Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Harvey Yamamoto, OD

It just dawned upon me that I’ve been writing these editorials since March 1983. That’s a long long time. Thank you for being so patient in allowing me to share with you things of importance to me as it relates to life and to my world on Optometry.

I asked myself a simple question this month? What would I be doing if I had not chosen Optometry. The answer came rather quickly. I would be working in my auto repair shop. In fact, I would most likely be the owner of several such repair shops. Repairing broken down things have come naturally for me and I worked in a garage putting myself through Optometry school thus I became very good at fixing things. Big things: ‘Like cars that stopped working.’ I enjoyed jumping into the service truck to find one of our customers who had become stuck in various places. Some of our customers were Jerry Louis, Jim Arness, and many other movie stars of that era. They were heavy tippers once I got them back on the road again.

The repair shop idea followed me closely into Optometry. Setting up an edger came naturally during the 60’s when everything was done manually and became labor intensive. Those were the golden years in the back of my mind. Thus owning an auto shop would come second nature to me.

Back to reality as an Optometrist. Those of my colleagues who looked into my garage (surfacing/edging room) would just smile. They would say: ‘Harv, you haven’t changed from our early days in Opt school. Still working with your hands. Yes,’They are correct but I’m still having fun with never a dull moment to spare in my daily chores of repairing our equipment. My staff calls me the maintenance man in our office. A good maintenance person is worth their weight in gold.

I’ve had to study repairing many computers issue’s that seem to constantly creep in on a daily basis. On weekends, I can be seen many times flat on my back under one of my cars doing maintenance. I am constantly hunting for tools to purchase. My garage is lined with tools from one end to the other as well as my office. Tools are essential to permit me to do the repairs.

Tech: I love talking to tech’s. Having a good tech to turn to for resources is key to survival. Most companies have excellent Tech people who can help you do the repairs. I can be seen on many days talking with various tech’s. I have developed a habit of taking notes for future reference’s in the event that the same issue comes to the surface again.

Recently one of our lab computers went on the blink. Being able to do lab work is our life. I called the tech who had put together our laptop with software and a Keyspan 4 port serial adapter. To my surprise, he did not recall doing that for us. What? Now what do I do? I pondered our situation for a couple of days. We were forced to begin sending jobs to labs. This was not acceptable to our patients who had become spoiled to a quick turn around.

I went online and found a local computer repair shop nearby. With my laptop in tow, I drove to the shop. I went inside and was greeted by the owner. Hello, Dr Yamamoto, ‘What can I do for you?’ I returned the greetings and asked: ‘How do you know my name?’ Doc, you’ve been in town for a long long time and everyone knows who you are. Wow? What a surprise. The owner quickly took my laptop and began to analyze the problem.

He looked at me and said: ‘Your CD drive is corrupt.’ I replied: ‘O.K., Can you fix it?’ He replied: ‘Yes, I can.’ I watched closely while he went about doing the repairs. Within 20 minutes he told me that the computer was repaired. He volunteered to follow me back to my office and he helped me set up the repaired computer. I attached all the 4 pieces of equipment to the computer. Bingo, the machines all came alive. He was amazed that our computer controlled the 4 pieces of machinery.

He asked if I could check his eyes and make him a pair of glasses. Once I had his Rx, I had him assist me in grinding his lenses. We went from station to station and all we did was enter the job number and push the start button at each station. Again, he was astonished on the process of manufacturing glasses. He wanted to assemble his lenses into a new frame. He then placed the new glasses on his face and exclaimed: “Now, I can see clearly again.” The computer in our lab is hooked into our frame tracer which then inputs the data into our special surfacing software. The software tells us the various curves to grind. Once the blank lenses are placed in the generator , we just enter the job # and the information from the computer is entered automatically into the lens generator. We push the ‘On’ button and bingo, the lenses are generated with the Rx. The lenses are then polished in the polishing machine.

Once the finished lenses are spotted in the lensometer, we then go to the blocking stating. Once again, we enter the job # into the blocking machine. The computer then sends the information to the blocker. We follow instructions and block the lens.

Finally, we go to the edging machine. Again, we enter the job # and push the start button. The edger grinds the lenses within minutes. Then the finished lenses are inserted into the frame. The entire process from start to finish takes us about 30 minutes. The computer’s function is basic but it is perhaps the most important equipment in our lab. Thus, knowing how to repair them is most important. Since that experience, I have returned to the computer repair shop and ordered 2 more computers with the cloned software. We can never allow a computer to go down again.

Next issue, I might share with my readers, my quest to stay current in our high-tech machinery.

Have fun,



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