EyeCare Professional Magazine February 2014 Issue

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MEN’S FASHION EYEWEAR / PAGE 6 — SMART SOCIAL MEDIA / PAGE 22 February 2014 • Volume 8, Issue 73 • www.ECPmag.com


www.eyewearbyroi.com 800-888-7770



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Vol. 8 Issue 73

Features 6

MEN’S FASHION EYEWEAR Keep your male patients hip and satisfied with the latest in men’s eyewear and sunwear. by ECP Staff


SELLING TO MEN Identify and acknowledge male shopping habits and watch your men’s eyewear sales grow. by Lindsey Getz



ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS An ordinary ECP knows most of the answers, but an extraordinary one asks the right questions. by Anthony Record, ABO/NCLE, RDO


INCREASING REVENUE PER PATIENT Communicate the value of AR and Single Vision Free Form lenses and increase their sales.


by Renee Jacobs, OD, MA


SMART SOCIAL MEDIA Along with Facebook, newer social media like Instagram and Pinterest is a great way to brand your practice. by Corrie Pelc


AMD AWARENESS Fitting and dispensing tips to help those suffering from Age-Related Macular Degeneration. by Beth Carlock, OD


On The Cover:



EDITOR / VIEW ....................................................................................................4

800.888.7770 www.eyewearbyroi.com

DISPENSING OPTICIAN...................................................................................30 MOBILE OPTICIAN ...........................................................................................32 MOVERS AND SHAKERS ..................................................................................34 SECOND GLANCE..............................................................................................40 INDUSTRY QUICK ACCESS..............................................................................44 ADVERTISER INDEX .........................................................................................45 LAST LOOK .........................................................................................................46



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EDITOR / VIEW Jeff Smith, Publisher



Publisher/Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Smith Production/Graphics Manager . . . . . . . . . . . Bruce S. Drob

Read it and Blink – Avoiding Eye Strain DIGITAL EYE STRAIN (a.k.a. Computer Vision Syndrome) is a condition well known to most ECPs. But a new report shows just how widespread this level of eye discomfort has become, as smaller, portable digital devices increasingly become a staple of everyday life. The report, DigitEYEzed: The Daily Impact of Digital Screens on the Eye Health of Americans, released last month by The Vision Council, finds that almost 70 percent of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain while on digital devices – including computers, tablets and smartphones. A further 41 percent of those adults do not know how to alleviate their discomfort. The report’s survey of 7,160 adults in the United States also found that 60 percent of respondents said they spent at least six hours looking at screens daily, and 28 percent reported viewing screens for 10 hours or more. Our eyes aren’t made to stare at a fixed point for hours on end, especially one that emits high-energy visible light, a.k.a., artificial “blue light.” Overexposure to this type of light—and the fatigue of focusing on the same middle-distant point for a third or more of your day—can strain your eyes and cause dryness or redness, blurred vision, “tired” eyes, headaches, and back or shoulder aches in the short term. As digital devices become even more ubiquitous, ECPs should be sure to educate their patients about computer lenses and certain techniques to help minimize eye strain. The Vision Council did offer some suggestions that you can give to your patients to help lessen the problem. Start by reducing glare by adjusting the brightness of your screen. Consider changing your background color from bright white to a cooler gray. Glare reduction filters are also available and can easily attach to computer screens. Another way to reduce glare is to frequently dust and wipe digital screens. Also, dim your surrounding lighting to lessen the amount of overhead and surrounding light that is competing with your device’s screen. Try to avoid outside areas of intense brightness to help reduce glare and strain. Don’t forget the age-old 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break from your screen and focus on something 20 feet away. Also remember the importance of “eye-gonomics” and be sure your patients know how to properly position themselves in front of a computer or any device while seated. And last but not least, don’t forget to blink! We normally blink 12-15 times a minute, but using a computer screen can cut this to seven or eight times a minute. I

ADVERTISING & SALES VP, Advertising Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lynnette Blanton (215) 355-6444 • (800) 914-4322 Contributing Writers Mary Armstrong, Judy Canty, Cliff Capriola, Elmer Friedman, Lindsey Getz, Renee Jacobs, Ginny Johnson, Jim Magay, Corrie Pelc, Anthony Record, John Seegers, Jason Smith Opinions expressed in editorial submissions contributed to EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ are those of the individual writers exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ its staff, its advertisers, or its readership. EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ assume no responsibility toward independently contributed editorial submissions or any typographical errors, mistakes, misprints, or missing information within advertising copy.

EDITORIAL OFFICES 111 E. Pennsylvania Blvd. Feasterville, PA 19053 (215) 355-6444 • Fax (215) 355-7618 www.ECPmag.com editor@ECPmag.com EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ is published monthly by OptiCourier, Ltd. Delivered by Third Class Mail Volume 8 Number 73 TrademarkSM 1994 by OptiCourier, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher.

OptiCourier, Ltd. makes no warranty of any kind, either expressed, or implied, with regard to the material contained herein. OptiCourier, Ltd. is not responsible for any errors and omissions, typographical, clerical and otherwise. The possibility of errors does exist with respect to anything printed herein. It shall not be construed that OptiCourier, Ltd. endorses, promotes, subsidizes, advocates or is an agent or representative for any of the products, services or individuals in this publication.

For Back Issues and Reprints contact Jeff Smith, Publisher at 800-914-4322 or by Email: jeff@ECPmag.com Copyright © 2014 by OptiCourier Ltd. All Rights Reserved For Subscription Changes, email: admin@ecpmag.com Scan this barcode with your smartphone to go to our website.



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Men’s Fashion Eyewear



1. Eyewear by ROI

2. Viva International Group

Chintz is a designer men’s semi-rimless frame with flare! Note the flattering metal frame front, and the two-toned Zyl temples complete with the Alexander Julian plaque. A fashion forward frame for the larger man with a “B” dimension that will accommodate a full progressive. www.eyewearbyroi.com

Introducing twelve new styles for men to the Harley-Davidson® Eyewear Spring 2014 sunglass collection. Style HDX 875 features modified rectangle profile accented with sport inspired bridge detailing and is available in a variety of satin metal finishes including, Black, Cognac and Gunmetal. www.vivagroup.com

3. Revolution Eyewear 3

Robert Graham will offer high quality craftsmanship and sophisticated silhouettes, along with infusing iconic fabric and trim designs to reflect the brand’s American Eclectic spirit. Featured is the Robert in Light Brown with Robert Graham Fabric infused into the temples. Other colors include: Black Clear, Cola, Light Brown and Tortoise Beige in size: 42/23/140. www.revolutioneyewear.com



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4. Luxottica PERSOL PO 9649S: For the first time in optical version, the 9649 model celebrates the iconic 649 by following its design, but in a more subtle and lighter way, 7g less than the original. The 9649V model features details such as the “Mini Supreme Arrow”, a unique and precious detail, and the smaller version of the “Victor Flex”, the unmistakable “bridge with three slits.” www.luxottica.com


5. LINDBERG Acetanium frames combine the look, color and impact of acetate with the strength and lightness of titanium-reinforced temples. Comfort-wise, they provide the big advantage of a titanium bridge fitted with ergonomic silicone nose pads. They feature uncoated, premium-quality acetate, hand-finished and polished in no fewer than five stages. www.lindberg.com

6. Fatheadz Eyewear 6

Preferred Stock is Fatheadz premier line of eyewear. They are contemporary frames with smart styling, designed for the modern larger headed man. The Preferred Stock lineup was crafted from the start with the latest technological advances available in the eyewear industry to be sure to provide durability, comfort, and style. www.FatheadzEyewear.com



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A&A Optical


Cruz men’s style, Beale St. Checkered Path: All roads point to distinct style with Beale St. The metal frame highlights a flat front and a colorful checkered design on the upper temples. Available in Black, Brown and Gunmetal, Beale St. features a modified oval shape. Size: 53-18-140. www.aaopticalco.com

