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Career Profile: Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians

Cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. Includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centerer-edgers, and lens mounters.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 27,500 people employed as ophthalmic laboratory technicians in the United States. The median annual salary is $34,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $24,120 per year and senior employees earn approximately $51,630 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Repair broken parts, using precision hand tools and soldering irons.
  • Immerse eyeglass frames in solutions to harden, soften, or dye frames.
  • Lay out lenses and trace lens outlines on glass, using templates.
  • Control equipment that coats lenses to alter their reflective qualities.
  • Remove lenses from molds and separate lenses in containers for further processing or storage.
  • Mount and secure lens blanks or optical lenses in holding tools or chucks of cutting, polishing, grinding, or coating machines.
  • Inspect lens blanks to detect flaws, verify smoothness of surface, and ensure thickness of coating on lenses.
  • Set up machines to polish, bevel, edge, or grind lenses, flats, blanks, or other precision optical elements.
  • Inspect, weigh, and measure mounted or unmounted lenses after completion to verify alignment and conformance to specifications, using precision instruments.
  • Shape lenses appropriately so that they can be inserted into frames.
  • Clean finished lenses and eyeglasses, using cloths and solvents.
  • Mount, secure, and align finished lenses in frames or optical assemblies, using precision hand tools.
  • Examine prescriptions, work orders, or broken or used eyeglasses to determine specifications for lenses, contact lenses, or other optical elements.
  • Adjust lenses and frames to correct alignment.
  • Select lens blanks, molds, tools, and polishing or grinding wheels, according to production specifications.
  • Position and adjust cutting tools to specified curvature, dimensions, and depth of cut.
  • Assemble eyeglass frames and attach shields, nose pads, and temple pieces, using pliers, screwdrivers, and drills.
  • Set dials and start machines to polish lenses or hold lenses against rotating wheels to polish them manually.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
27,500
Annual Openings:
4,000
Increase in Openings by 2030:
11%
Annual Salary Range:
$24,120 - $51,630
Education Requirements:
High school diploma