Most opticians have a stash of frames they have collected over the course of their career. A mix of styles, colors, designers, and all of them considered to be a vital part of the optician’s personal experience with eyewear. My own collection includes 11 pairs and is as varying as the frameboards in my office. One of the most meaningful pair of glasses in my collection is a silver Banana Republic frame, model “Emilie”. It stands out to me because it was the last pair I purchased prior to joining the optical field and I have used as a guide in my career to help patients.
My experience purchasing those frames stands out in my mind as an example of how not to treat my patients. I had just finished my exam and walked over to the optical side of the office to pick out my new frames. I was excited because for the first time in glasses-wearing career, I had the finances to purchase whichever frame I wanted. The only issue, I didn’t know where to begin in my selection. The optician, although friendly was not very vocal or helpful. I would pick up a frame, try it on, and ask for her opinion. She would nod a non-descript nod, neither offering approval nor disapproval of the frame. Finally, I picked up the “Emilie” and thought it was a nice selection. I wore those for two years, thinking I looked great, not knowing that I was wearing women’s glasses. The lift and cat-eyed shape didn’t clue me in to the fact that they were for women. It wasn’t until I accepted my first position as an optician and showed my manager “Emilie”. He had a good laugh and told me I had been wearing women’s glasses for the last two years. When I thought about it, I was quite upset, the optician’s job is not only to educate the patient on selecting the right lenses, but helping the patient select the right style of frames. I took my personal experience and have used it to ensure that my patients don’t have the experience that I had shopping for glasses.