Who would have guessed we would still get field trips in grad school? It was definitely a pleasant surprise. The second years all hopped on a coach bus last week and visited an independent laboratory, Expert Optics. Even after four quarters of optics classes, we still have so much more to learn about lenses.
We were greeted by the president of the company, and got fed lunch before the tour got started.
So after lunch, and a short introduction to the lab, we got to take a tour of the place and see how lenses are treated (tinted, coated, cut, etc.), from when it was still a hockey puck sized lens blank to when it’s ready to be put into a patient’s frame.
Fun Fact: The lab had rounded corners between the wall and the floor so that dirt/dust don’t get trapped in between, and the facilities are cleaner.
We learned quite a few things today: the advantages of ordering lenses from an independent lab as opposed to a corporate one, the entire process of putting a lens in a frame that meets a patient’s visual demands, the cost and man-power involved in running a lab and so much more. Depending on the practice, a fairly large proportion of expenses could go towards lens orders from labs just like this. So while I’m not sure whether I’m going to be able to be an independent optometrist or work for a corporation, I’m certain that if I’m given the chance to visit the lab that makes lenses for my patients, I would definitely want to take the time to do so.