Friday, November 15, 2013

Some Insight on my Profession/ Bonus Q&A

Greetings my spectacled spookies!

Often when I meet new people, the topic of "So what exactly is it you do for a living?" pops up. Whenever I give the answer, be it worded as "Optician," "Optometric Technologist," or "Optical Technician," I'm typically received with a blank stare, a half smile, and "So....what is it you do for a living?"

Every clinic assigns different duties to their optical staff. At my place of employment, the opticians are trained to be Jacks of (nearly) all trades. We can assist with pre-testing-- think "One or Two?" and "Read the bottom line for me"-- and we run the testing machines, particularly the ones that test patients' side vision and read their eye pressures. In addition, my particular clinic is a learning institution. We train students in their final year of optometry school. My department guides these 'almost doctors,' in helping their patients decide on the best lens options for their needs and help expand on their knowledge of optics and eyewear. We also file insurances and give patients estimates on how much their glasses will be using those insurance benefits.

However, our main expertise is glasses, glasses, glasses! The purest optical work we do consists of buying frames that we think our clientele will like, determining what lenses and what prescriptions will work in what frames, verifying prescriptions, figuring why a patient can't see if they aren't adapting to their new script, adjusting glasses, and repairing frames. My favorite among these are repairs!! :D

My brother's actual glasses after a very scary car accident.

Why? For one, I get a great sense of fulfillment when helping people, especially when it comes to eyesight. I myself am pretty nearsighted, and I know how tough it can be to go without glasses for any period of time. As horrible as it sounds, it's also good for my pride. Patients get this look of wonder, as though I'm some great wizard or engineer who did the impossible- I must be magic! I've actually had patients ask to look at my hands because they couldn't believe I was able to fix their glasses. Of course, I think the main reason I love repairs is that I love a challenge. I love the balance of working with my hands and planning with my brain. I look at each realignment as a geometry problem. Both sides must be symmetrical (in standard alignment anyway- people are often asymmetrical and the glasses must reflect that in order to fit), all angles should match, both left and right. And I love the glasses that are completely mangled and in need of new temples, nose pads, nylon cords, ect. The ones I have to basically rebuild I lovingly refer to as "Frankenstein glasses" because I use so many random spare parts.

Uhh....not quite what I meant.
My favorite type of repair is actually one I used to be afraid of. Why? Because it consists of a searing, red hot staple being very close to my hands. And sparks. And lots of smoke.

^The above shows the correct tool, however the use of it is entirely different. Maybe I'll have to make a hot staple video of my own......

It's called the hot staple or hot fingers technique. Basically, we use an instrument that holds and heats regular office staples to red hot temperatures. While holding this device with one hand, the optician must steady the frame parts in his/her other hand, making everything aligned while the scorching hot staple melts through the plastic, mending the pieces together, then acting as a brace once it's cooled. Many times it's a two person job. One person holds the two broken pieces together while the other person drives in the staple. I'm quite proud of myself, however, for having mastered the solo technique. This bad boy is my current pride and joy. These glasses were broken beyond repair--or so I thought!  The metal hinge had basically ripped away from the plastic completely. But alas! Where there is intact plastic, there is hope. I had to use four staples (usually only two are needed) to properly steady it, but by Joe, it worked!

Now it does look pretty fierce, the staple ends sticking out and whatnot, but it's not very safe. After I took the photos, I then snipped the ends and used a metal file to smooth everything over.

So there's a little insight on what I do. I may elaborate more in the future about how we check glasses prescriptions or how we use ultrasonic frequencies to clean glasses in the future.

I've gotten a few questions asked recently that I'd like to address because I'm often asked the same by my patients.

Fist question comes from my very dear friend Catie. Catie asks:

"What exactly is that green stuff that collects around my nose pads? Is it mold? Am I cleaning it wrong?"

This is a common concern, and I must say, you only have to worry about this if you're, well, human. This is caused by the natural oils, sweat, and debris on your skin mixing with the metal of your glasses and forming a chemical reaction of sorts. The result is a lovely green color. We in the optical profession call this "face cheese." Dandy, eh? Luckily, it's not toxic, just icky; there's bacteria in it, but it won't kill you. You can reduce the appearance and severity of this grime by regularly rinsing your glasses under hot water a few times a week, taking care to clean the bottom of your eye wire and along the nose pads. You can also take these in to your local optician for a deeper cleaning behind the nose pads and in all the nooks and crannies.

