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The Big survey

ECPs Share the Optical Tools They’ve ‘MacGyvered’ to Use for Something Else

Our readers know how to improvise.




IN ADDITION TO his trusty Swiss Army Knife, the title character of the MACGYVER TV series was rarely without a flattened roll of duct tape in his back pocket, a few paper clips, chewing gum, strike-anywhere matches and a flashlight. While the guy knew how to handle himself, it was his knack for assembling tools from everyday items in the heat of the moment that made him a lasting cultural reference point.

We’ve often asked ECPs to share the at-home eyewear repairs customers have “MacGyvered”, but in our recent 2020 Big Survey, we asked YOU to share your inventiveness and tell us about a single-purpose optical tool they had successfully “MacGyvered” to use for something else. You all may not all share his Hollywood looks, but your answers show our readers know a thing or two about jury-rigging a viable solution when the clock is ticking.

  • Garbage bags make nice slit lamp covers.
  • Pushpins are used for 100 different things.
  • I use the UV light for transitions to clean frames sometimes.
  • I once saw a lab guy get a lens into a metal frame that had been soldered shut using a corded computer mouse.
  • I convert branded frame holders to generic and reuse and recycle Arch Crown tabs.
  • A seam ripper is my new favorite gadget for poking at all sorts of small screws, rimless cords, etc.
  • Used a pen spring on an old axis alignment plier.
  • Plano plus/minus lens blanks center-drilled to help newbie opticians choose the right SV STOCK blank size VS surfaced lens choice.
  • Made a modified-from-aluminum foil attachment to my frame warmer to heat zyl frame bridges without exposing lenses to heat
  • Dental tools are amazing for lots of things.
  • File down a screwdriver to make the perfect rimless mounting tool.
  • Using a section of packing straps on grooved rimless, it works much better
  • Home-made exhaust fan for our edger.
  • We cut and built a plexiglass “windshield” to protect our front desk staff from patients.
  • The ring doorbell to communicate with patients waiting outside our office.

The 2020 INVISION Big Survey was conducted from September to October and attracted the participation of more than 275 owners or managers of optical stores in the United States and Canada. For the full results, please visit

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at


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