By OAA Staff

One of the most important things we can do as opticians today is understand how to protect our profession. Below are things that WE ALL can do to stay informed and help our profession stay strong!

  • Know your legislators - When you have a concern, these are the people who need to hear about it. Write or call, but let them know.
  • Spread the word - "What is an optician??" Combat this when you dispense eyewear by being sure to take the opportunity to tell your patient what a certified optician is and does.
  • Personally know a legislator? Perhaps you dispense eyewear or fit contact lenses for a local legislator. If so, take special care to let them know about the importance of your profession. They can be your ally!
  • Wear your name tag - One of the best ways to let the public know about opticianry is by simply wearing your name tag, be sure it uses the word OPTICIAN. Don't forget to hang your certifications in a place of honor for all to see.
  • Help plan a day at the State House with your state association - Legislators really appreciate having their eyewear cleaned, inspected, and adjusted free by opticians. This is a great way to let them know who you are and what you do. Talk to your state association about planning this event.
  • Be in the know - If you are licensed in your state, take the time to understand who is in charge of your licensure, (Professional? Health?). Knowledge is power and the more you know and understand, the better equipped you will be if there is an issue.
  • Join your state association - If you have one, join your state association. It is so important to be a member of and contribute to your association because they protect you.
  • Join your national association - Any optician can join the OAA. If your state association is a member of OAA, you are automatically a member of OAA if you are a member of your state association. If you do not have a state association, or are not a member of your state association, you can join directly here.
How do YOU optician?

Meet Cira Collins! ABOM, MPH, Account Representative, Lafont, ABO Speaker

As a self-described optical geek, Cira delights in sharing her love of all things eyecare and eyewear with other opticians and it shows! She has spent the last 18 years exploring many facets of the profession of opticianry working both in corporate and private practices, as a technician and an optician, in dispensing and production, as a buyer and as a vendor, and as both a team member and a manager. In 2022, she earned her ABOM: the Master in Ophthalmic Optics designation from the American Board of Opticianry. She is an ABO certified Continuing Education speaker where she speaks on both state-level and national stages. She currently represents Lafont in the Pacific Northwest and serves on the Board of Directors for three non-profit entities to fulfill her ongoing desire to serve in fields that fascinate her.

As an optician, you are now choosing to work as an Account Representative for Lafont, can you tell us what drew you to this particular occupation?
I used to feel averse to being a salesperson. Clearly, this was a hurdle I needed to tackle! Selling is really about sharing an idea or product that you believe in with others to help them achieve their goals. In the optical world, frames are tools that help practices generate revenue and help patients to see, of course, but also to help a practice articulate their own brand. I got excited about helping opticians marry function, fashion, and profitability to support their practice. I am learning to reframe being a salesperson and build mutually beneficial business partnerships. All I have to do to feel great about what I am doing is walk into every practice with an intent to serve.

Do you still utilize your opticianry knowledge and skills in this position? If so, how?
Of course! The Lafont line itself is optically informed. Because I am an optician, I understand how the frames I carry can solve problems. I encourage optometrists and opticians to call me if they have a tricky fit or an optical conundrum. Need a frame for a hyperope/presbyope with prism, low set ears and a narrow PD who only wants a tortoise frame? I know what in the Lafont collection will work and can guide fellow opticians to beautiful products that will result in the thinnest possible lenses. Because I am an optician, I think of the final product of the eyewear and not just the frame.

To sum it up, I get to live a pretty fabulous adventure, meet new people, see hundreds of ways of running a practice and stay deeply connected to the eyecare industry. I absolutely would encourage an optician to consider becoming a frame vendor.