Teresa from Florida recently asked me via FaceBook:

"I just got new glasses with thick side pieces. When I got them home, I noticed they rock back and forth. Are they defective? Should I go back and ask for a refund??"

Again, this is completely normal and nothing to worry about. I'm assuming the glasses you picked out were spring-hinged, meaning they have a bit of give when you pull on the temple; this gives a more comfortable fit. The inside of the barrel that connects the temple to the hinge attached to the frame front is rounded, which can cause the temple to wobble left to right. This won't affect the fit of your glasses. All temples with spring hinges do this to some degree, but the wobbliness is more noticeable in the thick plastic temples. Now, if the rocking motion is also up and down and the temple just feels loose to you, you can always take it back to get it tightened. Only in that circumstance is there an issue, which can be easily solved by a few adjustments to the metal.

I hope these tips helped. Stay tuned for the next blog post, and as always, check out the Gothic Optician FaceBook page for bits of knowledge, photos, humor, and contests that don't make it to the blog. And as always, you're always more than welcomed to inbox me any optical questions or suggestions to make the blog more appealing.

Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interview Chic

Happy Saturday, readers!

Today's post is about a cold hard truth.

There comes a time in every goth's life when he or she must make the decision to negotiate his or her personal style (or forsake it completely, stuffing every last bit of fishnet, eyeliner, lace, and corsetry into a dusty old chest tucked away in a forgotten attic nook) and "grow up" and "join the real world" by getting a normal job and dressing like everyone else... lest he or she will be very unsuccessful and starving, with no monies to even browse the clearance section of Target on November 1st.

Nope. That's not true. Not an iota. Though you do have to compromise your style whilst in your workplace, most people do- few professions are okay with leggings being worn as pants, or, I don't know, North Face hoodies or whatever it is that the 'normals' wear these days.

Although in my own professional life, this is cut out for me, since I'm restricted to scrubs. It's great because there's no question as to whether or not it's appropriate, but the downside is you really can only dress up scrubs so much.... plus, combat boots just don't work with them. :/

However, I did have to interview to get my job, and I did have to work in a few clinics as a student where dress code was key. I've learned a few tips along the way, with quite a bit of help from fantastic blogs like This Is CorpGoth and Sophistique Noir-- which both cater to a more mature and professional gothic palate. I recommend checking them both out.


They're both such gorgeous ladies who know how to dress sharply!

Now all bosses are different and some workplaces are more lax than others. I'm going to try to keep tips as conservative as possible without repressing individuality. The following tips can be applied to professional workplaces as well as interviews.

Less is more. 
First rule, avoid excess. Subtly different trumps blatantly different.  I know, I know, the signature of goth fashion is all of the tiny detail and accents. You can still do this, as long as it's in moderation. Rest assured, basic black is always fashionable and welcomed in professional settings. Try to limit your jewelry, especially during the interview or the first few days when you're trying to pick up the vibe of how casual your office is or is not. Non-lobe piercings in the ear are more socially acceptable these days than they were even ten years ago for ladies.  Unfortunately gentlemen, many workplaces still frown upon even one lobe piercing. Hopefully this social attitude will change over time, but it's best to play it safe.Absolutely no spikes or dog chains.. unless your place of work calls for it, then by all means, yes! As far as facial jewelry goes, keep it safe and wear a clear piercing retainer (a tip I wish someone would've told me before I accidentally let my eyebrow piercing close in on itself).

And as much as it kills me to say it, try to stick to traditional gender norms as much as you can. If your gender identity is male (be it trans or cis male) try to avoid heavy jewelry, eyeliner, and nail polish. If your gender identity is female (again, I'm speaking about both trans and cis female), light makeup is key. When the time comes that you discover that your workplace doesn't care if you're a guy with a smidge of eyeliner or an earring, or they don't pressure you to wear heels, hosiery, and full-face makeup everyday if you're a woman, then ease on into your comfort zone.

