When It Comes to Lenses, He Knows Meaning of ‘Exact’


When it comes to eyeglasses, Joseph Black is precise – in fact, super precise, exceeding the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

That’s why Black, who has 25 years of experience in optical work and currently serves as manager of Target Optical in the Broward/Palm Beach area of Florida, has been invited to join the team at the Mind-Eye Institute, where preciseness in patient eye lenses is more than a virtue – it’s a mandate.

“Especially considering the patients seen at the Mind-Eye Institute, I understand the important of exactness in the science of manufacturing eyeglass lenses that meet the strict therapeutic requirements prescribed by the optometrist,” Black says.

He was referring to the special needs of patients who visit the Northbrook, Ill.-based Mind-Eye Institute, many of whom have learning disorders like autism and attention deficit disorder or are experiencing eyesight and motor processing issues and other sensory dysfunctions due to brain injury, stroke, post-traumatic stress syndrome and neurological disorders.

ANSI standards permit larger deviations from prescriptions, “but such deviations are not okay for Mind-Eye patients who have smaller — sometimes no — tolerance ranges and require more precision in lenses than standard eyeglasses.” 

After receiving lens prescriptions from eye care professionals, opticians have the important responsibility of determining the specifications required to provide a patient with the appropriate therapeutic benefits. The prescribed, ophthalmic appliances offer many choices that only top opticians can make successfully. They must consider lens and frame material, frame shape, lens design, coatings and other options.

These decisions become even more critical for many of the patients seen at the Mind-Eye Institute because of their hypersensitivities to light and movement. Patients who are hyposensitive to their surroundings are aided in a different way from visual interventions. Joe Black has studied how to address the needs of both types of patients.

Typically, commercial eyeglass lenses are made as “eyesight enhancers” for central eyesight, but Mind-Eye glasses are designed to address peripheral eyesight and are used as medical devices for retinal neuromodulation, says founder and research director of the Mind-Eye Institute, Deborah Zelinsky, OD.

“Prioritizing peripheral processing is important, because some patients cannot tune out subtle movements or clutter caught by the corner of their eyes. What catches their attention can trigger anxiety and overall discomfort,” she says.  

“As the Z-Bell Test℠, and numerous other visual processing tests tell Mind-Eye doctors what prescriptions will optimally benefit each patient, the optician’s critically specific, technical attention to provide exactly what is prescribed becomes essential,” says Jim Smyth, chief executive officer of the Institute.

“Joe Black’s outstanding professional reputation, decades of experience in every facet of opticianry, long-term dedication to his profession, and training in Dr. Zelinsky’s neurophotonics programs make him the perfect fit to ensure that prescribed medical devices are exact and provide patients with the intended therapeutic effects,” Smyth says.

After 20 years of success in the dry-cleaning business, Black earned his opticianry degree in 1994 from Miami-Dade College. Since 1996, he has held optical managerial roles in the Coral Springs Eye Institute, Eye Associates of Boca Raton and Studio 3. He became manager of Target Optical in 2008.

Black remains active in Professional Opticians of Florida, having served as a past board member and former president of the organization.

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