Eye Health News

Where will opticians find jobs?

If you tuned in to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last January, you heard him talk about how the Internet is the wave of the future. Like it or not, the Internet is quickly replacing in-store shopping in many industries.  Take a look around your neighborhood....Blockbusters have closed because people can now rent movies quickly and more conveniently from RedBox and NetFlix.  Border's have all closed because people have the E-Book readers, Nooks and Kindles.  Travel Agencies have become dinosaurs because people can now shop around for cheap  flights and vacation packages on sites such as Bookit.com and Travelocity. You can surely see how easy it would be for certain businesses to be taken over by the Internet, but some businesses give the appearance of being "Internet proof".  One of those is the eyeglass industry. Think about it.  People really need to try on glasses to make sure they have a proper fit across the bridge of their nose, are not sitting too high or low on their face and are not too broad or narrow for the size of their head.  More importantly, in order for a prescription to be filled properly, you need to have an accurate pupil distance measurement.  In recent years, many sites have surfaced that sell frames at a discounted rate, but ensuring a proper fit and prescription really depended on the consumer taking the glasses to an experienced optician and having the proper lenses put in the frame bought on the Internet. All of this has recently changed.  Apple has announced the Pupil Distance Measurement application for the iPhone.   By downloading this app and using the camera in your phone a person can accurately measure their pupil distance, enabling them to ensure a more accurate prescription in a pair of glasses bought online. Although it does not eliminate all of the other obstacles a person could face while buying glasses on line, this "app" certainly does help make the process much easier.* Mary Sweetman Certified Ophthalmic Assistant The iPhone/iPad app is only useful if:
  1. You already know that a particular frame fits you.
  2. You are looking to buy a single vision distance prescription (not bifocals, progressives, or reading glasses)
A good optician performs many tasks in the custom fitting of an eyeglass for a patient, not just pupil distance. Frames differ in their bridge size (space where your nose fits), location of the pads (if it's a metal frame) and length of the temples (pieces that hang on your head). And with progressives, the pupil has to be measured with the glasses ON so that the optician knows where the graduation from distance to near should occur. For reading, the pupils are closer together. And one of the things that concerns me is that the person is focusing on the iPhone or iPad at a moderately close distance, thus giving a measurement that is halfway between the distance  and near pupil distance. But the cleverness of a computerized world is nevertheless startling. Thanks, Mary. Paul Krawitz, M.D., President and Founder Vitamin Science, Inc.

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