What Do Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Do?
As an ophthalmic laboratory technician, you will be in charge of several things. These professionals are the ones who work in labs grinding, cutting and polishing eyeglass lenses or contact lenses. They additionally mount lenses into the correct frames and are responsible for making quality optical elements. For this particular position, there is expected to be job growth at a 12% increase between 2012 and 2022. In other words, there should be approximately 1,420 new job openings in this position annually.
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Skills and Abilities
If you wish to hold a position in an ophthalmic laboratory, is will be beneficial to have a good knowledge of the production and processing methods involved with the product you are working with. A solid understanding of mathematics and the specific machines used will be helpful as well. Knowing a good deal about management processes and having customer service skills are a plus. In this position, you additionally must have the ability to operate, control and monitor the equipment that will be used. Some other important skills to have include:
- Critical thinking
- Time management
- Quality control analysis
These are key abilities that will be helpful with this position as well. Near vision and arm and hand steadiness are essential to perform well. Precision and dexterity will be a huge help in succeeding at your job.
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Duties
There are a variety of tasks and duties associated with this position. As this type of lab technician, you will be responsible for securing and mounting lens blanks in the appropriate machines for coating, polishing, cutting and grinding. Additionally, you will have to inspect lens blanks to ensure they are of the proper quality and that they are free of flaws. These professionals also assemble eyeglass frames, operate machines, perform repairs and maintenance, inspect completed lenses and ensure that the tools are used properly. Other duties can include:
- Reading orders and determining what materials will be required
- Cleaning finished products
- Weighing finished products
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Tools and Technology
Professionals in this position are responsible for using job-specific tools and technology. Typically, you will be working with corneal topographers, screwdrivers, angling and cutting pliers, frame-adjusting pliers and cutting disks. Additionally, surgical lasers may be used. Common forms of technology used by these professionals can include:
- CAD (computer aided design) software
- Electronic mail
- Medical record software
- Presentation software
Education and Training for Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians
For an entry position as an ophthalmic laboratory technician, you will typically only need a high school diploma or an equivalent. Also, no prior experience is required for an entry level position. You will likely receive extensive on-the-job training to learn all the aspects of the position. In some cases, an employer may prefer that you have completed a program in ophthalmic laboratory technology or that you have received some type of certification, but generally, these are not necessary and are optional for individuals.
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Salary
The salary you will earn in this position can differ depending on which state you are working in. The lowest 10% of these employees make around $19,900 per year while the top 10% make around $45,600 annually. On average, these professionals can expect to make approximately $28,000 yearly.
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Jobs by Geography
Some states have higher demand for these professionals than others. The top three include Florida, Texas and California, with Florida employing the most. However, when it comes to highest annual mean wage, the three states at the top of the list are Rhode Island, Minnesota and New Hampshire. A good majority of ophthalmic laboratory technicians can be found working in medical supplies and equipment manufacturing and in health care stores.