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Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Cuts, grinds, and polishes eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Production/Process Technology pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Mounts and secures lens blanks or optical lenses in holding tools or chucks of cutting, polishing, grinding, or coating machines.
  • Inspects lens blanks to detect flaws, verify smoothness of surface, and ensure thickness of coating on lenses.
  • Sets up machines to polish, bevel, edge, or grind lenses, flats, blanks, or other precision optical elements.
  • Inspects, weighs, and measures mounted or unmounted lenses after completion to verify alignment and conformance to specifications, using precision instruments.
  • Shapes lenses appropriately so that they can be inserted into frames.
  • Cleans finished lenses and eyeglasses, using cloths and solvents.
  • Mounts, secures, and aligns finished lenses in frames or optical assemblies, using precision hand tools.
  • Examines prescriptions, work orders, or broken or used eyeglasses to determine specifications for lenses, contact lenses, or other optical elements.
  • Adjusts lenses and frames to correct alignment.
  • Selects lens blanks, molds, tools, and polishing or grinding wheels, according to production specifications.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Artificial Glass Eye Maker -- Fabricates artificial glass eyes for humans according to physician’s prescription or customer specifications, applying knowledge of glass blowing and fabricating techniques.
  • Contact Lens Technician -- Fills a doctor’s prescription for contact lenses and responsibilities include contact lens handling, fitting and follow up care.
  • Eyeglass Lens Cutter -- Sets up and operates bench-mounted cutting machine to cut eyeglass lenses to specified size and shape.
  • Lens Fabricating Machine Tender -- Tends one or more bench machines that generate, grind, edge, or polish ophthalmic lenses and precision optical elements.
  • Eyeglass Assembler --