It was the top of the 4th, one out and no one on base in the May 11 ball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees. The Rays were leading 2-0 when Yankee Brett Gardner hit a fly ball into left field. Rays outfielder Tommy Pham raced for the catch just as he lost his left contact lens. Without breaking stride, however, the ball landed neatly in Pham’s glove for the second out. Pham searched the ground for a moment, then reached into his back pocket, pulled out a compact mirror and spare contact lens to reinsert the lens on the field. Pham made it seem like no big deal.
Bob Reynolds, OAA President, reports that there is a surge in attempts to deregulate or consolidate licensed professions by doing away with or combining state licensing boards. Attempts at deregulation have been made recently in Ohio, Arizona, Virginia and Florida, with more states certain to follow. You may recall that the OAA was instrumental in assisting opticians in Virginia, where a bill to deregulate opticians died in committee.
One of my favorite sayings goes, “you live and you learn.” It doesn’t sound like anything profound or straight out of a literature book, but it gets me through mistakes I’ve made. If I could go back in time, I would have pursued a job in the field before I started school. I didn’t understand the importance of obtaining real life experience in an optical, versus putting in hours at my school’s optical clinic until applying for my apprenticeship. My classmates and I were able to guide each other frequently for group projects. Therefore, I always had support and comfort with what I was doing. It’s possible if I had started working in an optical setting sooner, I would have been much more relaxed for anything involving practical and physical tasks. I have noticed a drastic improvement in my skills and knowledge since becoming an apprentice. So, I try to convince students to get a job sooner than later because applying your knowledge in this field is immensely important on the road to becoming a successful optician.
Our columns today offer the perspectives of a teacher and of a student. For those of you who are mentors, it’s important to connect with your novices with a way to help them understand what we do and why, and to make it relevant to the daily experience. Hands-on experience combined with theoretical knowledge provides the best learning opportunity in our field.
As the OAA’s Media Partner, Pro to Pro is pleased to present highlights from the OAA’s April Newsletter. One of the OAA’s many goals is to bring opticians together in hopes of creating a strong and unified voice. Vision Expo aids us in our mission by bringing opticians from all walks of life together and promoting the sharing of ideas.
Even though my son is 35 years old and lives 3,000 miles away, I’m still “Dr. Mom,” especially when it comes to maladies that have to do with eyes and vision. He called the other day to relate an interesting experience and get my “professional” opinion.
Claude Monet, the father of impressionism, spent years studying the effects of light and color, then recreating those effects, rather than the objects, in his art. At about age 65, Monet noticed a change in his perception of color. Colors appeared less intense, and he began to replace whites, blues and greens with yellows and purples. These two paintings show the change in detail and palette. At age 72, Monet was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts. Terrified of the results of surgery, he did not consent to an operation on the first eye until ten years later.
In their ongoing work to elevate our profession through education, the Opticians Association of America (OAA) announced the National Optician Initiative, a program aimed at ensuring a high level of uniform competency for opticians throughout the country. The program, announced in the OAA’s March newsletter and at the State Leadership Conference in February, would establish the American Board of Opticianry’s Practical Exam (ABOP) and the National Contact Lens Examiners Practical Examination (NCLEP) as the officially preferred practical examinations for all opticians.