TV PARTY (2236): Tune in and turn on! Even couch-jockeys and channel surfers will look camera ready in these ultra-hip reading glasses. And if you didn’t get to watch the original NYC “TV Party” from back in the day, google it and see. These glasses are a shout out to our favorite Style Guy, Glenn O’Brien! www.eyebobs.com

Morel Trevi Coliseum Trevi Coliseum 115 is constructed from the highest quality Mazzucchelli zyl with a two tone brush temple overlays for added style. It defines the concept of men’s fashion and luxury. Available in 3 handsome colors: Black (shown), translucent brown and translucent grey. Made in Italy and backed by a two year warranty. Sold exclusively in North America by National Lens. www.national-lens.com

ÖGA’s new Talvac concept shows off what ÖGA does best. The combination of material and color contrasts, make Talvac visually striking, masculine, and comfortable. The texture, which defines the concept, is inspired by Scandinavian furniture where layers of material produce unique effects. www.morel-france.com

Adlens Adlens® Adjustables™ are built on Alvarez lens technology. Each lens is comprised of two waveshaped plates that can glide across one another to alter the power of each lens. These glasses can correct over 90% of spherical errors and were designed to be used in various types of situations: for up-close work, computer use, DIY & yard work and for managing fluctuating vision in diabetes patients or after eye surgery. www.adlens.com Adlens® Adjustables™



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Coburn Technologies Announces New Express Logistics Center

Coburn Technologies, a leader in providing innovative, end-to-end customer solutions to the world’s ophthalmic lens processing industries, announces the construction of its new Express Logistics Center, at their world headquarters in South Windsor, Connecticut USA. This new facility will consolidate all of Coburn’s worldwide shipping efforts and will take the place of the current distribution warehouse operated out of Louisville, KY. As a result many Coburn customers should experience faster delivery times, improved on-time deliveries and in some cases, lower overall freight costs.

“There are a multitude of reasons we as a company decided to make the investment in this facility,” stated Dan Hobbs, Executive Director of Operations. “Increased control over items packed and shipped, quicker turn-around between receipt and shipment, eliminating the need to ship from multiple locations, and the ability to stage and consolidate large orders are just some of the ways we will be able to improve our customer’s order experience.” Complete worldwide shipping efforts will be coordinated through the new facility beginning in February 2014. All questions and additional assistance will still be handled by Coburn’s Customer Care Center @ 1-800-COBURN-1 (800-262-8761). Additional order information is also available with an online account at www.shopcoburn.com.



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R&R Eyewear

R&R Eyewear adds the new Brandon model to the Bellagio collection. This frame has lizard skin embedded in the temples and is shown here in a cool electric blue color. This frame is sure to turn heads! www.rreyewear.com

Spectacle Eyeworks


Most frames are designed and constructed to fit typical Caucasian facial features, not the higher cheekbones and flatter bridges of many Asian and other ethnic faces. Asia Collection frames feature a reduced pantoscopic angle, flatter face form, higher nose pads or thicker built-up pads and wider bridges. Collection features 10 styles. www.hilco.com

ic! berlin

Spectacle Eyeworks keeps the geek chic revival revving with new addition (Teagan) to their RETRO line, a collection of cool, confident designs with current old-school style. Adding to the appeal of the new designs is the unique dot matrix finish utilized on each frame. The process involves lasering the entire top surface of the frame with dots. The result is a rich texturizing of the color, without being intrusive. www.spec-eyeworks.com

The 2014 Opti Collection blends ic! berlin’s innovative technology with new colors to create a vibrant and exciting collection. The U2 Senefelder in graphite is simple in form and give your face a distinctive look. This season’s collection offers a breath of classical, colorful, and distinctive frames. www.ic-berlin.de

J.F. Rey The new ColorBOX lets you play with a full contrast of colors on a black acetate. Designed and targeted at men, the comfort and the reliability of this collection is based on an innovative hinge. This technological signature, a colored envelope, gives it an inimitable creative touch. The TitaBOX hinge is equipped with a powerful spring, which keeps the temples firmly open, working comfortably on the contours of the face. www.jfrey.fr J.F. Rey, the new ColorBOX



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Luxottica to Acquire Glasses.com and Its Try-On Technology; WellPoint to Divest 1-800-CONTACTS Luxottica Group S.p.A. announced last month it has entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire Glasses.com from WellPoint Inc. “Today we are announcing the agreement to acquire a technology which we believe will benefit the overall eyewear sector and the optical industry in North America, a crucial market for our group and one we remain strongly committed to,” said Andrea Guerra, CEO of Luxottica. The company’s statement added that Luxottica “will invest in innovations to create an enhanced online experience that will be accessible to independent practitioners in North America.” Stated Guerra, “This acquisition will function as a starting point to shape an independent, digital platform through which the North American market can and will access the unique domain, innovating the shopping experience and improving the quality of products and services available to consumers.” Concurrent but separate from Luxottica’s announcement, WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest health benefits companies, announced last month that it will divest itself of 1-800 CONTACTS. Glasses.com has been operated as a division of 1-800. WellPoint has signed a definitive agreement to sell its online contact lens retail subsidiary 1-800 CONTACTS to private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners. The purchase price and financial terms of both transactions were undisclosed but are subject to customary closing conditions, the companies said, adding each transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014. The acquisition of glasses.com will not have a material impact on Luxottica’s consolidated financial statement, Luxottica said. Said WellPoint CEO Joseph R. Swedish, “1-800 CONTACTS has strong brand recognition and a leading direct-to-consumer model. However, as we prepare for the coming changes to the health care system, we are focused on our core growth opportunities across both our commercial and government business segments. Proceeds from this transaction will support our continued capital deployment strategies.”



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Selling to Men It’s a bit of a different ballgame when selling eyewear to your male shoppers


WHEN IT COMES TO EYEWEAR, there are certainly some trends and sales habits that appeal across genders. But it’s not sexist to assume that men and women are likely going to have some different shopping habits. If you want to be as successful as possible in selling to your male patients, it behooves you to pay attention to some key differences between the way men and women shop. Price Points

For one, men are not as price driven as they may claim to be, says Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor® and author of The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business. Phibbs says that men may claim to care about price but ultimately are “boys at heart” who may get excited about discovering new merchandise. Phibbs says that talking about price right off the bat is a huge mistake that retailers often make with male shoppers and may limit your sales potential.

or ‘you can’t afford this.’ Just show it like it’s another option,” Phibbs explains. If a customer really likes the high-end frames the most, he may spring for them. “If you make me feel like Brad Pitt I may spend that extra money even though I didn’t set out to,” Phibbs says. “That’s why you should never talk money first. Let them see the merchandise first. Guys are vain. Honestly, we’re just as vain as women most of the time but we’re not going to tell you that. We do care how we look and if it makes us look good, we’re more likely to spend the money.” The Guided Experience

“Often times eyewear retailers will automatically jump to what insurance will pay for because they assume you don’t want to pay much more beyond that,” Phibbs says. “But don’t assume that. Don’t talk money first and don’t start from the bottom and work your way up. Always start from the top and work your way down.”

It’s also important to recognize that men likely need some help with the shopping experience. Unlike women who often enjoy window shopping and appreciate a lot of options, shopping may be more of a chore to men. “I do not like the thrill of the hunt when it comes to shopping,” says Phibbs. “There is nothing worse you can do than finish the eye exam and then point me in the direction of the dispensary and say ‘if there’s anything you like, let me know?’ That’s a recipe for me to go to LensCrafters. I don’t know what I’m looking at and I don’t know what I look good in. It’s overwhelming and I’ll likely decide I don’t want to be bothered.”

