Specialty Selling Strategies
Specialty Selling Strategies
Knowing your patients is the key to meeting their task-specific lens needs
BY SUSAN P. TARRANT
Patients’ visual needs are sometimes best served by traditional or conventional designs. Sometimes they need something designed just for their tasks at hand. The key to identifying a patient who would benefit from task-specific eyewear is to know as much about that patient’s lifestyle as you can.
“The more questions you ask, the better you are going to be able to determine just what the best options for your patient are,” says Lori Mitchell, director of retail sales at Seiko Eyewear. “People may not even know what’s causing their problems, and they probably don’t know that there’s a product out there to help them.”
What follows is a look at some of the major categories of specialty lenses designed to help patients with specific tasks. As always, ask your lab or lens reps about their specific products and the niches they fill.
PROBLEM/SOLUTION: Patients working in office situations, or at the very least in front of computers for hours at a time, may develop Computer Vision Syndrome (see sidebar) or visual fatigue.
Presbyopes in particular can experience eye-strain or discomfort because their traditional PAL design does not address a work station’s unique visual challenges. Patients need to see their computer in the intermediate range, but also need a wider periphery in order to process the entire screen and other items on the desk without having to move their heads repeatedly.
The Double D segment lens, as seen here from Younger Optics, can give presbyopes the near vision they need on the bottom as well as the top of their lenses
Computer lenses, such as Seiko’s PCWide, provide a wider intermediate zone to solve problems like this
“While your everyday PAL can be designed to provide more comfortable vision in specific zones, it isn’t able to provide the wide fields of view in the intermediate zone,” says Candice Keating, marketing manager at Shamir Insight.
Most PAL office/computer lenses should not be considered everyday wear, as they provide a wider intermediate zone but sacrifice a bit of the distance zone.
DISPENSING TIPS: Drop the CVS or presbyopic jargon when talking to patients, Keating suggests. Instead, explain why the eyes are strained and fatigued, and offer lenses to help reduce those symptoms.
Mitchell suggests putting a request to patients on their recall notices to “remember to bring your computer eyewear with you to your appointment.” That can lead to a dispensing discussion about why they should have computer eyewear if they don’t already.
And don’t restrict the office lens to just people working in front of a computer. They are a great fit for crafters, carpenters, seamstresses, or anyone who does near or close-up work for hours at a time.
PROBLEM/SOLUTION: Reliance on smartphones and tablets for so much of our reading activities is taxing to our eyes (see sidebar for information on Digital Eye Strain).
“Today’s technology is changing the demand on our eyes,” says Heather Padgett, national project marketing manager for The Hoya Free-Form Company. “Our eyes aren’t used to focusing in on these devices. They are now continually focusing in, focusing out.”
New lens designs offer enhanced add areas to help with distance accommodation. Single-vision designs offer a little bit of add power to help combat visual fatigue. Designs for PAL wearers offer a unique add power.
“These devices are held higher and closer than printed reading material, so it’s important not to ignore the new needs of patients. A large segment of the population utilizes handheld devices, and these devices have created a new reading area that hasn’t been addressed in the past,” adds Keating.
Jean Marc Leroy, vice president of marketing, Essilor of America, notes that visual fatigue can grow throughout the day as the wearer stares at digital screens. These lenses keep can help keep fatigue at bay.
DISPENSING TIPS: Talk to all patients about their use of mobile digital devices, and about how their eyes are reacting. Most lenses designed for digital device use are being touted as everyday eyewear. They serve the wearer’s other visual needs, but provide a little extra comfort for when they are reading their devices.
Tact lenses (r) from The Hoya Free-Form Company are progressives designed for prolonged near visual tasks, like working on the computer
Wiley X’s new WX Saint model (l) gives safety eyewear a contemporary and stylish look, and its Rx-ready changeable lens systems provides for
protection indoors and out
“These lenses allow ECPs to say they have a lens for any patient who walks through that door,” says Padgett, “from teens through presbyopes.”
PROBLEM/SOLUTION: Patients who work (or pursue hobbies) in environments in which debris in the air, even as small as dust particles, can harm their eyes. In the past, safety eyewear has been associated with unattractive, bulky glasses, perhaps with sideshields. That’s changed.