Casual Friday
 Fishnet panty hose are fine *only* if you've limited yourself already on how many 'alternative' things you are wearing and *only* if you are wearing a skirt knee length or longer. I'm going to say vinyl and patent are no-no's anywhere other than your shoes. 

Sometimes the best work outfits are made by taking a typical non-work ensemble and just tweaking a few pieces. Do you love how a corset defines your waist and holds you in? Swap it for a thick belt.

Instead of overly dramatic black eyeshadow, try a dark brown, or a lighter color with black eyeshadow along the inner or outer corners of your eyes.
Still bold and striking, but less harsh than stark black.

You can also swap black hosiery with wine colored hosiery; although both are acceptable, red is a good offset to an all black ensemble.


Many employers have a knee-jerk reaction to pentacles; once more, an unfortunate social stigma. If you want to accessorize with religious imagery that isn't the typical (but still very attractive) cross, try an ankh. Although it's a non-Christian symbol, more people associate it with ancient Egypt rather than spirituality. Other pagan alternatives that will cause less of an uproar are triquetras and triple moons. Again, the common association is ancient Celtic culture and not modern day religious significance. Of course, most of you reading this blog know better. ;)


Have an idea in mind. Browse through some magazines, or even Pinterest for some inspiration. Just like interior decorating (another blog for another day, trust me), thinking of a theme can put a great image in your head of what is it you want. 

Here's some examples I came up with in the last five minutes:



Corporate dominatrix
  • vinyl pumps
  • wine hosiery
  • red lipstick
  • blazer with just a hint of a shoulderpad
  • knee-length pencil skirt

Funeral Chic 
  • modest apparel
  • long, old fashioned necklaces
  • loads of lace
  • lots of dark with pops of toned down colors
  • Victorian prints

All credit to:

Mad Men Seance
  • tons of pinstripe
  • a wallet chain
  • high quality brief case
  • crisp collar
  • pocket watch optional

  Better yet- if you decide to participate in Movember, you could go full-on Gomez Addams.
John Astin was/is one handsome devil.
In fact, retro fashion is coming back in both gothic and mainstream fashions, making it easier to find, for those of you who are fans of the nostalgic styles of yesteryear.

Be honest and up front during your interviews.
Modest and professional dress is imperative for interviews; it's best to cover your tattoos for the sake of first impressions- sleeves and collared dress shirts, or even a scarf or a turtle neck can do the job. A heavily tattooed and very dear friend of mine always wears sleeves to his interviews; but, because honesty is the very best policy, he is always open and direct in his interviews and shows his potential employer that he does have tattoos covering his arm. It's a good way to show that you can dress professionally and presentably, but you aren't hiding anything. Deceptiveness is never good in the eyes of a potential employer, no matter how much you want the job. There is, however an exception to that. If you have something that rarely sees the light of day, or that there is no risk of it ever being shown in the workplace- a lower back butterfly or "Thug Life" across your belly- then there isn't a need to even talk about it.

Use your rockin' specs to make a statement.
Glasses are by far your most useful accessory, so if you've kept it simple this far (kudos if you have) celebrate with some frames that sport kooky personality.

In closing...

When you interview, remember a few common sense (but easy to overlook) tips.
  • Practice thorough hygiene. Be sure to not smell of smoke or B.O.
  • Use proper grammar, complete sentences, and relevant information.
  • Have a firm handshake and sit up straight. Body language can make or break an interview.
  • Keep eye contact both when speaking and when being spoken to.
  • Use your manners and show the utmost respect.
  • Leave your phone (on silent) and your gum in your pocket or purse.
Best of luck to you in your climb to the top. Make me proud! ;)

Keep Calm and Enjoy the Best Month of the Year,
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Q&A: Which lens index is best for a moderate 'plus' prescription; also, how goth are cyborgs?

Greetings readers!

I recently received a question from a good friend of mine about one of her lens options. I thought it would be a great question to share because 1. your optician may not thoroughly educate you on your options and
2. some of you may feel you're being upcharged for no reason other than to fatten someone's commission.

