My career in the optical world originated in an optometrist’s office over 30 years ago. I am forever grateful to that optometrist for giving me opportunities to launch my profession in eyecare.

Having worked closely with doctors in their practices as well as teaching with them, I understand the power and positive results in a team approach to provide the absolute best patient experience and vision.

Fate was smiling upon me recently when an opportunity “popped into my peripheral vision.” I’m proud to announce that I’ve accepted a position on the Optical Faculty at the University of California Berkeley, School of Optometry.

The UC Berkeley School of Optometry’s curriculum requires hands-on training in the optical department during the optometry students’ third year. Before graduation, students will have seen approximately 2,500 patients. The University Eyewear Clinic is open seven days a week and sees over a hundred patients each day. The Eyewear Center is staffed with optical faculty, staff opticians and optometry students working in teams.

Third-year optometry students spend one day each week in the Eyewear Center. After a brief academic seminar first thing in the morning, the Instructor-Student teams hit the clinic floor together. Students learn lifestyle dispensing, problem-solving, lab fabrication, adjustments and repairs, e.g., the full experience of running a dispensary.

In a few short weeks, I’ve already seen patients with extreme vision needs. Children with +9.00D magenta tinted lenses, -15.00D patients, high prism patients with binocular vision issues and occupational vision needs for viewing at specific distances. These types of patients provide opportunities to utilize the best of lens design and technology available today along with clinical expertise.

My personal goal is to complete my own “full circle” back to the team approach of combining the skills of the optometrist alongside opticianry—collaborating and working together, while providing the most rewarding experience for everyone.
My new role and transition require my full attention, so this will be my last column as Managing Editor of Pro to Pro (formerly Opticians Handbook). I’ve enjoyed the past four years of working with the fine folks at Jobson and especially Mark Mattison-Shupnick and Vincent Priore. Last, but not least, many thanks to you—our readers.

Mindi Lewis