Keep your staff educated (and free up your time!) by utilizing up-to-date online training videos.

When I began as an optician trainee, I was forced to watch VHS tapes as part of my training. These were evidently produced in the late ’70s or early ’80s. The background music was severely dated, to say the least. The videos were definitely informative and I learned from them, but, 20 years later, we were using the same videos to train new staff.

The Basics
A few years ago, I received a handful of DVDs from Transitions Optical that helped teach some optical fundamentals. These even included a test at the end that I’d make my new hires take over and over until they scored a perfect 100. But even these left a lot more to cover. This meant I had to set aside some of my valuable time for training. What I needed was a series of videos to give my new staff some training, and that’s exactly what I found online.

Getting Down and Dirty
There are videos that show proper frame adjustment and how to properly clean contact lenses. Others clarify what face form, pantoscopic tilt, co-planer adjustment, and x-ing are, as well as one that explains the anatomy and physiology of the eye. You can find a video on just about any topic! Having un-covered these videos, I asked
each of my staff to watch a few and give me feedback on what they liked and learned. The results humbled me. What I discovered was that my training was not as thorough as I had hoped. For this reason I put together a few “must-see” videos for future staff training.

Some Standouts
One highly worthwhile site is by John Jackson, OD, of the Southern College of Optometry. He has a YouTube channel at A lot of the videos on the site are geared more to the OD, but any optical professional should know the basics. One video that caught my eye was titled “Adding Prisms.” Explaining prisms to a new employee can be challenging and, since it is something we don’t deal with daily, is often just lightly covered during training. With the use of prisms, Dr. Jackson is able to clearly explain what happens to an image when viewed through a prism. Being able to actually see the process made it easier for my staff to understand versus my showing them with pen and paper.

Another great site is Its Optical Dispensing section has a number of excellent videos. Several of my newer employees liked the frame alignment and frame adjustment videos. In fact, many of my staff did not realize you start adjusting at the bridge. Obviously we have failed as a company by not remembering to explain this! With the videos, all I need to do is remember the link and then make myself available for questions afterward.

One of my personal favorites is I like this site because it allows me to see a side of the optical field I’m not exposed to regularly. I believe that each of the three O’s would do their jobs more efficiently if they better understood other professions in the industry. I enjoyed the video in the Eye Lectures section called “Comparative Eye Anatomy.” This video showed me a variety of different visual systems in various animal species. Now, I’m not about to fit a nautilus in a monocle any time soon as this video playfully does, but the entire clip fascinated me.

There are a number of videos which we can use to train or answer questions in each aspect of our industry. Training becomes easier and more detailed by simply building a program that includes these videos. Explore the Internet and see what you find, then create your own training program. Do this and you’ll save yourself a lot of time in the future.

Kevin Harrison is President and Owner of Heritage Vision Center, an independent optical dispensary in Hattiesburg, MS.


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