Bullet proof sunglasses- is good, is good. Complete with diamond encrusted frame to get you all the ladies. Very nice product, friend. Is good, is good. For you, my friend, just $999 and the blood of your first born. Is best bargain! Very smart.
Gwen writes: 
            "My prescription is: R: +3.00/-2.00 x 17 L: +1.50/-1.25 x 170 PD: 70 Do you think I'd be ok with 1.57 index lenses or would it be worth paying extra for 1.61 index? The price is negligible and I'll be getting plastic full frame glasses."

Even though she only gave me a few sentences, there is a wealth of information there. First, I want to note that Gwen is from Australia, *however* glasses prescriptions and indexes are always the same, even internationally. The fact that there are two sets of prescription per eye with an axis (the number after the 'x') tells me she has astigmatism, which is pretty common. This tells me her eye is more football shaped that spherical (again, EXTREMELY common- it's more common to have it than to not). In one meridian, her prescription is +3.00, so imagine putting on a pair of +3.00 readers from your local drug store and looking around. However, in her other meridian, she sees +1.00 (+3.00 - 2.00= +1.00), which is like seeing life though +1.00 reading glasses. In her left eye, she sees +1.50 in one meridian, yet in the other meridian her vision is almost perfect at +0.25, almost what we call 'plano equivalent". 

If both of her eyes were like the left eye, having nearly a plano equivalent, then I'd say that the 1.57 would be fine, however, there is a bit of a difference between the two eyes- +3.00 versus +1.50, to simplify it. For this reason, I'd recommend going with the higher 1.61 index just to thin out both lenses and even things out

She already mentioned she'd be getting full framed glasses, which is perfect. I don't recommend 'plus' prescriptions going into semi-rimless or rimless frames for the fact that 'plus' lenses are much thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges, which makes them more prone to chipping and cracking at the mounting spots. 

Smaller frames are ideal when it comes to making the lenses themselves smaller and in turn lighter weight, but it's also important to get a frame that fits your face and your pupil distance correctly. We want everything to be centered. Remember how to find a frame's pupil distance? Gwen told me her PD is 70, so it's best to find a frame with a PD close to that. In theory, if she picked out a frame that had a 53 eye size and a 17 bridge, that would be dead on, making the thickness of the left and right side of each lens uniform.  

So in short, I believe going with the higher 1.61 index as opposed to the 1.57. Small frames are ideal if you want your glasses to be lighter weight, but be sure to get something that matches your pupil distance well.

My next question comes from a good friend of mine. You may remember him as one of my "Featured Goths in Glasses" (which is a dormant feature on this blog that  I will be resurrecting very soon).

Pierce asks:
             "Would you consider cyborgs goth, Sea?

I think that would depend entirely on the cyborg. 

The character Cyborg from Teen Titans wouldn't fall under that category, though his roommate Raven is another story. 

Life tip: Don't do a google search of "Cyborg and Raven" with your safe search off.
Andriod 16 from Dragon Ball Z if anything, is punk. Change his color scheme a bit and you may have a death rocker.

Credit: raulmejia at Deviant Art
With his almost grotesque muscular physique, designer sunglasses he never removes, and his slow, almost incoherent manner of speaking, the Terminator would definitely be more of a.. well. Let's just say I expect to see him fist pumping in Jersey when he takes a break looking for Sara Connor.

What was considered 'bad ass' in 1984 is considered 'd-bag' in 2013.

However, there are plenty of gothic-styled cyborgs. Cyborgs are one of the greatest icons of the cybergoth/industrial scene. Cybergoth is all about a strange and ghastly future, heavily laden with technology and wires and goggles and dreads and latex- oh my! Cold machinery moving perpetually to an ever-carnal beat. Glow sticks and strobes serving purpose as accents in an otherwise blackened and eerie room. Sweaty flesh encasing beating hearts living for the engineered sounds of the synthesizer. It's a harmonic contrast between creations and creators with a dark, unsettling undertone. So yes, in that case, cyborgs can be quite goth.

I hope I answered your questions, Gwen and Pierce. And remember, if you have any questions of your own you'd love to see featured on The Gothic Optician blog, please feel free to submit them to the inbox on my Gothic Optician Facebook page.

