Tales of the Daily Grind


Tales of the Daily Grind

3 ECPs share why making glasses in-house is rarely boring—and never fails to increase patient service

Marina Syzdykov, known as the “rock star” optician and office manager of the music-themed Eye Candy Optical, works the shop’s edging system (nicknamed Yoko)

Several things happen when ECPs make the decision to bring finishing (or even the entire surfacing process) in-house: wholesale lab costs and turnaround times drop, quality control increases, and the shop or practice is set up to offer a layer of patient service like never before.

What ECPs usually don’t discover until after they’ve been edging for a while, though, is that their lab will become the source of so many silly, challenging, and motivating moments.

EB checked in with three optical retailers that have businesses that rely heavily on their in-house labs and asked them to share some tales from their daily grind.


Steve Nelson, co-owner of Eye Candy Optical, Cleveland, OH

We have an edger that uses voice commands and prompts, and the machine’s voice just happens to be a Japanese woman. In keeping with our rock ‘n’ roll theme, we affectionately call her Yoko!

Sometimes she appears to have very humanlike qualities. We know it’s just a machine, but we swear she changes her voice inflection based on how much we use her that day.

After a long day in which she’s processed a lot of lens jobs, Yoko can get a little tired, cranky, and slow. “Process time…six minutes, 20 seconds!” We laugh and say, “C’mon Yoko…get it together or you’re going to break up the band!”


Peter Grimes, president/CEO of EYEQuity, four locations in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Michigan

Opticians have plenty of stories about super-high minus/plus patients who make for very challenging lens jobs. And, there is no lack of stories about patients who broke their glasses and need new lenses immediately.

My story is really simple—it’s about the many instances that we opticians have to make small miracles possible.

One of the very first customers in our Indiana shop was a little boy. He was either four or five years old. His Rx was a -3.00 -.75 in the right and -3.50 in the left. The amazing thing is that he never wore glasses before. Imagine that!

What was super cool was his reaction. When I put his glasses on, he started laughing really hard. He was looking all over the place and calling out all the details that he was seeing. Nothing better than the laughter of a child!

After he and mom left, I could not help but think about how lucky we are to do what we do every day.

It’s not always about doing that truly heroic Rx, it’s really about doing our best at making small miracles possible.


Kathy Cabero, optometric assistant, 20/20 Optometry of Silicon Valley, San Jose, CA

The craziest in-house experience I’ve had is a patient who came in after a party-filled Fourth of July holiday weekend.

He had somehow lost only the left lens on his glasses and was on a very tight budget to get them repaired or replaced.

The glasses were really beat up, but we were able to trace the one good side and transfer it over to the missing side. Once the lens was edged, the easy part was over, because upon closer inspection we saw that the frame was bent near the screw, which meant the lens would not fit into the frame.

Luckily with a little shaping, bending, and a new screw, the patient was able to leave the office seeing clearly…and very happy!

—Susan Tarrant


Attention lab rats and edging aficionados: we know there are many moments in your day making or cutting lenses that make you shake your head, swell your chest in pride, or have a good laugh. Inspirational or silly, we’d love to hear your stories. Please send to Susan Tarrant at