By: Cheryl Resnick

In January of 2009 the newly renovated Optical Clinic opened up in its new location, on the first floor of the Community Building. Previously it was located in Washington Hall which was only accessible through a road that was not connected to Camden County College, although it sat on Camden County College property.

Nancy Don, the Optical Clinic Director said that with the new location, “The increase has been more with student interest in the Optical Clinic, where as before it was really only staff and faculty members that knew about the program.” Don went on to say, “Now that students can see us, they will come in and ask us what we do and how [The Optical Clinic] works.”

Program directors aim to simulate as closely as possible a working optical dispensary office. Customers come in with an eye glass prescription or their eye glasses and simply pick out the frames they want. Student do all the work themselves, from measuring the glasses to make sure they fit, to making the lens. Students are also graded and evaluated on the process as well.

This service is offered at a discounted price to all customers. Prices can vary, but a basic lens prescription starts at $32 and frames range from $20 to $100. The clinic has hundreds of styles to choose from, including many name brand frames.

Contact lenses are also available but through a separate office. The contact department is located in the CIM building, room 116 and Professor Patrick Goughary is one of the teachers in charge of the department.

The contact lenses clinic works the same way the eyeglass clinic does, with a student bringing in a prescription for contact lenses or bringing in the contact lenses themselves. The prices vary but in most cases are cheaper than 1-800-CONTACTS or Lens Crafters and they also offer a wide section of contact lens.

As for the programs itself, the students that are involved say they love it. Rich Durich, a 15 year veteran in the Optical business who currently works for Lens Crafters in New Jersey, had to come back to school to get certified after moving from Pennsylvania, said that he “like[s] the program, teachers are helpful and the classes are good.”

One teacher, Don Banks, who was a student here himself and graduated from the program in 2000, came back to teach the next generation of optical technicians in 2007. Banks said that he really enjoys being a teacher at Camden County College and that the Lab classes are always the most fun to teach.

Robin Birchneier a student in the program,  agreed saying, “I really like the hands on aspect of the program.”

For any information on either clinic, e-mail Professor Patrick Goughary at pgoughary@camdencc.edu.

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