In other words, Phibbs says that you should show your male customers the topof-the-line frames first and then gradually make your way to the lower priced selection. He adds that the language used in the process is critical as well. “Don’t ever prejudge and say things like ‘this is expensive’

Instead, Phibbs suggests helping your male eyewear shoppers narrow the playing field. Give them some possibilities to help find out what look they’re interested in. And then narrow it down to several frames to choose from. “Limiting the choices is very important,” Phibbs says. “You might

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have 5,000 frames but we don’t want to feel stupid not knowing which ones to try on. Help us feel smart in making the decision by narrowing it down to a few to choose from. Never just throw a male shopper into the water and say ‘swim.’ We need some guidance in the selection.” Phibbs says it also needs to feel like a safe and comfortable experience for male shoppers. Men don’t like feeling out of place or that they don’t know what they’re doing. And with frame shopping, Phibbs says that most men are not going to know what they’re looking for—so don’t assume they do. “It’s like going to a mattress store,” Phibbs compares. “If they leave you alone to shop for the mattresses you really don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t understand the differences or why one may cost more or be a superior product. If you leave me alone in a mattress store, by the third mattress I’m overwhelmed. It’s the same with a dispensary. You need to help get your male shoppers to a place where they can listen and focus on a few choices.”



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But what about the customer who wants to be left alone? It is true that some men may need some space to look at the choices. Still, always offer your assistance first. Then you can give them some space to decide. “A good way to start the conversation is to ask if they’ve been there before,” Phibbs suggests. “Then ask if you can give a brief tour.” That’s a good time to start narrowing down some frame selection and help them feel less overwhelmed. “A lot of times retailers think that leaving you alone will make you feel more relaxed but that’s not the case,” Phibbs explains. “We still know we’re being watched and we feel even more stupid that we don’t know what we’re doing. Success is all about helping us feel smarter!” Lastly, keep in mind that men are less likely to make that impulse buy than women. Women enjoy browsing and may come across more than one pair of eyewear they ultimately “have to have.” But Phibbs doesn’t think you should put as much effort into the second pair sale with men. They’re typically there for the task at hand which is to buy that one pair of eyewear they really

need. Once they buy it, it’s a “mission accomplished” but if you made them feel good about the shopping experience, they’ll be back. “Men are creatures of habits in many ways,” Phibbs says. “That’s why we get the same haircut every time. It’s simple and we know it works. We want shopping to feel that way too.”

Quick Do’s and Don’ts for Selling to Men Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor® and author of The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business sums up five easy tips for successfully selling eyewear to men. DON’T leave us alone. While you may think that giving us some space is good, don’t leave us completely alone or we’ll walk away! It’s too overwhelming. DO take us by the hand (figuratively). Don’t assume that we know what we want or that we know what we’re looking at. If it’s an item we’re not familiar with buying—and eyewear likely is—then we need some guidance. Show us around and point things out.


DON’T hover. While we want your guidance and your help, take the cue if we need a little space. Help us narrow down our choices first but if we want to take some time to mull it over on our own, back off or you might spook us. It’s fine to check back in every few minutes to see if we need additional assistance, but don’t hover or make us feel pressured. DO point out fashion trends. We don’t necessarily want to be on the cutting edge of trends—we’re likely not going to buy the bright blue glasses or the big styles that Elton John wears—but we still want to look good and stylish. If we feel like it makes us look like Brad Pitt that matters to us. We might even want to know if it was featured in a magazine. We’re vain—we just don’t make it as obvious. DON’T ask or assume our budget. If you ask for our budget, you allow us to limit ourselves. You’ll dumb down our choices and ultimately you’ll lose out. Show us the merchandise first, then talk price. I



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Asking the Right Questions As eye care professionals (ECPs), we are expected to have all of the answers. To be fair, most front-line ECPs do have most of the answers to most of the questions we are asked by our clientele. In fact, even ordinary opticians have most of the answers. Knowing the difference between high index and polycarbonate, or being able to answer questions regarding digital, progressive lenses – these are the kinds of inquiries that if we were unable to answer, we would quickly lose credibility. We would be dead in the water. As I have said many times before, sometimes the difference between an ordinary ECP and extraordinary ECP is that the extraordinary one is simply willing to do a little extra. That little extra is what transforms an ordinary optician into an extraordinary professional. In this case, I would say what distinguishes the ordinary from the extraordinary is that the former knows most of the answers, while the latter concentrates on asking the right questions. Here are a few thoughts on different types of questions and knowing when to use them. On the most basic level, an extraordinary dispenser knows the difference

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between an open-ended question and a closed-end question, and more importantly knows when to use both. A closedend question is one that can only be answered yes or no. For example, if you asked a browsing client, “Do you like your old glasses?” (closed-end question) it gives her the opportunity to say, “Yeah...they’ve been okay.” You didn’t learn much. On the other hand, if you asked, “What don’t you like about your old glasses?” (open-ended question) she can’t answer with a simple yes or no. It almost forces her to give you more information. She’s more likely to respond with something like, “They’re okay, I guess. Sometimes I feel like they’re a little heavy after wearing them all day.” This now gives you a perfect opportunity to talk about drill mounts, titanium, and Trivex®. Oh, the power of an open-ended question! Keep in mind, an extraordinary ECP also knows when to use a closed-end question. Have you ever had a patient who just can’t make up his mind? He tries on the same two frames over and over. After the sixteenth comparison it would be entirely appropriate to interject your opinion, “I’ll tell you Mr. Williams, that frame looks great...and it certainly fits you better than the other one. You want to place an order?” That is a closedend question, which will likely encourage a decision (finally) from Mr. Williams. So if your intention is to elicit information, build relationships, or “diagnose” a patient’s needs, ask mostly open-ended questions. If your intention is to point out the obvious, close a sale, elicit a specific response, or receive a simple yes or no answer, ask mostly closed-end questions. Continued on page 16



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When it comes to questions, an extraordinary dispenser also uses different versions of Socratic questioning. Considered one of the founders of Western philosophy, Socrates lived in Athens, Greece, about 2,500 years ago. He developed what is still used and taught today: The Socratic Method. This type of questioning is basically a series of questions which are asked to not only draw out individual answers, but also to foster a deeper understanding of the issue being discussed. A dispenser can use this method to be more effective with regard to patient care. More specifically, the Socratic Method could be used for the following five reasons: clarification, challenging assumptions, correcting misconceptions, defining perspectives, and exploring consequences. Let’s look at all five, with brief examples of how you could use each in your day-to-day dispensing. Clarification. You could use questions of clarification with the patient above who said her glasses felt heavy, especially after wearing them all day. “What do you mean by heavy?” would allow you to gather even more insight. Then following up with another clarifying question like, “So are you saying you’d like to get some glasses you can wear all day and still feel light and comfortable?” would be very effective. The key words to frame your clarifying questions are “What do you mean by...” and “So are you saying that...” Challenging Assumptions. Imagine after posing the questions above, you suggest a lightweight, three-piece drill mount frame, explaining they’re the lightest thing she could possibly wear. She tries them on and then says, “Wow, they are really light, but they’re not as sturdy as I need – they seem really delicate. I’d probably break them within a week.” Rather than going into defensive mode, or accepting “defeat,” why not ask a couple of questions that might challenge her assumptions. “With regard to sturdy, what do you mean by delicate?” Another good approach would be, “If they broke, what do you think might happen?” The client’s responses to these 16 E Y E C A R E P R O F E S S I O N A L

questions would allow you to perhaps demonstrate a Flexon® frame, or explain the details of your warranty. The key words for asking questions that challenge assumptions are “With regard to...what do you mean by...” and “...what do you think might happen?” Challenging Misconceptions. Sometimes patients say things or have strongly held beliefs that we know, as professionals, are just plain wrong. Rather than directly “correcting” them, perhaps a more effective and tactful approach would be to ask some questions that challenge their misconceptions, and almost make it seem as if they we were correcting themselves. Let’s stick with the same scenario. In response to your “what do you mean by delicate?” question, the patient says, “I’m afraid they’d start to crack at the holes where they’re drilled.” Using a Socratic approach to challenge that misconception you might ask, “Why do you think that?” “Because I’ve seen that happen before.” “Where?” “My husband has a pair like that and they keep cracking at the hole.” “Why?” “I don’t know.” “Where did he get them?” “At Wal-Mart Vision Center.” “Oh, that explains it. They use mostly polycarbonate lenses in their drilled frames; we use Trivex®, which never, ever cracks.” The key words to use in challenging assumptions are the traditional ones like who, what, when, where, how, and mostly why.


