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GET SMART

How can your business embrace lens tech for optimal customization—and customer retention? Follow along for one pro optician’s clearly clever strategy.

Consumers love their tech products. From a smart home controlled by a smart phone to a personal assistant who lives in a little black speaker, technology has become a way of life. If your patients can reorder eggs and milk from a touch screen on their refrigerator, they’re going to want a similarly contemporary experience for their vision care.

To this end, the optical industry has delivered with a plethora of high-tech lens products and digital instruments—both in the exam room and on the optical floor, where opticians are armed with iPads, smart mirrors, and laser-focused patient measuring devices.

The result? Fully customized lenses and an optical experience that embraces the “now” and delivers the “wow.”

Optician Tom Parrish stands in his optical with the Visioffice 2 from Essilor, one of the many high-tech tools available today to ECPs to expand the patient experience.

REALITY SHOW

Tom Parrish, LDO, ABO, NCLE, runs the optical portion of the family business, Family Eye Care in LaBelle, FL.

His brother and cousin are O.D.s there. It’s a practice that embraces the latest tech in all facets of the patient visit.

Family Eye Care has opted to use Essilor’s Visioffice patient measuring system and Varilux PALs, some of the many product options in this category.

“We’ve always been committed to progressive lenses since my brother went into practice in 1982,” says Parrish. “I came into the practice in 1988 and every time a new Varilux design came out, we jumped on the ship and were ready to sail. We try to stay on the cutting edge to give patients the best eye exam and eyewear experience possible.”

Parrish says this commitment to the latest, most high-tech options affects the patient experience—and his business—in three distinct ways:

#1 TOTAL PRECISION.

“We take all of the position-of-wear measurements from one machine: PDs, OCs, and seg heights,” he says.

Those measurements, of course, are needed for a truly customized digitally surfaced design offered by most premium PAL designs. The Visioffice 2, for example, also provides the eye rotation movements and the dominant eye measurements, which are used in the creation of the Varilux X lens.

The precision, Parrish explains, is what makes lenses truly customized.

“Using this technology to get the PD, you’re getting an exact measurement of where those pupils sit,” he notes. “And, everybody’s is different. The same thing with OCs, and the seg heights. The goal is getting the optical center of the lens centered directly on the pupil of that eyeball. That’s where the best vision is going to be. So, it just helps tremendously to have the technology to be able to do that.”

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#2 NEXT-GEN PRODUCT DEMO.

Using contemporary patient demo equipment (think virtual try-on tech and lens demo experiences) in the optical is vital in showcasing all the benefits of their customized eyewear.

“You can show the patient what the weight differential is going to be between plastic and high index, as well as the difference in the thickness of the lens,” says Parrish. “You can demonstrate the difference between polarized and just a regular tinted lens. And, with progressives, you can show what a more custom-designed lens will do for them versus a standard progressive. There are a lot of options that can help us educate the patient.”

This education also helps illustrate the benefits of a premium product. Plus, a side benefit of using dispensing technology that offers virtual try-on technology is that opticians can take pictures of patients wearing their frame picks, and then patients can view them while wearing their own glasses.

#3 LASTING IMPRESSION.

None of Family Eye Care’s investment and commitment to technology is lost on the patient, Parrish notes.

“We explain everything we are doing, and why. And they’re impressed,” he says. “The reaction among first-time patients is usually, ‘Wow, I’ve never had anything like this before.’ People go out and talk about us, and how up-to-date our technology is, and how good the eye exam was. The patient sees that we have the most up-to-date technology in our practice, and that it’s all in the efforts to give them the very best vision possible.”

PREMIUM GO-TO PACKAGES

Here’s what’s on the top-shelf menu at Family Eye Care in LaBelle, FL, according to optician Tom Parrish:

» SINGLE VISION:

“We are trying to move our single-vision wearers into the newer designs that have a little bit of accommodation in the near zone for digital screen viewing (his practice opts for Eyezen from Essilor), because everybody’s on their phones or computers all day.”

» PROGRESSIVE:

“Varilux 4D, with a Crizal Prevencia AR treatment, and Transitions. That’s what we strive for.” The price tag? $850 with Transitions, $725 clear.