Fixing the Frames

We chat to Mark Bowes, an optical dispenser. He makes and repairs glasses and frames. We learn just what's involved in this little-understood industry, and the changes to the industry over time.

About Mark: 

Mark Bowes has been constructing and repairing frames for glasses since 1974.

He studied this trade at the OPSM Guild at this time and has been working at Eastgardens for 9 years.

To become a qualified optical mechanic you must complete A Certificate III in Opticial Mechanics or an optical mechanic apprenticeship.

Optical mechanics make lenses to correct faulty vision. They grind, polish and surface lenses to specification and may also fit the lenses to frames. Optical dispensers interpret the prescriptions of eye specialists and fit and assemble the eye wear. There is an overlap in some of the duties performed by both dispensers and mechanics, and it isn't unusual for an optical mechanic to complete some further study to become an optical dispenser. Optical mechanics receive and interpret the client's prescription from the optometrist.

They select glass or plastic blanks (lenses the size of a magnifying glass), which are the closest match to the prescription. To make the power (the strength of lens) match exactly, a curve is ground on the back of the blank using a generator or grinder.

VJ Bradley Conomy