Opticians In Training – Part 2

Heather, David and Jordan never have fun on the optician training journey

Becoming an optician is a combination of on the job training and study. Our new opticians learn about visual disorders, the physics of lenses and the variety of progressive lens designs from texts and webinars at the same time as they work with patients and apply this knowledge. The combined approach is really important and results in a lot of “a-ha!” moments. The opticians in training listen to a patient’s past experience and might be able to solve problems because of a webinar on freeform progressive lenses. It is great to watch this new crew learn on the way to becoming highly trained professional opticians!

Heather listens to a patient’s thoughts on frame options

We are thankful for many wonderful resources the opticians in training are using including:

ECP Advantage from Walman Optical – on demand and live webinars from the optician training department at Walman Optical.

Optician Works – training videos from Laramy K Optical Lab.

Our product partners including Lauren from Shamir, Addie from l.a. Eyeworks and Feb31st eyewear, Ciara from Lafont, and many more!

The part-time veteran opticians who provide in person training a few times each week – Jill and Margaret!

With strong attention to detail, a desire to learn, and a natural focus on problem-solving customer service – our three new opticians are in just a few months becoming amazing opticians. Becoming a licensed optician is a three year process. The requirements include 6,000 hours of job hours and passing two board certification tests, ABO and NCLE*. We’re excited to support the opticians in training in this goal as they help patients achieve the best vision in their glasses on the way!

*American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examination

Opticians in Training!

In our not-so-biased opinion – being an optician is one of the coolest jobs. Helping people to see by working with a patient to fill glasses prescriptions is incredibly rewarding. We are so excited to watch our new optician apprentices embark on this journey.

optician apprentice jordan and heather
Heather and Jordan, Optician Apprentice, August 2022

Heather and Jordan both come from strong customer service backgrounds. Being able to listen and help meet patient’s needs is critical for this role. With that foundation, they are working on adding the technical components of the job. These include:

  • Incoming quality inspection of all glasses orders
  • Repairing and adjusting glasses for patients
  • Understanding all the lenses, lens materials, and lens treatment option
  • Understanding the components of frames and which work well for different prescriptions and faces
  • Taking measurements for patient’s glasses
  • Entering orders and working with the lab who makes all our lenses.
optician apprentice takes pupillary distance measurement
Jordan practices taking Heather’s pupillary distance (PD) using a pupillometer.

Proper measurement for a pupillary distance is a critical part of making glasses! We have a small tolerance for error because we have seen patients experience unintended distortion and discomfort with glasses made to the wrong pupillary distance. Our optician apprentices practice taking the pupillary distance for the entire staff and compare to the measurements from our experienced opticians. We troubleshoot technique until they are repeatably and accurately taking the measurements!

This is a fun journey we look forward to sharing with you! If you come in the office in the next few months, you may work with one of our optician apprentices as they are still shadowing or in training. Thank you for your patience as we place a high value on training our opticians to help you find the best frames and lenses possible!

We’re Hiring!

Our patients love us because we love what we do. We are looking for an equally enthusiastic optician to join the team at Binyon Vision Center and help us serve more of the Bellingham community with amazing eyewear.

We have been taking care of eyes in downtown Bellingham since 1935. Our two doctors provide a thorough eye exam and our opticians guide patients through our independent frame lines and educate on the latest innovations in lenses. We’ll all argue Bellingham is the best place to live in the world and the community support for independent businesses is very strong.

As we grow we are excited to add to our team an optician apprentice or licensed dispensing optician with exceptional customer service skills. Optical experience is a plus, but we have on the job training available as well. An ideal fit for this position is someone with a passion for helping people and an eye for style. Our patients are our highest priority always, so excellent customer service is a must! Experience in customer focused jobs (retail, sales, food service, etc.) is mandatory. This is a full time position. We offer competitive salary based on experience, benefits and a matching 401k plan.

Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:

– Assisting patients with frame and lens selection

– Prescription verification and dispensing

– Adjustments and repairs

– Inventory management

– Order placement

Experience with Crystal Practice Management, DVI and VSP billing is a plus. Optimal candidates will be passionate about eyewear, eyecare and delivering top service and quality products to our patients. Must be able to work as a part of a close-knit team. To apply for this position with Binyon Vision Center, please submit cover letter and resume here. Emails preferred, no phone calls please. Compensation depends on experience.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: $17.00 – $23.00 per hour

Benefits:

  • 401(k)
  • Dental insurance
  • Employee discount
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off

Schedule:

  • 8 hour shift

Supplemental Pay:

  • Bonus pay

COVID-19 considerations:
All staff must be fully vaccinated. Staff and patients must wear masks in the office.

Ability to commute/relocate:

  • Bellingham, WA 98225: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)

Experience:

  • Customer service: 2 years (Required)

A letter from Dr. McEathron

To all of my patients, 

In September of 1980, my wife and I moved to Bellingham to start my career at Binyon Vision Center. Now, 41 years later, I’m delighted to continue to see many of you from those early days, as well as so many more who I have had the pleasure of getting to know and care for.

While I will still be seeing patients, I am shortening my work week, and will be an employee rather than owner of Binyon Vision Center. My concern in the last few years has been that you will have a high quality continuum of care, and I’m pleased to let you know that my associate, Dr. Heather LeClaire will be taking over the ownership of the practice. In the midst of the challenges of the last few years, she has shown herself to be both an excellent optometrist and manager, and she is adept at handling all aspects of the business.  I feel confident that Dr. LeClaire will do a great job as she leads us into the future.

While I will continue to see my patients on a part-time basis, I’m looking forward to this new season and what it brings, especially being able to spend more time with our grandkids.

Thank you, 

Mark McEathron 

Safe Environment Guidelines Implemented in Response to COVID-19

We are dedicated to safe environment to provide eyecare to our patients. Here is an overview of our current COVID-19 procedures. If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact us.

We are seeing patients by appointment only for all services including repairs and adjustments.  This allows us to maintain appropriate building capacity and allows for proper social distancing.

All patients and employees are required to wear a face mask while in our building. Employees have been trained in proper personal protective equipment protocol from the Washington State Department of Health.

All patients are asked to fill out a COVID prescreening questionnaire before their appointment or at arrival.

We strive to maintain a 6′ distance between people as much as possible using visual markers. Employees use face shields for some procedures.

We clean and disinfect all common surfaces and tools between use.

We are proud of the efforts our team has made to keep our office safe. Here are some comments from surveys we’ve sent to patients who have recently visited:

They are doing an excellent job making you feel safe during this pandemic!

During these odd times, I felt very comfortable visiting the office, as they took every safety precaution they possibly could to keep their patients healthy!

Thank you for doing the right thing and keeping all of us patients safe during this pandemic. Their staff take each patient’s temperature as you walk in and adhere to all social distancing/masking/sanitizing protocols.

The office follows strict Covid precautions which eased my anxiety.

If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call. Best wishes and stay well.

Holiday Hours and End of the Year Pep Talk!

The end of the year is a busy season and we’re here to help make sure you’ve got clarity going into the new year in more ways than one!

First order of business – our office will be open our regular office hours of Monday – Friday 8:30 – 5:30, closed for lunch 12:30 – 1:30 except for the following days: Thanksgiving and the day after, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Our office will be closed those dates.

ohh la la party glasses
Face a Face frames can help you ring in 2020 right!

Next – let’s talk about vision insurance and flexible spending accounts.  Are you familiar with the details of your insurance plan?  Many benefits expire at the end of the year- let us help you find out more details about yours!

Calendar year vision benefits

Many plans are on a calendar year cycle. This means they renew on January 1st no matter when you used them last.  A common plan in our area that has this benefit is the Uniform/Regence plan. This plan is an option for employees at Western Washington University.  Patients can use this benefit to their advantage by using the hardware allowance for glasses in December of 2019 and contacts or a second pair of glasses in January 2020.  That means the hardware would not be available again until January 2022, but it’s a fun way to maximize your benefits if they are still available.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Some employers offer their employees to defer part of their salary to a tax-free savings account. This can be used towards medical expenses.  These are “use-it-or-lose-it” plans. These plans will expire with the funds going away either at the end of the year- or in some cases on March 15th.  Talk with your employers or the manager of your FSA fund to make sure you understand the balance in your account and when it might expire.