Defining Perspectives. While similar to questions of clarification, questions to define perspectives are used with things that are more subjective. For example, what if that same client raised the objection, “Yeah, but they’re probably really expensive?” Rather than just saying yes or no, you could ask her to define her perspective by asking, “What do you mean by expensive?” The key to asking a question to define perspectives is to repeat the subjective word (in this case, “expensive”). Another great example of perspective-defining questions is when you are trying to get a family member, friend, or employee to be more forthcoming with their opinions. The best question for that is, “What is it you see about...that others are missing?” I’m not exactly sure why, but that question always gets them talking again and sharing their true perspective. Exploring Consequences. Questions used to explore consequences are a great way to get the person beyond all of his or her objections. These questions assume they’re going to make the “right” choice. Again, using our reluctant drill-mount client as an example, what if you asked, “Well they look great, they’re light as a feather...what’s the worst that would happen if you got them?” Let her respond. Maybe she says, “Oh I don’t know – my husband screams at me for spending too much money.” The appropriate followup might be, “Is that something you can handle?” The key words to frame questions that explore consequences are “What might happen...,” “what are the consequences...,” and “Is...something we could deal with?” Having all the right answers is not a bad thing, but knowing and asking the right questions just might help make the transformation from ordinary to extraordinary. Try it. What’s the worst that could happen? Is that something you could live with? I



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THROUGH THE LENS Renee Jacobs, O.D., M.A.

APPLY SCIENCE: Increasing Revenue per Patient in 2014 Improve Anti-Reflective % and Single Vision Free Form % “COMMUNICATE VALUE” is an evergreen priority for every business, whether it’s the company’s first year or their 100th. When you plan increasing revenue per patient in 2014, improve messaging for the two underperforming sales indicators that wave like big red flags. One is AntiReflective Percent (AR %). The second is Single Vision Free Form Percent (SVFF %). These indicators stand out because eye care providers generally agree that 100% of patients would benefit from AR. Furthermore, all single vision patients with a high prescription would benefit from Free Form optics. Sales should be higher for both indicators, yet month after month, businesses fail to move the needle. If patients don’t understand the value, then they will not purchase the lens products best for them. As a profession, we can do better.

Form lenses? Demographics do vary from business to business, yet it is easy to calculate your potential SVFF %. Pull all of your single vision orders from the stack of lab invoices that match one monthly statement. For most offices, about one third of these jobs will have high index material or an aspheric lens design. Generally, these invoices identify the patients who could benefit from Free Form optics. If opticians were successfully explaining the value, then the SVFF indicator would position around 20% to 30%. Instead, this indicator usually hovers below 5%. Often, this is true even when an eye care business embraces and improves Progressive Free Form lens sales. SVFF sales remain flat.

Room for Improvement We can improve AR sales. If every patient will benefit from scratch free, glare free, smudge resistant lenses, then why aren’t more patients purchasing top tier AR? Why does the industry average hover around 50%? We can improve SVFF sales too. If every single vision patient, with a moderate to high prescription, will see better through Free Form optics, then why aren’t more patients purchasing Free

Despite broad agreement that industry averages should be higher for AR % and SVFF %, opticians consistently fail to persuade the decision maker. When we fail to communicate value for the money, patients won’t buy. If current tactics are not working, then it is time for proactive change. Decipher the challenge, re-think sales tactics, and create messaging that improves measures.

Decipher the Challenge If you study lab invoices, you are likely to discover that both AR % and SVFF % suffer for the same reason. A target market, common to these two indicators, does not understand the value of top tier lens options. Specifically, your challenge is decision makers who purchases Single Vision lenses in your office. This is obvious regarding SVFF %, and less obvious regarding AR %. Therefore, test the hypothesis with a short exercise. Separate a month of lab orders by lens type. Calculate your AR % for progressive lens wearers. Then calculate your AR % for single vision lens wearers. Most likely you will confirm that the Single Vision target market is your challenge. With this in mind, consider the patients you’ve seen over the past two to three days. Put faces to names of individuals who bought single vision lenses. Some were probably parents buying for school age children. Some were probably adult contact lens wearers. Some may have been young adults, new in their career fields. Perhaps one was a parent, purchasing a first time Continued on page 20

18 E Y E C A R E P R O F E S S I O N A L



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contact lens evaluation and fitting for their teenager. These decision makers represent your most difficult target market. Often, they do not understand the value, for the money, of owning top tier spectacle lens options. Unless you improve messaging, these people will not change their purchasing patterns. Your sales indicators will stay flat. Re-think Your Tactics As you recognize the challenge, notice that eye care providers created this culture. For good reason, many new parents do not understand why top tier AR is important for their children. When these parents were young, anti-reflective coatings peeled. AR scratched easily. Do you remember the fingerprint smears and dense eyebrow marks? AR coated lenses were hard to clean. There was a time, when opticians would NEVER recommended AR for school age children. Now, those children have grown into parenthood. They do not automatically believe that AR will improve the lives of their offspring. For this reason, re-think your tactics for communicating product value. Parents are a difficult target market for another reason. One parent might need the approval of a second parent, or a senior family member, anytime lens cost is higher than expected. With this in mind, do you routinely provide tools and strategies a parent can use to explain lens package attributes, plus value for the money, when they get home? Again, re-think your tactics for messaging to decision makers who are not present at the point of sale. Next, consider your contact lens patients. Again, notice that eye care providers created the current culture. Doctors usually explain the health reasons for back-up glasses, yet fail to emphasize the necessity for top tier optics. As a result, patients consistently report poor vision with glasses compared to their contact lenses. When glasses are rarely worn, patients can’t justify the expense of updating their spectacle lenses as their prescription increases. Patients don’t know what they are missing, and they establish bad habits, risking their eye health. Doctors witness the consequences, including giant papillary conjunctivitis, neovascularization, corneal edema 20


and more. It may be difficult to change established contact patients, but certainly you can impact the culture going forward. Re-think your tactics for communicating the importance of top tier lens options for back-up glasses. Finally, consider the young adult entering their career field of choice. If they did not have top tier lenses during their school age years, and contact lens wearers have not experienced adequate back-up glasses, do you really expect these people to value top quality spectacle lenses? When money is tight, and they don’t understand the value, they will purchase cheap prescription lenses from box stores or online retailers. Cheap lenses are typically naked CR39 or polycarbonate - not high index, free form lenses with top tier AR. We are growing a generation of college students and young professionals who do not know the difference. As a profession, we can do better. Improve Tools and Strategies Our objective is to help every patient experience the best possible vision, comfort, eye health, and safety. We want this for adults, and also for younger patients who have single vision prescriptions. For this reason, we can improve how we communicate value, of top tier lens options, to our target market of decision makers who purchase single vision lenses. Lens vendors have an abundance of brochures, hands-on demonstrations, and even Apps for smart devices. Pick and choose what suits toward improving your “show and tell”. Then, implement with consistency. Put effort into standardizing a concise presentation, so that you can execute even during the busiest times. Then measure results. When you improve presentations about top tier AR, help parents understand the value for their children. Remind them that times have changed. Students complete homework using back-lit computers and tablets. AR will improve visual clarity for daily life and learning – by cutting glare, reducing scratches, and repelling dirt and smudges. We see best through clean, glare free, scratch free surfaces.

