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Article Date: 1/1/2017

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Rx for Sun Success

Rx for Sun Success

Two optical pros deliver 6 need-to-know strategies for pinpointing prescription sunwear as a second-pair sale


Prescription sunwear is the fastest-growing specialty category for eyecare professionals today, according to the Eyecare Business 2016 Market Trends Report. When leveraged with growing consumer awareness of the importance of UV protection—plus the proliferation of high-tech lens designs and fashion-forward colors and today’s must-have mirror coatings—Rx sunwear is perfectly positioned as a second-pair sale for every patient.

How can your business tap into the potential of Rx sun sales? To find out, EB checked in with two highly successful optical professionals to share some of the strategies that brought them second-pair success.

Photo courtesy of Xperio UV


Doug Jordan, O.D., practices with Vision Clinic-Ozark in Ozark, MO. He is also president/CEO of Vicious Vision, a sunwear line he created two years ago.

Traci Smith, LDO, is director of operations for Sevigny & Associates, which has three locations in central Florida.


Both Smith and Dr. Jordan strongly believe that proper and consistent messaging needs to begin with the doctor, and flow through the optical. Smith even goes so far as to ask all the practice’s doctors to consistently write patients two Rx’s—including a second pair. And, Dr. Jordan enters a prescription for everyday glasses and sunwear directly into patients’ EHR.

“Patients can easily see my passion to protect their eye health and know they are going to have the same level of protection I have,” says Dr. Jordan. “I’ve been amazed at the awareness consumers have of the potential dangers with blue light exposure from electronic devices. This has made my conversation with patients about the importance of having ultraviolet light protection exponentially easier—and more effective.”


Doug Jordan, O.D.: Traci Smith, LDO:
Vicious Vision Costa
Maui Jim Maui Jim
Oakley Oakley
Go-to Lens: Xperio UV    Ray-Ban
Go-to Lens: NuPolar


Popular brands like Costa, Maui Jim, and Oakley have their own display cases and kiosks to help merchandise their products, but ECPs can also get creative to get patients thinking about sunwear.

At Sevigny & Associates, “Sunwear Destination” areas are created to feature popular sunwear frame shapes outfitted with sun lenses and clear lenses, so people get the idea that they can wear a particular brand or style both ways. Sevigny & Associates also uses “Geek to Chic” signage to add some fun.


In addition to providing needed protection, sunwear can be chic, fun, and hip. Smith suggests making sure you’ve got the frame styles that your patients want. “If they’re not getting what they want from me, they’ll get them someplace else, right?” she says.

Thus, she makes it a point to go out into the community to see what styles people are wearing. She also follows fashion designers on Twitter to stay on top of emerging trends.


Let patients experience sunwear the way it was designed to be experienced by getting away from the office fluorescents and heading out into the sun. This simple act helps them decide things like what lens color they like and if a certain brand seems to provide more optical clarity for them.

“Encouraging patients to step outside and try different sunglass options is a key step for improved sunwear sales,” says Dr. Jordan. “Most people have never truly experienced a premium sun lens, and it really provides a ‘wow’ factor for them.”


Rx Sun’s Potential

64% of U.S. adults wear eyeglasses
85% wear sunglasses
12% wear Rx sunglasses

That’s a lot of potential business in Rx sunwear left on the table.

2016 Rx Sun Sales

6.4 million Rx sun pairs sold
43.8% sold by independent optical practitioners

Source: The Vision Council September 2016 Vision Watch Report


Second-pair sunwear sales are great for business, but Smith suggests solidifying the reason you are suggesting them in the first place. For example, while talking about UV protection, you can also stress the importance of wearing brimmed hats and sunscreen.

“It verifies for the patient why we’re talking about certain products—it’s not that we are just trying to sell them things,” notes Smith.


During the handoff, Dr. Jordan makes sure the patient hears him tell the optician everything he discussed in the exam room and what he is prescribing for both the patient’s indoor and outdoor needs.

“I also then tell the patient, ‘As a way of saying thank you to our loyal patients, we offer a 50% discount on all additional eyewear for anyone purchasing a complete pair of glasses. This includes both Rx and non-Rx sunglasses,’” he says. “These are habitual conversations I have forced myself to repeat and fine-tune over the years that greatly help the optical staff and increase second-pair sales of all kinds.”

Photo courtesy of PPG Industries

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Eyecare Business, Volume: 31 , Issue: January 2017, page(s): 70, 71

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