There was excitement at the West Coast Better Vision Conference in Florida on June 5, 2015.

Left to Right: David Couch, POF President, Tom Barracto,OAA President,
Maggie Sayers, Facilitator for Refraction for Opticians, Chris Allen, OAA Executive Director

POF, the Professional Opticians of Florida Association, introduced the education program “Refraction for Opticians” to their membership. It was a very exciting moment because it was the first time in many years that opticians considered what additional education may mean to their future and the future of Opticianry.

“Refraction for Opticians” 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. Maggie Sayers lead a group of six opticians, Sam Johnson, Michelle Calhoun, Mike Gzik, Thomas Blair, Linda and Gary Fitzgerald, over the past two years.

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 opticians to be ready for this new role, 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. It is amazing what happens when opticians get excited. The OAA decided to underwrite the program and POF 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.

And this is how we really felt.

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

Here is how it works:

The 20 hour education program Refraction for Opticians is considered an introductory course in refraction. It consists 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, Florida. 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 their office.

It truly is a great time to be an optician.

Maggie Sayers is a professional development coach and a Master Optician. Her optical career started over 30 years ago in a family business in Germany.

Since she came to Florida in 1987, she has worked diligently to promote high professional standards in opticianry. Her mission is to help opticians achieve their personal success through serving the public as vision experts.

As a professional development coach Maggie provides education workshops that focus on leadership and personal engagement. Her time management course has inspired many participants to think outside the box, apply newly acquired knowledge and achieve extraordinary results.

Maggie's enthusiasm for opticianry is inspiring and her keen business sense paired with excellent communication skills make her a highly sought after motivational speaker.