The Optical Checklist


Get your optical ready for Back-to-School, with help from optician + optical manager Sheena Taff

Summer has barely begun, but a strategic focus on Back-to-School season should be on our minds. Whether your patients are diligent planners who will be prepared with a new prescription in July, or last-minute folks who see you in early September and beg for a rush job, we need to be ready for every possible encounter. This month, we will build a plan that is meant to target parents in an attempt to put their children’s eye health at the front of their minds.

Week 1: Social Media + Marketing

Connecting with parents about the importance of eye health for children can be profit-building for you and eye-opening for them.


1. Create a simultaneous mail and social media blitz to remind parents that eye exams may be in order in preparation for the upcoming school year. When busy with kids, parents can sometimes focus only on what is in front of them. Send this reminder and help alleviate any future stress.

2. If your shop has special summer hours, be sure to update it on your website and keep people in the loop regarding the time changes through your various social media platforms.

3. Use downtime to incorporate staff ideas or updates on social media. Let your patients know who you are before they walk through your doors.

Week 2: Inventory

Creating a great selection of frames for children and teens can lead to capturing the eyewear business for the whole family, adding a bump in sales for your practice.


1. Set up meetings with all of your frame reps who have children’s collections. Ask about best-sellers, size ranges, color choices, and if there are any back orders currently delaying shipments.

2. Be prepared with a solid selection in store, and create a defined kids frame section on your frame board.

3. Make sure you have the links to online catalogs. Bookmark webpages and create a quick-reference username and password book so staff can quickly and easily check on alternative frame colors and sizes for patients.

Week 3: Lens Focus

Children get 80% of their learning through their visual system, so the need for clear vision and durable, scratch-resistant lenses with good UV protection should be front of mind for your whole team.


1. Contact your lens suppliers to inquire about upcoming promotions; always be aware of any multipair discounts. Every child should have a backup pair of glasses for emergencies.

2. Ask if your lens suppliers offer children’s packages. Many do. Inquire about the lens features offered in the package, pricing, prescription range limitations, and warranty coverage, such as extended doctor’s change or loss replacement.

3. Create a reference guide for lens options that are specifically for children. It may be a special package or simply a discounted price. Ensure each staff member is aware of the options available.

Week 4: Training/Preparedness

We might not be ready for summer to end, but the beginning of the school season can mean staff schedule changes and often a change in patient flow throughout the week. Plan accordingly.


1. If any of your team are students, have them update their availability. Do this early in case you need to hire to cover any staffing limitations.

2. While building the September schedule, be strategic with staffing. During the school year you may be busier after school hours than earlier in the day.

3. Review with your team tips and tricks for fitting children. Oftentimes parents will have their kids pick frames right after seeing the doctor (and finding out they need glasses for the first time). Sometimes this is a traumatic experience for children—be patient and understanding of the situation.

About the Author:

Sheena Taff is a second-generation licensed optician at Roberts & Brown Opticians in Vancouver, Canada. Since becoming the optical boutique boss, she has evolved and grown the business and taken it to new heights. Taff is familiar with the many roles an independent practice owner and employees must undertake and wants to share tips for growing a successful practice.