More Than What Meets the Eye: Connecting Opticians & Ocularists [Lori Fender]

 

I recently took some of my students from the Seattle Central College Opticianry Program to Erickson Labs Northwest in Kirkland, WA to tour their facility where they make, fit and dispense ophthalmic prosthetics. I wanted the students to learn more about how Opticians and Ocularist can work together to provide the best vision and cosmetic outcomes for patients with prosthetic eyes. Ocularists, Todd and Christie took such good care of us and really let the students experience something quite profound. We watched as they placed a prosthetic shell in an adorable 6-month old baby who was born with microphthalmia. We were introduced to a very kind man who recently had his eye enucleated and was being fit for his very first prosthetic eye. We got to see his eye before he did. It was amazing! We also met a fabulous woman who had suffered from a cancerous tumor and had to have her eye removed. She had been a patient there for many years and was very open to letting us see her eye socket and see the little fish tattoo that was hand painted on her prosthetic eye. It was super cool! We also learned about how different lenses can make a non-seeing eye look more normal. Todd demonstrated how a lens with prism can be used to raise or lower the appearance of an eye, or by using cylinder lenses to rotate the shape of the eye, or how plus or minus lenses can be used to make the eye look bigger or smaller to match the seeing eye. I look forward to implementing what I learned on this trip to help my patients feel better about themselves. Visiting Erickson Labs Northwest was such a rewarding experience for my class. I hope to return with more students in the future.

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