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Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians
SOC Code: 51-9083.00

Cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. Includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centerer-edgers, and lens mounters.

Sample of reported job titles: Edger Technician, Finishing Lab Technician, Grinder, Lab Technician (Laboratory Technician), Lens Grinder and Polisher, Line Operator, Optical Lab Technician (Optical Laboratory Technician), Optical Technician, Polisher, Surfacing Technician


  • Mount and secure lens blanks or optical lenses in holding tools or chucks of cutting, polishing, grinding, or coating machines.
  • Inspect lens blanks to detect flaws, verify smoothness of surface, and ensure thickness of coating on lenses.
  • Set up machines to polish, bevel, edge, or grind lenses, flats, blanks, or other precision optical elements.
  • Inspect, weigh, and measure mounted or unmounted lenses after completion to verify alignment and conformance to specifications, using precision instruments.
  • Shape lenses appropriately so that they can be inserted into frames.
  • Clean finished lenses and eyeglasses, using cloths and solvents.
  • Mount, secure, and align finished lenses in frames or optical assemblies, using precision hand tools.
  • Examine prescriptions, work orders, or broken or used eyeglasses to determine specifications for lenses, contact lenses, or other optical elements.
  • Adjust lenses and frames to correct alignment.
  • Select lens blanks, molds, tools, and polishing or grinding wheels, according to production specifications.
  • Position and adjust cutting tools to specified curvature, dimensions, and depth of cut.
  • Assemble eyeglass frames and attach shields, nose pads, and temple pieces, using pliers, screwdrivers, and drills.
  • Set dials and start machines to polish lenses or hold lenses against rotating wheels to polish them manually.
  • Repair broken parts, using precision hand tools and soldering irons.
  • Immerse eyeglass frames in solutions to harden, soften, or dye frames.
  • Lay out lenses and trace lens outlines on glass, using templates.
  • Control equipment that coats lenses to alter their reflective qualities.
  • Remove lenses from molds and separate lenses in containers for further processing or storage.

Technology Skills

  • Computer aided design CAD software - Eyeglass design software
  • Electronic mail software - Microsoft Outlook
  • Medical software - Electronic medical record EMR software
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Binocular vision test sets or accessories - Potential acuity meters PAM
  • Blow torch - Soldering torches
  • Calipers - Lens thickness calipers
  • Corneal camera - Specular microscopes
  • Corneal topographers - Pachymeters
  • Curved nose pliers - Bent post pliers
  • Cutting disc - Ball cutters; Wheel cutters
  • Cutting machines - Lens cutting machines
  • Drilling machines - Drill presses
  • End cut pliers - Side cutting pliers
  • Exophthalmometers - Exophthalometers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Fundus camera - Retinal cameras
  • Glass cutters - Chipping pliers
  • Grinding wheels - Bench polishers
  • Hammers - Riveting hammers
  • Hand clamps - Soldering clamps
  • Keratoscopes - Keratometers
  • Lens grinding machines - Lens groovers
  • Lens measuring equipment - Prescription lens aligners
  • Lens polishing equipment - Edge polishers; Lens polishing machines
  • Mallets - Nylon-brass mallets
  • Nut drivers - Hex nut wrenches; Nut wrenches
  • Ophthalmic eye test lenses or accessories - Trial lens sets
  • Ophthalmic lensometers - Lensometers; Sagitta gauges
  • Ophthalmic prisms - Optical prisms
  • Ophthalmic retinoscopes - Diagnostic retinoscopes
  • Ophthalmic slit lamps - Optical slit lamps
  • Ophthalmic tonometers or accessories - Handheld tonometers
  • Ophthalmic visual field plotters - Visual field testers
  • Optical vacuum coating equipment - Lens coating machines; Lens tinting equipment
  • Opticians tools or accessories - Angling pliers; Snipe nose pliers; Tapered eyewire closure pliers; Zylonite files (see all 14 examples)
  • pH meters - pH testers
  • Phoropter units - Phoropters
  • Power drills - Mini power drills
  • Pupillometer - Pupillary distance rulers; Pupilometers
  • Screw extractors - Screw extracting pliers; Screw grippers
  • Screwdriver set - 3-way screwdrivers
  • Screwdrivers - Flathead screwdrivers; Mini screwdrivers; Phillips screwdrivers
  • Scribers - Rimless scribe tools
  • Shears - Lab snips
  • Soldering iron - Electric soldering kits; Soldering irons
  • Spectrophotometers
  • Surgical lasers or accessories - Argon lasers; Carbon dioxide CO2 lasers; Neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet Nd:YAG lasers
  • Tweezers - Self-closing tweezers
  • Ultrasonic cleaning equipment - Ultrasonic cleaners
  • Vision testing stereoscopes - Stereopsis testers


  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Wrist-Finger Speed - The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.


  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 99% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 70% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure - 78% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 62% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 48% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 64% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 51% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 38% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 46% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 39% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 34% responded “About half the time.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 62% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 35% responded “Important results.”
  • Physical Proximity - 55% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Telephone - 57% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 73% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 58% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 47% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 51% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 26% responded “Important.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 29% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Degree of Automation - 56% responded “Moderately automated.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 28% responded “Very high responsibility.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
56%High school diploma or equivalent
15%Some college, no degree
9%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $14.88 hourly, $30,960 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 29,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Faster than average (10% to 14%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 3,700

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