Health Career Center

Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians

Ophthalmic laboratory technicians, also referred to as optical goods workers, optical mechanics, and manufacturing opticians, customize contact lenses and prescription glasses. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians measure, cut, edge, and finish eyeglass lenses after following detailed instructions provided by ophthalmologists, optometrists, or dispensing opticians. Most technicians now utilize specialized technology to make and finish lenses. To build eyeglasses, technicians typically cut lenses, grind edges to meet frame specifications, apply dye to lenses if consumers request tinted lenses, and polish and insert lenses into frames. Some of these specialists create and finish lenses that are placed in binoculars, telescopes, and other optical devices.

Ophthalmic laboratory technicians usually work in sterile, well-ventilated, and brightly-lit labs. They usually do not interact with customers. Laboratory technicians receiving salaries usually work 40 hours every week, but some are employed part-time. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians wear eye protection, gloves when holding hot objects, and masks to protect against toxic fumes.

Education and Training
Most companies that hire ophthalmic laboratory technicians do not have hiring qualifications, but its helpful to hold a high school degree. High school students wanting to work in this field should complete science, math, computer science, drafting, art, and wood and metal shop classes. Likewise, students interested in setting up and managing their own businesses should complete classes in business management.

Those interested in this field should consider earning a college degree. College trained ophthalmic laboratory technicians often become managers. Some experienced ophthalmic laboratory technicians complete additional training to become dispensing opticians.

Job Outlook
Job growth for ophthalmic laboratory technicians is projected to increase by 15 percent through the near future, a higher rate than average projected growth in other industries. Demographic trends increase the likelihood that a lot more people will rely on corrective lenses in the upcoming future. Increasing middle-age and elderly populations will increase demand for corrective lenses.

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