Martin Lebeau has served for the past four years as president of the Ontario Opticians Association, which has been the official voice of opticians in the province for the past 70 years.

The Georgian College alumnus, who has been practicing opticianry since 2000, is also the current vice-president of the Opticians Association of Canada, the professional association that represents licensed opticians across the country.

Martin has owned his own business, Le Beau Optical Boutique, in trendy downtown Oakville, Ontario, for the past decade.

Recently, Martin chatted with Optical Prism magazine about being an optician in today’s digital age, the Ontario Opticians Association and his role with the organization.

Q. Martin, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Let’s start with the question: What are some of the biggest challenges facing opticians today?

A. The absolute biggest challenge facing opticians today is the educated consumer. I say this as a good thing, of course; vision care consumers have done much research before they first engage an optician. The availability of so much information online has most certainly increased awareness around vision care. The optician’s role now includes helping to guide the patient through the journey of the purchase. The abundance of information can be an overload, the optician can sift through all that and focus the attention on the needs of our patients and bring the best solutions forward.

Q. How can these challenges be overcome?

A. Education. We, as opticians, need to educate ourselves and achieve a high level of competencies so, in return, we can educate our patients on our role and how we can help them understand all the intricacies of the services we provide Canadians consumers. They need to learn how the process involved from the consultation to the final dispensing will benefit them and the value of those services.

Q. How can ECPs get the word out that it’s best to see an optician?

A. Public awareness is imperative to the success of opticians. The Ontario Opticians Association is a major stakeholder in an organization called the Opticians Council of Canada. This organization consists of regulators, associations and educators. The mandate is to raise public awareness on the value of the licensed optician. The last five years have seen some very cool campaigns promoting opticians. This year’s campaign via social media will be quite bold. Entitled ‘I Hate my Job,’ we are inviting all those Canadians who do not get the same personal satisfaction we have for their existing career to consider joining us. Opticians deliver vision care to Canadians. The role of the optician is very rewarding. The gift of sight is the best gift. I personally enjoy being part of this team.

Q. What are some of the benefits of joining the OOA?

A. The greatest benefits to joining the OOA are educational offerings. As an example, Inside Optics and the new OACM, which is the next level up of education for licensed opticians. Being an OOA member entitles them to have access to these programs.

Q. What do you enjoy about being president of the OOA?

A. The networking is my favourite part. I get to meet very interesting individuals that I can learn and grow from both in my position with the OOA and in my personal development. There are great directors on the board and we get the chance to share ideas and plan for upcoming events.

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