Fabricating eyeglasses and dental appliances requires skill with precise instruments… exacting accuracy… and an understanding of different materials. Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians rely on all these qualities to create and repair products to improve patients’ dental and vision health. Dental laboratory technicians use molds of a patient’s teeth to construct crowns, bridges, and dentures. They use hand tools and 3-D printers to form materials, such as wax, plastic, and porcelain, into prosthetic appliances. Dental lab technicians work closely with dentists, but rarely interact with patients. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians make prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. They may fill orders using automated equipment, or working by hand. Some make lenses for optical instruments, such as telescopes and binoculars. Technicians may need to wear goggles, gloves, or masks, and spend a great deal of time standing or bending. They work in medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, stores, and dentist and optometrist offices. Most work full time. Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training. High school courses in science, human anatomy, math, computer programming, and art may be helpful.
What they do:
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.
On the job, you would:
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.
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
Engineering and Technology
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
keep your arm or hand steady
put together small parts with your fingers
read and understand what is written
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Electronic medical record EMR software
high school diploma/GED or some college usually needed