Progressive Lens Master Class

Online Learning - The Optical Journal

I am going to go deep into Progressive Multi-focal lenses.  And I am going to blow your mind. The most surprising thing is how easy this will be to understand.

One of the strangest things in the Optical industry is how poorly technical information is often conveyed.  It’s probable 99% of us are visual learners (it is optical after all), and yet very little of the information, technical or otherwise, is actually designed for visual learners!  As a response, I will use extensive graphs and drawings.   I’ve also fine-tuned this work with both first and second-year Opticianry students at Seattle Central College over 6 years, and although the second-years did better, the first-year students always surprised me with how much they learned.  I also promise to use very little math.  There are few reasons for this, knowing calculus is great but it’s really those who are fluent in differential geometry that will truly “get” progressive lens math.  The other reason is more far simpler, I am pretty bad at math.  Subjected to a friendly intervention years ago, I had to promise to never use calculus in public again.  Not minimizing the complexity of progressives, this is intermediate to advanced level information, but I won’t leave rookies behind. I hope to provide links to side articles to get you caught up.  If worse comes to worst, simply re-read this in a year, and a light bulb will come on.  You can practice planting your palm to your head early if makes you feel better, but please post those pics online, (extend open hand, turn palm toward head, move hand to head, it’s that easy).  However, the people who will get the most out of this will have a solid knowledge of basic optics, best form corrective curve theory, understand prism, and have real-world hands-on experience trouble-shooting non-adapts.  Basically, if you are an optician worth your basic salt and 2 years of good experience, you got this made.

The second amazing thing is how easily and quickly you can apply this information… instantly.  Technical information is great, but if it doesn’t actually improve your dispenses… and the patient experience that follows… it’s useless.  It’s like knowing the difference between 303 and 304 stainless steel, great info for metal designers, but it’s not going to help you one bit while shopping in Home Depot.  For most of the people who’ve gone through my class they not only use the information the very next day, they also use it at every dispense the rest of their careers.  It’s why I created this, a lot of good people I knew were leaving the optical industry out of the immense stress and frustration, combined with the all-to frequent terrible pay.  Baristas make much more than many Opticians.  I can’t prevent crazy or angry patients, but I can give you tools first to reduce to reduce their rage faster.    Hopefully, you will both be simultaneously inspired, and have more tools to tackle those tremendously stressful non-adapts.

Are you an Ophthalmic Optics geek?  I will have some Scooby-snacks for you too.  First, I can definitively prove in this series the optical superiority of Free-form lens technology for the first time in history… and it’s not what you think.  We can also go farther than anyone else into more accurately defining Minkwitz’s theorem.  Don’t know what Minkwitz’s theorem is?  That’s ok too, we will get you caught up.  Are you a history geek?  I am too (WWII history is my fav)! We will share some nuggets of Optical history that have never been published before.  There will be lots of chances to get your inner geek on.

This will also be wonderfully social.  In a grand experiment, I will share articles here, and we (if you are an Optical Professional) discuss them on Facebook.  Your comments and questions will shape the direction, tone, and content of this series of articles.  After all, steel sharpens steel.  As you learn from me, I will also learn from you, and together we will share combined knowledge with the optical world.  Sound kind of fun to me?  Are you in?  I am!  Let’s go!

  • For those of you itching to Google it (and I LOVE you)303 Stainless is slightly softer than 304 and easier to machine, especially on a CNC lathe.    



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  1. So looking forward to seeing your masterwork here, Van.
    And thank you for all your help with our recent article for the June 15th issue of Review Of Optometry called “Understanding Today’s Progressives.”

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