When you improve presentations about Single Vision Free Form, use pictures and demonstrations to show how the width of clarity increases. Every time the prescription strength warrants high index materials, or aspheric lens designs, consistently advocate for great vision all day every day. Free form lenses provide the best possible optics. Take your presentation to the next level by creating documents that each patient can use for their own presentation at home, to persuade additional decision makers. Sometimes, your patient will convince an entire family to purchase better lenses. Sometimes you will miss one lens package sale this year, but influence parents to plan ahead for next year. Finally, improve your presentation for new contact lens wearers. Today, you have the opportunity to change the culture going forward. Inspire healthy habits. Use brochures, demonstrations, and words to explain that healthy eyes can fight infection. Healthy eyes are white, not bloodshot. It is imperative to take contact lenses out at night, and wear glasses for an hour or two before sleep. Appropriate spectacle lenses should provide natural vision, similar to contact lens vision. Advocate for the patient. Never accept the premise that back-up glasses can be thick and heavy with peripheral distortion, aberration, and glare. Every patient deserves best possible vision throughout their waking hours. When you implement new sales tactics, apply science during the first days and weeks. If a greater percentage of single vision decision makers purchase lens options best for the patient, then maintain your new behaviors. If the new procedures are not successful, then continually improve your “show and tell”, until you discover the formula that works. Remember, if it was easy, then anyone could do it. Your practice can be better than average, even a top performer. Simply put effort into standardizing concise presentations that persuade patients to purchase lens products best for them. Then monitor over time. “Communicate Value” to increase revenue per patient in 2014. I



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How three optometric practices are using social networking for positive results. Despite what some people may have originally thought, social media is still going strong and certainly seems like it’s here to stay. And more and more consumers are on social networking sites. A new report by eMarketer, “Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” says nearly one in four people — 1.73 billion — around the globe will

use social media in 2013. And by 2017, that number is expected to jump to 2.55 billion.

getting a whole lot of followers in a short amount of time – it just keeps on growing, which is great,” he says.

Obviously the potential to reach a lot of new patients is there, but a lot of skepticism with social media still exists. How much time will it take? How do I know what to talk about? Will anybody really care?

Through their account @lonestareye on Instagram, Dr. Packer and his staff spend about three to four hours per week posting photos for their current 107 followers. Dr. Packer says they work hard to post a variety of photos — from photos of frames in their inventory to funny eye-related images — in an attempt to keep the interest of their followers. “We don’t want to be one-dimensional — if we’re only posting pictures of glasses, people are going to get tired of that,” he explains. “We’re just trying to keep our very ADD society that we have these days captivated.”

Success with social media all comes down to using it smartly. Here is a look at three optometric practices and how they’re using three different social networks – Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, to benefit their businesses. Instagram — Dr. Casey Packer In mid-December, Dr. Casey Packer of Lone Star Eye Center in Austin, TX, decided to try the photo and video sharing app and website Instagram for his practice, and so far has been very happy with the results. “We’ve been very successful in

Dr. Packer assigned posting to the practice’s Instagram account to one of his staff members. Throughout the day, he and other staff members will email fun photos they find on the internet to the assigned member, who then posts them to Continued on page 26

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connect. inspire. lead.

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15TH ANNUAL PLEIADES AWARD honoring SHERRIE ROGERSON of REM Eyewear Friday March 28, 2014 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm – Cocktails 6:45 pm – Award Presentation Marchon Showroom 8 West 40th Street, New York City RSVP by March 14, 2014 @ www.opticalwomen.com Transportation services from the Javits Center 5:45, 6:00 and 6:15 pm Taking place during International Vision Expo East

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WHY GLASS FREE-FORM? Before I address that question, I’d like to set the foundation for it. If we take a poll across the whole industry, there are a few main points that most professionals will agree upon: •

Glass is, optically, the best lens material available

Compensated free-form lenses can give the clearest vision possible

Glass is the most scratch and chemical-resistant lens material

Due to its scratch resistance, glass is also the best base for AR coating

Glass photochromics (Photogray, Thin & Dark) tend to perform better than other materials

Since everyone can agree upon these points, why is glass free-form only available in Europe? Why not offer the best optics and the most durable lenses in America? So began our engineering team’s mission. The other major benefits of glass free-form are: •

Add Range: +0.25 to +4.50

1.523, 1.60, 1.70, and 1.80 index available

Over 10 different progressive designs

Progressives available in sunglass tints

Priced similarly to conventional glass progressives

Over 6,000 lens combinations (considering add, color, material, and design)

It is now possible to get all the benefits of free-form surfacing in glass. Using our Eagle (compensated) and Eaglet (non-compensated) designs, we’re able to produce glass progressives up to a +4.50 add power in any glass material and color. There’s only a handful of glass progressives on the market, all with very limited

material availability. We’re giving the Eye Care Professional freedom of choice. With our heavy investment in robotic glass surfacing technology, we are able to provide free-form progressive lenses at (or below) the cost of traditional glass progressives. The benefits of free-form in glass also include smaller fitting heights. With the Eagle Ultra Short, you can fit a glass progressive down to 10mm. This makes it possible to use smaller frames to get lighter lenses. Other designs have heights up to 20mm, to accommodate for larger frames. Our offerings in glass designs and materials cannot be surpassed. In our Eagle family of lens designs, we offer over a dozen different designs to accommodate the patient’s life style. From sport, craft, office, and computer designs, we have a design for every patient. There are anti-fatigue single vision lenses, too. We also provide personalized progressive lenses and high definition bifocals in glass. We’ve made sure to stay consistent with our lens designs. The Eagle lens that you order in plastic will be the same design as the one you order in plastic, apart from compensation for the material lens differences, of course. This makes it easy to use for patients that want most of their lenses in plastic, but maybe want a pair of sunglasses in glass to take to the beach. All of these reasons are why we invested over $1 million in glass free-form equipment and facilities. FEA is a major optical laboratory, dedicated to bring the latest lens innovations to the optical industry. Our engineering team is mandated to provide the best in optical and software technology for the eye care industry. I Written by Bill Heffner IV, FEA Industries otherbill@feaind.com

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Instagram when she has downtime in between patients. “She gets a lot of pride out of getting more and more followers for us,” Dr. Packer adds. As their use of Instagram grows, Dr. Packer plans to experiment by holding contests through their account — those that post a photo of themselves wearing frames or contact lenses from his practice will be put into a drawing for a gift card either to the practice or a popular local business. “Offering something appealing like that is a great way to get people involved and if they post, the more likely you are to get all of their friends posting as well,” he explains. For ECPs considering starting an Instagram account for their practice, Dr. Packer advises them to put it in the hands of a staff member in the 20 or 30 year age range, as those are the ages typically using Instagram. And he says to make sure to post at least once a day. “You can get lost in the mix so quick with how many things these people follow, so if you’re not posting at least once a day, you’re probably not going to get the hits that make a difference,” he says. Facebook – Dr. Derron Lee Dr. Derron Lee has been successfully using Facebook for a few years now for all his practices — Midtown Optometry in Stockton, CA, and Manteca Optometry and Manteca Vision Development Center, both in Manteca, CA. Currently his Midtown Optometry Facebook page (facebook.com/midtownoptometry) has over 1,500 followers, while his Manteca Optometry page (facebook.com/mantecaoptometry) recently broke 1,000. Dr. Lee says the success of his pages comes from posting items that are pertinent to that particular time. “We try to really be in tune with what is going on with pop culture,” he explains. For instance, when Justin Timberlake’s latest album, “The 20/20 Experience,” came out and featured a phoropter on the cover, Dr. Lee decided to do his own take on the artwork and uses that as the profile photo for his Midtown Optometry Facebook page. 26 E Y E C A R E P R O F E S S I O N A L

