It will be difficult to become an optician

Profession: optician

Do you wear glasses or do you know someone who has one on their nose? We met an optician and asked him what he can do and what to look for when choosing glasses

Job profile optician

Harald Richter is actually a little physicist. In his business, he deals with the theory of light every day - optics. He knows the physical fundamentals of seeing; knows how to give nature a helping hand with the help of cut glass and how to operate optical machines. Because the 61-year-old is also a craftsman at the same time, he can also grind glass or plastic so that it becomes a visual aid. He knows how to fit glasses and how to bend temples properly into shape. And as if that weren't enough, Harald Richter is also a style consultant.

What the hell is the man doing?

Quite simply: Harald Richter is an optician. For 44 years he has been making sure that his customers see like eagles again. And because Mr. Richter has been doing his job for so long, he also knows that a real eyewear revolution has taken place in the past few decades.

When he was an apprentice himself, there were only a few models. Glasses were pretty hideous and had little to offer in terms of color either. That only changed in the 1970s. Suddenly there were glasses with plastic lenses and it was colorful. "Today nobody has to be scolded by the spectacle snake", Harald Richter is certain. The glasses have become a fashion accessory - and pop stars like Anastacia agree with him. The singer has a whole collection of glasses. Mr. Richter doesn't have a collection, but he does have five glasses of his own at home.

Good advice is important

Most of his customers only have one pair of glasses. "And if you choose a new one, it has to fit you and your visual defect one hundred percent," says Harald Richter. When a customer enters his shop, it is the job of the optician to measure the thickness of the glass the wearer of glasses needs in order to be able to see all the glass clearly. Then Mr. Richter has to check the customer's eye relief so that he can later fit the lenses correctly into the frame.

People with glasses don't just want to see well - they also want to look great. That is why it is part of the job of the optician to tell his customers which of the 500 or so models in the store suits them best (diplomatically, of course, so that nobody is offended). The eyewear expert ensures that the shape of the glasses matches the shape of the customer's head, that the color is right and that the frame is not too big.

Which glasses for which type of glasses?

As if that weren't enough, Harald Richter should also really squeeze his customers to find out what they are up to with the glasses. Do you have to look a lot into the distance or, above all, at things that are very close? Do you sit behind the wheel or in front of the screen all day? Only when the optician knows where the glasses will be used in the future can he give customers the right advice on glasses. After all, a taxi driver needs completely different glasses than someone who has his nose in books all day. And because children not only sit at the computer and read GEOlino.de, but sometimes also romp outside or play football, he recommends plastic glasses for them. In addition, the optician knows that the bridge of the nose of children does not yet offer the glasses as much support as the noses of adults. So that the visual aid neither squeezes nor slips, he recommends deep-seated, soft bridges and brackets that go around the ear.

Math and physics

What requirements does someone have to meet to become an optician? "At least a secondary school diploma," says the master optician. If you don't have it in your pocket, you will find it difficult later in vocational school. After all, a lot of math and physics are part of the optician's trade. For example, the apprentices have to calculate how light calculations work. If you can't keep up, you can quit your job straight away.

Nevertheless, a clever head is not enough to later become a good optician. If you have two left hands, you'd better look for another job. As in other technical professions, in the first two of the three years of apprenticeship, the apprentices first have to go to the workshop and practice there, practice and then practice again. The budding opticians grind, file, rivet, drill and screw whatever they can - all by hand. "Of course there have long been machines for this," reveals the optician, "but anyone who has ever cut a glass by hand simply gets a feel for it."

If you want to become an optician, you should also have a feel for people. "Contact with customers is incredibly important," says Harald Richter. "Because whoever feels badly advised, simply won't come back."