Ophthalmic laboratory technicians cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. They assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. This includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centred-edgers, and lens mounters.
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians' job is to make prescription eyeglass and contact lenses. They are meticulous specialists who cut, grind, and polish contact or eyeglass lenses, inspect lens blanks for flaws and smoothness, repair broken pieces, and assemble eyeglass frames. They may also manufacture lenses for other optical instruments, such as telescopes and binoculars.
Ophthalmic technicians must know and understand how to use automated equipment, though some lenses still are produced by hand.
Ophthalmic laboratory technician education requirements are a high school degree, and skills are learnt on the job. Courses in science, mathematics and computers are helpful, while manual dexterity and the ability to do precision work are essential. Required skills include critical thinking, good manual dexterity, the ability to operate computerized optical equipment, use basic mathematical formulas, and perform detailed work at a close range.
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians work in laboratories or workshops or large eyeglass stores. As they work behind the scenes, they have limited contact with the public. Their workplaces are generally bright, with running machines. They spend hours standing and wear goggles to protect their eyes.
To be successful, an ophthalmic technician needs to learn how to use specialized instruments such as lensometers, micrometres, and autocollimators, and stay abreast of the latest developments in the field.
Every career requires an element of study and academic qualification, and there can be several study routes and pathways you can take. In following any academic pathway you will study subjects that contribute to the specialised knowledge required to achieve your career goals. These qualifications provide a future employer with the evidence that you have the desired knowledge, understanding and experience of their industry, so it’s important to consider the various types of qualifications available to you and to understand how they can boost your career and create opportunities for you.
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