To help educate patients about their vision, Dr. Lee turns to more creative approaches such as optical illusions and video blogs. His most recent video blog is about January being Glaucoma Awareness Month. Both current and potential patients can use both Facebook pages to request appointments through an app installed on the page. Dr. Lee says many patients have taken advantage of that capability. Additionally, Dr. Lee uses his Facebook pages to tell his followers about upcoming events, such as trunk shows and local business events they will be attending. And Dr. Lee also uses his practices’ Facebook pages to let his patients get to know who he is. He spends about 2 hours a week posting to his Facebook pages and feels by him posting, and not a staff member, he lets patients get to know his personality. He has also had patients connect with him on his personal Facebook page as well. “They connect with me on a personal level, so they get to know me as Derron instead of Dr. Lee,” he explains. When it comes to a successful Facebook page, Dr. Lee says to enjoy it. “Have fun with it – have content that’s relevant to your target market and be creative in terms of how you present it,” he says. Pinterest — Dr. Luciana Coscione Dixon An avid user of the photo sharing website Pinterest, Dr. Luciana Coscione Dixon of L’Optique Optometry in Rochester Hills, MI decided to open a business account for her practice (pinterest.com/ loptique) a year anda-half ago, and so far the results have been great. “At first I was kind of skeptical — I didn’t know if this would help my practice at all, but I was willing to try,” Dr. Dixon explains. “Once I started posting, I was getting a ton of repins and a ton of new followers, so I thought someone’s paying attention.” Currently at 86 followers, Dr. Dixon uses Pinterest to “pin” photos of different

things that are of interest to both her and her followers — think of it as almost a virtual scrapbook. For example, her current Pinterest “board” includes photos of fashion — from frames they offer in their optical to eye accessories — as well as eye-related humor, celebrity eyewear, and even cute babies and animals wearing eyewear. She also uses her Pinterest account to educate her patients through visuals that teaches them about their eyes and vision. Dr. Dixon says this has proved to be a great way to educate all her followers, whether they are current patients or not. Right now Dr. Dixon posts to the practice’s Pinterest account herself, and says it only takes her about 10 to 15 minutes a week to keep it maintained with fresh content. For those looking to start a Pinterest account, she says what helped her was to take the time to follow others who are posting the same type of photos you are — such as eye health or eye fashion — and then repin their posts to your board. “Linking their pins (is) what it’s all about and that gives you a basis,” she explains. Dr. Dixon also suggests make sure you include the name of your practice and it’s location in the title of every photo you post. “It’s one more time that our name is out there and people see it,” she says. I

Now on your Mobile Device




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What Came First? The Lenses or The Frame? For decades, the conventional wisdom has been to discuss lens options first with every patient. The idea being that lens design, material and treatment would dictate much of the options available for frame selection. Has this long-standing technique fallen by the wayside?

6. The patient has just learned that he or she is (gasp!) presbyopic and/or has (the horror of) astigmatism and much of the optician’s time will be spent explaining that the new lenses will not make them look (insert adjective). 7. The patient has researched lenses on the internet and is “prepared” to tell the optician what will be the best solution for his or her visual needs...because Google said so. 8. The patient has a degree in engineering.

Perhaps. Yet there are still some valid arguments for “lenses first”. 1. The patient has just finished discussing vision and vision concerns with the doctor. Lens needs and any suggestions made in the exam lane are foremost in the thought process. There should be no better time to discuss lens needs and wants. 2. There is the possibility, however remote, that the frame selection will not accommodate the lens availabilities and options. 3. If the patient is working within a budget, the cost of lenses may, by necessity, dictate the availability of affordable lens and frame choices. 4. The patients vision insurance may dictate both lens and frame choices, often creating a “lesser of two evils” selection process. 5. The optician has done such a perfect job of extolling the value, durability and appeal of the patient’s current frame, that prying it off his or her face requires mental and verbal gymnastics heretofore unseen by any living human being. 30 E Y E C A R E P R O F E S S I O N A L

However, the lens landscape has changed...a lot! The factors that limited frame selection, i.e. material availability, designs, etc., have been replaced with hundreds of options and combinations of options. Eye care professionals can literally design lenses to provide optimal vision, optimal performance and still allow their patients to choose from almost any frame design. The arguments for selecting frames first are pretty straight forward. 1. Most patients have at least a basic idea of what they want new eyewear to look like. Sometimes the “cult of personality” influences a frame style or look. From Sir Elton John to Sarah Palin to Buddy Holly, eyewear has come to define a “look” or an attitude. 2. Frames have become an affordable luxury. It’s possible to wear a designer brand for a reasonable price and designers have discovered that their brand currency is expanding from haute couture to mass market with very little negative impact on perceived value and they are hopping on that bandwagon from Kmart to Kohl’s. 3. Frames have become more fun. Eyeglass wearers in the US have become more adventurous and are willing, if not excited, to try new looks, materials, shapes and colors once restricted to fashion-forward Europe.



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Eye care professionals can literally design lenses to provide optimal vision, optimal performance and still allow their patients to choose from almost any frame design.

4. The patient is wearing a frame that has seen better days. In fact, a sharp-eyed optician can see the frame deteriorating as the patient is checking in at the reception desk. 5. Most importantly, the availability of more than just a handful of lens options allows eye care professionals to completely customize fashionable and functional eyewear to meet almost any requirement. Even the most extreme lens powers can now be fabricated in high-index, aspheric or double aspheric lens designs to allow wearers both visual comfort and acuity, and a fashionable look. This “which came first” question sparked a lively discussion among a group of the most forward-thinking eye care professionals in the industry. The initial question was, “How do you start your conversation with patients after the Dr. hand-off?” The one absolute was, “Never take the patient back to the waiting area or front desk because it makes them think the process is over.” No arguments there. That’s like asking a closed-end question to which the answer is always “no”. The responses were fairly evenly split between “lenses first” and “frames first”. The one caveat being that assessing needs and wants had to be addressed either in the exam room or at the dispensing table. With that understanding, the optician can begin the conversation wherever is the most comfortable. This sort of modified lifestyle dispensing gently guides the patient to understand the need for more than a single pair of eyeglasses, regardless of the multi-functionality of many lens materials and designs. There is no more “one size fits all” lens design or even family of lenses any more than there is a “one frame line fits all” frame vendor. For that reason, extensive product knowledge is paramount, not just about lenses but on frames as well. Many of these savvy ECPs advised keeping the process, especially the lens selection process, as simple as possible. Remember that keeping the information simple means having as much product information at hand to be secure in making recommendations. Good marketing does not necessarily mean good, useable information. The best and most skilled are constantly upgrading their knowledge base. Said one participant, “Frames are personal, lenses are all on us, be thorough and thoughtful.” Excellent advice.

Another added “I always prefer a 10-15 minute conversation with the customer before we look at frames. Needs and expectations get uncovered, I establish myself as the expert, and usually only have to show a couple of frames. It doesn’t feel like selling to the patient if I am showing them the one perfect thing that they have already told me that they need. I’m the hero and it saves the confusion that can come from having too many choices. The patient always feels comfortable, in control and catered to.” As more professional practices embrace a medical model, doctors are increasingly dependent upon a well-trained, skilled optician to manage patient expectations, to provide world class advice and to expertly troubleshoot patient problems and/or concerns. Does this new doctor/optician/patient relationship need new parameters? Who then decides which comes first? The lenses or the frame? It would seem from this group of eye care professionals, that there are advantages to either strategy. The key to a successful hand off and subsequent eyewear conversation is coordination. A coordinated strategy between doctor and optician to ensure a smooth transition from exam room to dispensary should include: • Location of the hand off—who escorts the patient where? • What information should be shared? • How involved should the doctor become in the fitting process? • When and how should the doctor defer to the optician’s judgment/suggestions? Since the dispensary accounts for roughly 60% of practice revenue, it is not just wise, but absolutely necessary for every ECP in every practice to coordinate every aspect of every transaction. Not to micromanage, but to ensure that every player has the education and skills to present a seamless patient experience from check-in to final dispense and beyond. To paraphrase one contributor, what drives patients to online retailers is the feeling that they’ve invested a lot of hard-earned money in our products and feel that they haven’t received the value that was expected. “When online retailers don’t do any worse for hundreds (of dollars) less, the online retailers win (and) we lose.” Food for thought. Lenses first? Frames first? Do what you are comfortable doing, but do it to the best of your ability with the best interests of your patient in mind. I



