notice To Consumers Regarding Guidelines. See Serving Versus Selling. See What Is 3D Dispensing? See TimeForCraftsmanship.com. See To Serve Is To Succeed.


Success always follows good service.
Any action, which genuinely favors the
Patient, always improves the bottom line.
We need to focus on caring for Patients.

Successful dispensing requires the careful and
thoughtful process of Discovery, Design, and Delivery
of eyewear without bias concerning sales quotas, profit
margin or other subjective and unrelated considerations.

Opticians are eyewear professionals. Opticianry
is ultimately defined by how well the eyewear makes
contact with the Patient, not by the number of Customers served.
For the truly skilled Optician, the standard of care must include a
customized design and handcrafting of eyewear on each Patient.

Today's Retail Optical paradigm needs to be upgraded to that of serving
Healthcare Patients, as opposed to only serving Retail Customers. Only then
can Opticians be seen as Healthcare Professionals, instead of mere merchants.

'60 Minutes' looks at 'Sticker Shock Specs' by Luxottica

"Our mission is to re-humanize the dispensing of
prescription eyewear." -- OpticiansForChange.com

"There is nothing wrong with people making money and
corporations being involved... provided there is an avenue in
which those marketing forces are not the deciding factor in
what we are doing." -- Keith Olbermann, Commentator

"When owners and managers discover that their people are their
ultimate assets and not their perpetual liabilities, everybody's
economy will prosper and grow." -- The Thank You Economy.


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

Contact Lens Care and Compliance

NCLE No Fee CEs For Opticians

The Rap on Wrap-arounds

Sunwear Is Not An Option

About Professional Egos

Time For Craftsmanship


Books, lectures and tests can take an Optician's skills only so far.

It is time for touch-and-feel, Hands on the Patient training.
Only one on one craftsmanship training provides this.
Craftsmanship cannot be learned virtually.

"Handcrafted frame fitting, i.e., touch and feel, hands-on dispensing,
cannot be outsourced to lectures or virtual sources. It is an art form,
which requires actual and multi-dimensional contact with the patient."

"It is incumbent on those who know, to teach those who do not know.
It is incumbent on those who do not know to surrender their ego."

ABO, 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.

"The job of a teacher is to poke, provoke, confront and elevate." -- Yogi Bhajan


More Web 'Sights' by

TheiSites.com MySixSense.com
OpticalViews.com 2020Forsight.com
FitItAndForgetIt.com EyewearGenie.com
OpticianryToday.com EyewearMoodys.com
2020ForOpticians.com OpticianryReview.com
OpticalGuidelines.com OpticiansForChange.com
OpticalWorkshops.com ServingVersusSelling.com
OpticalShiftHappens.com EyewearProfessionals.com
GlassesOnlineWarning.com EyeExaminationOnline.com
TimeForCraftsmanship.com OpticiansForThePeople.com
TestYourKnowledgeOnline.com ReachOutAndTouchSomebody.com




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