Money saved into flexible spending accounts can be used for medical expenses that are not covered by insurance- but must be medically related.  In our world that means – eye exams, copays, glasses, contact lenses and prescription sunglasses.

colorful glasses

There might be no better time to update your glasses or stock up on contact lenses!

Please give us a call to check on your vision benefits or to answer any questions on how you could maximize the money you’ve saved in your FSA account!

Some of the frames in our “Red-Dot” sale!

Also, we have a large number of frames in our “red-dot” sale section right now- all 30% off!  We look forward to seeing you this year! We would love to help you see 2020 going into the year 2020!

Photos by Katheryn Moran Photography. See more of her excellent work here!

Welcome Dr. Heather LeClaire!

Dr. Heather LeClaire has fortunately landed here in Bellingham by way of Minnesota (born and raised), Ohio (optometry school) and Seattle (because she fell in love with the PNW after visiting a friend during optometry school).  Interested in leaving the big city life for the Bellingham area where she had friends, a mutual colleague connected us and she joined our team in October 2018.

The past three months have slipped by quickly during our busiest time of year while Dr. LeClaire has seen patients Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Fridays all day.  A proper introduction is overdue- but here are some important things to know about Dr. LeClaire:

In her own words…
  • Most days you can find me… exploring our new home town and area. It is such a great combination of city and outdoors, and it is all easily accessible!
  • I love serving the world by… helping people see and feel better about how they look and feel in their glasses and contacts. I love to educate people about their eyes and their health.
  • The things I’m most passionate about in life are… friends and family, food and art.
  • When I’m not busy checking eyes you can find me… with my nose in a book, searching antique or thrift stores for possible treasures, hanging out with friends, and exploring Bellingham and the surrounding area
  • My favorite part of my job is… working with a great team of people, and meeting such a variety of people from all walks of life and with such varied interests, and being able to help them see and feel the best about their eyes and health.

It must be said too- Dr. LeClaire is a talented crafter- she created beautiful cross-stitch ornaments of each staff member’s glasses!  And they are so lovely!

Dr. LeClaire is currently accepting new patients from most insurance plans.  For more details please contact our office or consult our online appointment scheduling tool here!

Use it- Don’t Lose it – Benefits expire December 31st!

<< our series on why to NOT buy online glasses will continue in the next post!>>

Have you been paying for vision insurance or into a flexible spending account all year?  Are you familiar with the details of your insurance plan?  Many benefits expire at the end of the year- let us help you find out more details about yours!

Calendar year vision benefits

Many plans are on a calendar year cycle. This means they renew on January 1st no matter when you used them last.  A common plan in our area that has this benefit is the Uniform/Regence plan. This plan is an option for employees at Western Washington University.  Patients can use this benefit to their advantage by using the hardware allowance for glasses in December of 2016 and contacts or a second pair of glasses in January 2017.  That means the hardware would not be available again until January 2018, but it’s a fun way to maximize your benefits if they are still available.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Some employers offer their employees to defer part of their salary to a tax-free savings account. This can be used towards medical expenses.  These are “use-it-or-lose-it” plans. These plans will expire with the funds going away either at the end of the year- or in some cases on March 15th.  Talk with your employers or the manager of your FSA fund to make sure you understand the balance in your account and when it might expire.

Money saved into flexible spending accounts can be used for medical expenses that are not covered by insurance- but must be medically related.  In our world that means – eye exams, copays, glasses, contact lenses and prescription sunglasses.

There might be no better time to update your glasses or stock up on contact lenses!

Please give us a call to check on your vision benefits or to answer any questions on how you could maximize the money you’ve saved in your FSA account!

Also, we have a large number of frames in our “red-dot” sale section right now- all 30% off!  We look forward to seeing you this year!

vision insurance benefits

vision insurance benefitsvision insurance benefits

August Birthday Bingo

Break out the balloons!

We noticed an interesting phenomenon this month….. Not only are 4 of our 7 full time employees born in August, but all of their birthdays are EXACTLY 8 days apart.  If that’s not a BINGO- I don’t know what is.

august bdays employee birthdays

 

If you stop in this month – we’ll likely be eating cake!

Happy birthday to Dr. McEathron, Katie, Sarah and James!