Confessions of a former optician: what really goes on (or should go on) in your optical department? Find out from an optometrist who survived to tell the tale

Citation metadata

Date: Oct. 15, 2011
From: Review of Optometry(Vol. 148, Issue 10)
Publisher: Jobson Medical Information LLC
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,561 words
Lexile Measure: 1130L

Document controls

Main content

Article Preview :

Before I became an optometrist, I worked for several v years as an optician in both chain and private optical settings. I enjoyed the work, especially frame repairs and adjustments, because it often meant that I had to be creative to get the job done. It was great to be the hero when patients brought in their glasses, thinking that they were beyond repair.

Now, many years later, I obtained my O.D., completed an optometric residency in pediatrics, and have my own practice. However, I'm thankful for having been on the other side of the exam room door. Being a former optician makes me a better manager of opticians. I'm able to speak to patients more confidently when discussing frames and lens options. And while I don't do it very often, I can get the job done if an optician isn't available.

Here are a few things that I've learned from my younger self, Nathan Bonilla-Warford, A.B.O.C.

Sales is a Team Effort

I understand that selling things isn't your strong suit. After all, that's why you went into health care, rather than sales. However, the words you say in the exam room can make my job easier or harder. Please make it easier. Simply telling patients something that seems obvious to us helps me to better meet their needs.

For example, if the first time that patients ever hear about prescription sunglasses is from me, then they're more likely to consider them an optional, additional expense. If they hear about prescription sunglasses from you, it sounds like an important element of preventive care.

Likewise, everyone feels better if you provide me with all the information I need upfront: First-time progressives? Computer lenses? Schedule a contact lens evaluation at a later date? It wastes time and interrupts the sales process if I have to leave the patient and track you down to clarify or confirm a recommendation. And as a reminder, if you're going to leave immediately after the last patient hand-off, at least be available by phone so we can make that last sale.

Respect Us as Professionals

Whether I'm an experienced, licensed optician or a new employee, treat me with respect. I appreciate your acknowledgement of the skills I have that make the optical department run smoothly.

However, there are some situations that undermine this respect. For example, if...

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A271335535