A Historic Moment

There was excitement at the West Coast Better Vision Conference in Safety Harbor, Florida. David Couch, POF President, Tom Barracto, OAA President, Maggie Sayers, Facilitator for Refraction for Opticians, Chris Allen, OAA Executive Director are celebrating after the introduction of “Refraction for Opticians”, a 20 hr. educational program underwritten by the OAA (Opticians Association of America).

The program was created by a Mastermind Group of Opticians commissioned by the Opticianry Summit to research the importance of refraction for opticians today and in the future. The Masterminds found that refraction is part of the dispensing process. With prescriptions generated by electronic devices like your iPhone, your computer, or the kiosk in the mall, it is vital for opticians to understand and analyze such objective refractions to protect the patient’s right to optimum vision. In an effort to motivate and educate, the Mastermind Group created a 20 hour course “Refraction for Opticians”. The course was first presented at the OAA Leadership conference in Las Vegas earlier this year and opticians got excited. And this is where it all started.

The OAA decided to underwrite the program and POF, Professional Opticians of Florida, decided to present the education to opticians in Florida and run the pilot program. After evaluation of the Florida experience, the OAA will make “Refraction for Opticians” available to the member State Associations and help with the administration.

So far, the Florida experiment is a success. Over 200 opticians have taken the introductory class and 28 have signed up for the program.

Here is how it works:

The 20 hr. education program Refraction for Opticians is considered an introductory course in refraction. It consist of 10 two-hour modules. Florida Opticians signed up for the education after they participated in the first module at the West Coast Better Vision Conference. The next four modules will be presented in webinar form; no travel necessary, learn via computer from the comfort of your home or office; one module every two weeks through June and July. The middle of August students will come together for the hands-on workshops at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, FL. During two days they will practice refraction for the next 4 modules. And finally, they will demonstrate their newly acquired skills in a final exam and a closing group coaching session will allow them to strategize how they will apply these skills in the office.

It truly is a great time to be an optician.