Styles now offer premium-level comfortable, stylish, and Rx-ready performance eyewear that also meets ANSI safety standards. Some styles are also equipped with foam (some of it removable) to further protect eyes from penetrating particles.
DISPENSING TIPS: A simple suggestion is to not refer to it as “safety eyewear,” as that can give patients the wrong idea. Focus on eye health and protection, suggests Rob Maser, commercial sales director for Wiley X, Inc. “If asked if they need ‘safety glasses,’ most patients would say ‘no’ because they have this image of ugly, disposable safety glasses or goggles and question why they’d buy those.”
Patients may be in situations on the job, at home, or participating in hobbies where debris is flying around that could get into their eyes.
“ECPs can discuss the value and performance of this important second pair knowing the glasses actually function more like a second and third pair in one—sunwear and eye protection,” he says.
The Essilor Anti-Fatigue Lens provides an extra power boost to help single-vision lens wearers and pre-presbyopes combat visual fatigue due to digital screen time
The InTouch lens from Shamir Insight targets presbyopic patients who spend a lot of time with handheld digital devices. The PAL provides for the new reading zone created by these popular devices
PROBLEM/SOLUTION: Some presbyopic patients have specific visual needs because of their occupations. Think of an electrician snaking wires above his head, or a plumber working on pipes in a ceiling, or a mechanic working on a car on a lift.
“Double D” lenses were created to provide near vision in the upper portion of the lens as well as the bottom. The lenses have a flat-top segment on the bottom of the lens and another, placed upside down, at the top of the lens.
DISPENSING TIPS: It’s a safe bet that patients probably won’t come in asking for a Double D, as it’s not a popularly known item. This again is where the ECP’s knowledge of the patient’s lifestyle, occupation, and hobbies is vital in accessing visual needs and appropriate products.
“The percentage [of patients needing these lenses] is going to be small. It’s a niche. But there’s a reason we still manufacture them,” says Robert Lee, vice president, business development and sales, Younger Optics. “In every dispensing situation, you’ve got to ask the patient, ‘What do you do for a living? What are your hobbies? We can put you in something that’s going to help.’” EB
|DIGITAL EYE STRAIN and CVS
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and Digital Eye Strain (or Visual Fatigue) result from prolonged computer use.
CVS symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. According to the American Optometric Association, it’s caused by a number of elements associated with computer use, including poor lighting, glare from the computer screen, improper viewing distances, and poor posture. Treatments can include glare screens, special lens tints and coatings, and lenses designed to help the eye accommodate the changing viewing distances of computer work more comfortably.
Digital Eye Strain is caused by the overuse of digital devices. Because tablets, smartphones, and the like are used at close range, the eyes must constantly refocus and reposition to process the content. Furthermore, the blue light emitted by the LED screens can cause readers to squint, which results in fatigue.
Symptoms include fatigue, eye irritation, headaches, dry eyes, and other vision problems. Treatments can include frequent breaks from the devices and specially designed digital-use lenses.
INFO: More information on CVS can be found at aoa.org. Information on Digital Eye Strain can be found in The Vision Council’s report, “Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age,” at thevisioncouncil.org.
|OLDER PATIENTS RULE!
Patients aged 45 to 50 are an important demographic to your practice. Not only do their aging eyes need a little extra attention, their eyewear needs can provide an extra boost to your business.
Jean Marc Leroy, vice president of marketing, Essilor of America, says presbyopes and pre-presbyopes each benefit from computer or antifatigue lenses.
ECPs should be looking at task-specific eyewear for these patients—especially computer eyewear—in addition to everyday wear. Because our eyes begin to gradually lose their ability to accommodate in the near zone (“We don’t just turn 50 and ‘Blam!’ we’re presbyopic,” he says), even pre-presbyopes can be fatigued after fighting that accommodation loss.
“As you stare at a screen all day, even a small accommodation loss really affects you,” he says.
And the sooner you can start conveying the message of eyewear designed to help eye fatigue, the better you are serving your patients and your bottom line.
“You’re delivering a lot of value to your patients by giving them something that will make their eyes feel better. And at the same time, those multiple-pair purchases are going to increase your business without adding any patients,” says Leroy.
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