Recently many of our classmates have asked questions concerning the actual set-up of an ophthalmic lens fabrication lab in an optometric practice. Our colleagues and peers not only want to know about feasibility, investment, space, equipment, and prices, but also how to perform the actual process of spectacle making. As graduating optometrists some of our classmates will enter into an association with an older established optometrist and some will go into solo practice. In either case one of their duties may be doing the actual lab work in spectacle fabrication. This is very common practice in the current optometric community.
As more and more optometrists become involved with lab work, the need for a manual of this type is obvious. A literature search proved fruitless in obtaining any source that covers the breadth and scope of the edging process in its entirety. Optometric and optician's publications sometimes deal with various aspects of the spectacle fabrication process, but we have found these to be too general and in the style of an overview or "snapshot". We were unable to find any source containing the actual mechanisms involved.
A previous research project involved a video tape of the edging process from a local laboratory, and was aimed toward explaining how the edging process is accomplished. We feel that the tape was good in that it oriented the viewer as to "how this is done". However, the thrust of our project is to explain, step-by-step, how to edge lenses in an optometric office. The manual will be written from the perspective of "How to do it", rather than "how it is done".
To our knowledge, this work will be the first of its kind, and will represent a compilation of technical information obtained from manufacturers of laboratory equipment, combined with textbook information, and original writings based on our training and experience as laboratory 1 opticians. The authors do not intend this manual to be a statement saying that professional optometrists should spend their time edging lenses. To the contrary, we feel that the optometrist should spend his/her time doing what he/she was trained to do, that is, providing vision care. If however, a spectacle fabrication lab is to be incorporated into an optometric practice, two things are necessary. First, the optometrist needs to know the processes involved as well as the equipment required in order to set up the lab. Second, he/she needs a working knowledge of the basic mechanics and procedures involved, in order to train personnel if necessary.
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