Stay safe and have a creeptastic weekend,
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Makeup Review

Confession time, guys and ghouls. Even though I do identify as a goth, and wear the typical gothly dark and brooding makeup, I'm not actually obsessed with makeup. I can't tell the difference between Mac Cosmetics and Lancoome. I don't spend $30 on mascara. I basically see what I like, see what looks good, and get it- if it's on sale, even better. Friends all the time send me links to makeup tutorials, or websites that sell makeup, which is very kind, and I do enjoy looking at pretty things, but I'm no make up expert, nor am I an aspiring makeup artist. I just do what works for me.
However, there are a few items that strike a note with me and instantly become very treasured. My foundation of choice, for instance, is a staple- every time I run low I MUST order some more.
Today I'm going to review some products, because I know there are probably others out there who care more about what's easy and affordable rather than about what's been endorsed by Dita Von Teese.
She *is* lovely though, isn't she? You're welcome.

So I'll answer the question I'm frequently asked- my foundation of choice is Mary Kay Ivory 100. It's the only foundation I've found that actually matches my butter cream skin tone- it doesn't make me look too yellow or too pink like most foundations. It also isn't greasy, nor is it watery. Best of all, just seconds after being applied, it turns into a silky powder. The only thing I'm not crazy about is the Mary Kay corporation *cough* pyramid scheme rooted in strict gender norms *cough* in and of itself. The price, which is $15 (plus shipping if you don't know a rep), is a bit steep, however, it's easy to find on eBay for under $10. This is probably the most I spend on any one cosmetic, and it lasts me for months.

Lip Gloss
I love lip gloss, and I love the look of black lip stick. Up until last October, I never knew a perfect combination of the two existed. A good friend slipped me a tube of Rimmel's 'Stay Glossy' lip gloss. I couldn't believe my luck! It's smooth and glossy, and can be layered according to how dark you want it. For work I just do a thin coat that I'd call "wine," however on my own time, I do enjoy wearing it a little thicker as a "liquorice" color. It has decent staying power, though I don't believe the "UP TO SIX HOURS" on the label.


Nail Polish
A must for every goth- black nail polish. I know I said I don't pay attention to brands, but one brand that I do really like is Sally Hansen. I've known this brand was another word for "good stuff" since I was 12. My polish of choice is Hard as Nails: XTreme Wear nail color. Now, it does take a beating, and it's typically all chipped by the end of the week; however, in my profession, I'm always dinging my nails will opticianry tools, or getting acetone spilled on my hands. This polish has more staying power than all the other brands. It also has a long shelf life. Most polishes get gunky and gooey in just a month. I don't even remember when I bought this polish, but I'm thinking it was sometime in 2012.


I do often keep my eyes peeled for just the right shade of red lipstick. Nothing too bright, nothing too orange. Nothing too brown, but not too pink either. I like wine colors, deep, not like ruby, but like garnet. Eye catching but subtle. Fortunately, the cheapo NYC color brand, found at Walmart, does the job well. I always grab up New York Color Mahogany 320 whenever I see it. The only downside is that it does like to clump and needs to be smoothed on, but its worth it for the amount of compliments I receive from menfolk and ladies alike. 

Safe For Work version..

.....and topless!

Once upon a time, there lived a ghastly maiden who was on the quest for red eyeshadow. She made her way through the caverns of cyberspace to find an online shop called Chaos Cosmetics. Their "Burlesque" eyeshadow is superb. All of their eyeshadows are around the $6.50 mark, and the little container lasts forever! It's a very loose powder, but it goes on thick and has a metallic sheen to it. The staying power is incredible- lasts me all day. I especially liked the personal touch and free samples my purchase came with. I hope to try out some more of their colors in the near future.

 In Closing...

As I emphasized several times, brands mean nothing to me. I've experimented with pricey cosmetics in the past that were complete and utter crap, and in turn, some of the best products I've ever used have come from the clearance bin at Dollar Tree. I'm no makeup expert, I'm no Michelle Phan (though I will sit and watch her tutorials in awe). I'm just your typical goth girl who likes to put gunk on her face.

On that note, I leave you with some Michelle Phan tutorials. 

Tim Burton Inspired Look

Seductive Vampire Look

Be safe, be blessed,

Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.