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Going Undercover to Discover a Great Practice Optical life has been an adventure for me these past few months. So I thought I’d capture your attention with a recent trip I took to Georgia where optometry runs in the family, and it’s obviously in the staff ’s blood too. Blakely Eye Care was established in 1946 by Dr. A Earl Taylor. His daughter, Dr. Sue Prchal, and son-in-law, Dr. Jerry Prchal, joined the practice when they completed their training at the Southern College of Optometry in 1979. Now renamed Vision Source Blakely, this practice is one of the oldest family run eye care practices in Georgia. Albany Eye Care was established in 1983 by Drs Sue and Jerry Prchal. By 1988 the practice had outgrown its location so the current facility was built and completed in September that year. In 1991 Dr. Kaye Collier Bryan began work with the Prchal family where she concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease. Dr. William “Matt” Harper joined the practice in 2009 and concentrates his vision care on ocular disease, contact lens care and pediatrics. Albany Eye Care was renovated in 2011 which included the incorporation of the Vision Source brand as the lead in its naming. The practice has now gone full circle with the inclusion of Dr. Joseph Taylor Prchal in June 2012. The grandson of Dr. A. Earl Taylor, founder of the Blakely

32 E Y E C A R E P R O F E S S I O N A L

office, Dr. Taylor Prchal is continuing the family commitment to the visual needs of Southwest Georgia that spans over 68 years. The doctors are excited to announce the opening of a 3rd practice in Camilla, GA in February. Dr. Harper will be working there two days a week along with one full time staff member. This 650 sq ft location will be equipped with one exam lane and a dispensary showcasing 200 eyeglass frames. I had the privilege of doing some consulting work beginning with being a mystery patient for Albany Eye Care. After a peaceful 6 hour drive I put my game face on and signed in at the front desk as Barbara Smith. The first person I came into contact with was Ivey, who has been with the practice for 1 year as an Insurance Specialist. Although my I.D. would need to be presented later since I accidentally forgot it (wink, wink) I wasn’t given any grief. Thanks Ivey, that’s how it should be. In lightening bolt time after turning in my paperwork I was introduced to Kayla, who said she always tries to greet each patient with a smile. She wants every patient to feel as though they are not only getting an eye exam, but a memorable “spa-like” experience. Kayla has been with the practice for 12 years as a Doctor’s Assistant and was one of the most upbeat morning individuals I’ve ever met.

Next on the scene was Dr. Kaye Bryan and I was crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t get busted. She was very pleasant and thorough while wasting no time letting me know my prescription had changed (guess there’s no faking that). She discussed the benefits of having progressive lenses and occupational lenses for the lengthy amount of time I am spending daily on computer work. Thanks for looking out for me Dr. Bryan! Kayla returned to walk me to the optical department. On the way she was talking about how much fun and exciting it is to select frames. She relayed the notes of what Dr. Bryan recommended in the exam room. Nice work Kayla!



2:11 PM

This is where I was going to have a harder time faking it. The two opticians, Karen and Claire have been with the practice long enough to watch Dr. Taylor Prchal go from using a pacifier to a phoropter. I was ready to confess who I really was but knew I better play it out entirely. Karen has been with the practice since 1991 and she is the queen of frame inventory. She recommended the best progressive lenses because after all why would I want anything less? She treated me with respect when I said I wasn’t going to purchase the computer lenses same day even though they would be discounted. I told her that I needed to discuss payment arrangements with Cynthia. She didn’t make me feel awkward at all or question my payment intentions as she walked me over to Cynthia’s office where I finally came clean. Thanks Karen for a fun and hassle free patient transaction! Claire is a Licensed Optician that started working with AEC in 1986. She enjoys working with patients and helping them in any way possible. She feels like she goes above and beyond to make them happy and a lot of them feel like friends. When asked if she and Karen ever argue she said “No, why would we?” Karen’s reply to the same question was “No, I don’t think we have ever really gotten mad at each other.” Cynthia is the Director of Operations and has been with the practice for 2 years. First and foremost she plays a supportive role for all members of the team. Cynthia has an MBA degree which means stats, profit margins, cost analysis,

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training, marketing strategies, HR, and business management are all quite familiar to her and she loves crunching numbers. She has such a calm demeanor to be the go-to person for daily requests and questions from 12 team members and 4 doctors. At this point, I was free to roam about the 6,100 sq ft of building and observe the place in action. I could have used a GPS when I needed to find Taylor’s office since I kept going the long way or wrong way if you happen to be a glass half full perfectionist. Tucked away in her comfort zone of the lab I met Anita, the Lab Tech Manager. She thought I was there to apply for a job and was ready to put me to work. Anita is no stranger to any facet of lens fabrication and has been with AEC since 1988. She is a lens genius and although she prefers her lab work over dispensing, she steps in to help out Karen and Claire during peak times. Samantha works with Anita in the lab and has been with AEC for almost 2 years. She enjoys edging lenses and also sells eyeglasses when needed. Around the corner and down the hall I met two more Doctor’s Assistants. Christina has been working for AEC since May 2013. She told me that she really enjoys working with patients and her coworkers. Amanda has been working for AEC for almost 7 years. She said she hopes to stay for a long time to come. She enjoys

every aspect of her job and tries to offer the best customer service possible. The newest team member Gabrielle was hired in Nov. 2013. After training she will be in charge of the Blakely office. She told me she hopes to be valuable to the practice and each patient she comes into contact with. Since childhood Gabrielle has dreamed of working in the optical business. With a degree in Journalism and Management I’m sure in no time she’ll be able to write some great Blakely stories. Every office needs a Patient Account Representative like Jennifer. She’s been with AEC since Nov. 2012. She said she tries to provide good customer service so the patients feel comfortable in the office. From what I saw she definitely does that as well as being an OfficeMate guru. And last but not least there is Kristen who works as the Scheduling Coordinator. Her sweet disposition is perfect for recalls, confirming appointments and scheduling. She has been with AEC since Aug. 2012 and it sounds to me like she loves her job. If you are ever in the Albany, Blakely or Camilla, GA area you should stop by and introduce yourself to these guys. Tell them Barbara Smith referred you. They genuinely love what they do and their place of employment. This was the most humble group of ECPs I’ve ever worked with. I guess that’s why they continue to grow and press on toward the goal. A goal of longtime patient care where you’re treated like family. I

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2:29 PM

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Johnson & Johnson Vision Care

Safilo USA has announced the retirement of optical industry veteran Dick Russo, executive vice president in charge of the commercial activities for North America, after 42 years of service. Glenn Rusk, who previously led Safilo’s Canadian business, has been named the new commercial Glenn Rusk senior vice president of Safilo North America and has become a member of Safilo’s Global Leadership Team. In addition to his four decade long career with Safilo, Russo has been an active member of The Vision Council, where he served on the board of directors for two consecutive terms.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. has appointed Millicent Knight, OD, as head of professional affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, North America, effective April 7, 2014. While Knight is not replacing anyone currently on the team, in her Millicent Knight, OD new position she will be a member of the newly created Global Professional Affairs organization. She will lead the development of the company’s professional strategy across the U.S. and Canada, and she will direct its professional and education platform through The Vision Care Institute, LLC and other educational outreach programs.

Sunland Optical

The American Optometric Student Association

After 45 years in the optical industry and after more than six years as president/CEO of Sunland Optical, Gordon Bishop has retired from the position and founded Optical Consultants. Felix Castanon, formerly lab manager, will assume the role of president. The company specializes in proGordon Bishop viding eyecare and eyewear on military bases throughout the U.S. After more than four decades in the business, Bishop has worked in many facets of the optical field, including corporate and private retail, optometry and ophthalmology.

The American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) elected four new officers at the organization’s recent board of trustees meeting in Dallas. Devin Sasser, a third-year student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Devin Sasser Optometry, was elected president. He graduated with a B.S. in biology from Xavier University in Louisiana. Jennifer Turano, a third-year student at Salus University-Pennsylvania College of Optometry, was elected vice president. Keylee Clemons Brown, a third-year student at Inter American University of Puerto Rico, was elected secretary.


