At a time when our state legislators are dumbing the professions of optical dispensing through deregulation, others are striving to push forward with a higher level of skills training and education.
For the first time in Australia, at WAVE 2010, a full day education program, was presented to cater for the educational needs of Optical Dispensers and Practice staff. The Dispensers & Practice Staff Lecture Series and Workshops was a must for those individuals wanting to learn from some of the best practitioners in the profession.
Many of the lectures were presented by leading optical companies including Hoya, Essilor and Transitions on a range of topics from Demystifying Freeform lenses, patient insights, Photochromic technology, motivation and managing the progressive lens wear and much more.
Tony Martella, State Director for the Optometrist Association Australia Western Australia Division first got the idea when he held a special dispensers session last year at WAVE 2009. “The interest was definitely there in 2009 so this year, instead of just one session, we decided to provide a whole day of lectures and workshops, just for Optical Dispensers.” Tony said.
“It makes lots of sense on so many levels. Dispensers and practice staff are key components of the optometry team. They speak to patients about lens choices, coatings and of course frames. WAVE provides educational sessions to improve their product knowledge and hence their ability to meet the patients needs, and of course, increase their sales ability” Said Tony.
Exhibitors at WAVE, like Aaron McColl from Shaan, were also equally impressed. “In many cases we find it’s the practice staff that are making purchasing decisions for the store, or at least highly influencing the optometrist”. ‘They are on the front line of optical retail, so in many cases they have the knowledge of what the customer is looking for”. Shaan is as interested in speaking to Dispensers about the frames and lab services as they are with Optometrists. “If you are going to put on a trade exhibition, then I’d like to continue to see Dispensers and practice staff attend with Optometrist at the show”.
But the last word has to go to the Optical Dispensers. mivision caught up with Kylie Bett and Dawn Callender, both optical dispensers from WA. Kylie found out about the Dispensers & Practice Staff Lecture Series and Workshops through her Optometrist. “He said he was going to WAVE and also told me that their was a program for Dispensers” Kylie said. “We’ve just come out of a lecture on multifocals and free form progressives and we found it very beneficial”. Could this be the future of optical congresses. Sessions for Optometrists and sessions for optical dispensers running simultaneously? Dawn agrees “After all, we are the front line and we need to continue to improve our skills and knowledge as much as the Optometrist”.