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Vision Council The Vision Council has elected officers for 2014 at its annual executive summit meeting. Re-elected chairman of The Vision Council is Raanan Naftalovich, Shamir Optical. Elected vice-chairman is Marty Bassett, Walman Optical. Richard Russo of Safilo USA was elected secretary-treasurRaanan Naftalovich er while Zyloware’s Jamie Shyer will serve as immediate past-chair this year. Departing the board and recognized for their years of service to the organization were REM Eyewear’s Michael Hundert, Eyewear Designs’ Andrea Gluck, L’Amy America’s Stephen Rappoport and Transition Optical’s Dave Cole.

Luxottica Group Luxottica Group has announced leadership changes for the North American market, including the appointment of Nicola Brandolese as the new president of Retail Optical of Americas, effective immediately. In his new role, Brandolese will lead Nicola Brandolese both Retail Optical North and South America. He joined the Luxottica senior management team in September 2012 as group business development director and chief digital officer. Prior to joining Luxottica, he spent nine years with News Corporation, driving Sky Italy’s growth from a start-up to a $4 billion company, leading marketing, sales, product and customer management.

QSpex Technologies QSpex Technologies, a maker of in-office spectacle lens manufacturing systems, announced that its board has appointed Brett Craig, a board member and advisor, as president and CEO. Additionally, Evan Melrose, MD, has been appointed chairman. Craig comes to QSpex with more than 15 years of Brett Craig eyecare experience. Most recently, he served as president and CEO of PixelOptics, a venture-backed electronic eyeglass company. Prior to PixelOptics, Craig was the president and COO of Transitions Optical.

Transitions Optical Transitions Optical, Inc. has announced that Chris King has joined the company as education manager. In this position, King will be responsible for leading strategy and development of education and training initiatives to support industry professionals with product and business knowledge to Chris King increase patient satisfaction and drive growth of the optical industry. King comes to Transitions Optical with several years of experience in developing training and advising materials for a variety of organizations and audiences.



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Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Diagnosis and Treatment February is National Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness month, and optical professionals play a key role in helping people who suffer from this condition.

acular degeneration is a retinal disease that affects the central vision. It is one of the chief causes of vision impairment in patients over the age of 65. Opticians and technicians can make a difference in the lives of AMD sufferers with careful attention to fitting glasses, using various colored tints and anti-reflective coatings, and even making patients aware of available low vision services.


What Is Macular Degeneration? The macula is the part of the retina that gives us our best sight. There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. In the more common dry macular degeneration, the macula develops tiny deposits of cells called drusen. These drusen can cause the macula to ripple and fold. If the drusen become big enough, they can cause the retina to detach. Wet AMD is more severe. In this form, blood vessels grow up from underneath the retina. These vessels can cause separation of the retinal layers and cause detachments. They are also extremely fragile, and they often break. This causes bleeding on the retina that leads to substantial scarring and sight loss. In both cases, patients often report that their central vision is distorted or missing entirely. Many people complain about straight lines looking wavy or being unable to see details on others’ faces. Since AMD affects central vision, many patients are frustrated by difficulties reading or doing other tasks that require good eyesight. Medical Treatments for AMD While there are no cures for AMD at this time, optometrists and ophthalmologists often make recommendations for vitamins

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to slow down the progression of the disease. Ocular vitamins are formulated with extra anti-oxidants and zinc. People with wet macular degeneration are often referred to retinal specialists for treatment to stop retinal bleeding. These specialists use lasers to coagulate the leaking blood vessels. New medications that are injected into the eye have been developed that help the blood vessels to recede. Working with AMD Patients The macula needs a lot of light to function at its best. When people have decreased macular function due to AMD, they often need more light and contrast. Optical professionals can help by creating a well-lit area for AMD patients. High contrast also helps. Use light items on a dark desk or workstation and dark items on a lighter colored desk. AMD patients often report problems with glare. Avoid having lighting that is so bright that it creates glare. A good swing-arm or gooseneck lamp will allow you to bring the light down onto the item with less glare. Don’t put a higher watt bulb into a fixture than allowed. If the light only allows a 60-watt bulb, use only 60 watts or less. Using a higher watt bulb than the fixture allows can damage the lamp and even cause fires.



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Safety is key. Many AMD patients are older and are at higher risk for falling due to both their age and the AMD. Keep floors clear of any boxes and debris. Make sure carpet runners are in good condition and don’t have upturned corners or loose spots that could be tripping hazards. Frame Selection While many people love the light weight of rimless frames, this type of eyeglass frame actually may make it harder for AMD patients to find their glasses if they lay them down somewhere. People with significant sight loss may find a bolder frame easier to locate. Patients with vision problems may drop glasses more often, so avoid very delicate frames. Frames with magnetic clips that drill into the lenses are particularly helpful. The clips attach securely to the front of the main pair of glasses, and these clips can be created in a number of different tints and powers.

Since these clips don’t have prongs, they are easier for patients with visual impairments to handle, and they won’t scratch the lenses. It is not unusual for low vision patients to use one tint on cloudy days and another tint on sunny days. Also, some people need a higher power lens for specific tasks, like computer or hobby use. The clip can be created with a power to work at that specific distance and then removed easily when the task is done. Find frames that allow the patient’s eyes to be well centered vertically and horizontally. Many people with sight problems have high add powers or unusual prescriptions, and a properly sized frame will minimize lens thickness and aberrations. Lens Material and Designs Whenever possible, choose lenses with a high Abbe value to minimize aberrations. Patients may benefit from an aspheric

design to decrease distortion, as well. Patients with higher adds will find a progressive or trifocal very helpful to maximize the range of clear vision. Measuring for High Power Adds Many visually impaired people have prescriptions with adds with much higher powers than the usual +2.50 diopters. It is essential to measure the near pupil distances monocularly on high adds. This will help prevent annoying double vision. Some doctors will prescribe prism in high power readers to help the eyes fuse the images better. Remember that diopters (D) are inverse meters. A +2.50D add has a reading distance of 40 centimeters, or about 16 inches. A +4.00D add has a much shorter reading distance of only 25 centimeters, or 10 inches. Many people struggle to adapt to the new, closer reading distance and often don’t bring the reading material close enough to be clear. Encourage patients to



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bring the item right up to their noses and then push it out until it becomes clear. This will make it easier to use the full benefit of the higher add. Helpful Coatings and Tints Ultraviolet (UV) exposure is linked to AMD. All AMD patients should have a UV filter on their lenses or wear sun protection outside. Non-glare coatings are especially helpful. Not only does this coating reduce annoying glare, but also it allows more light through the lens to help AMD patients see better. Scratch resistant coatings will help reduce scratches from dropped glasses. Many AMD patients report greater comfort and better contrast enhancement with tints that block the blue end of the spectrum. These colors include yellow, amber, brown, and even red or orange. If you serve a number of patients with AMD, you will definitely want a wide variety of these tint samples or tinted fitover glasses for people to try out. There is no magic formula for determining which tint will work for a particular person. The simplest way for an AMD patient to decide which tint works best is to

hold the tint sample up or slip on the fitover glasses. If a color helps, incorporate it into the prescription. If one tint doesn’t work, try others. Low Vision Services and Items Most practices don’t specialize in low vision services or devices, since they require a major investment of time and money. However, having a few lighted magnifiers in the 2.5X or 3X range on hand can be helpful so that an AMD patient can see detailing on a frame more easily. Many patients don’t realize all of the items available that can make activities of daily living easier. Retinal specialists may or may not have time to discuss vision rehabilitation services and devices. Some organizations and businesses that offer low vision items include: Maxi-Aids, Eschenbach, Enhanced Vision, The Lighthouse Store. Independent Living Aids, and Freedom Scientific. Many great organizations and services help people with visual impairments. Many patients are eligible for state and federal programs that may be extremely beneficial. All states have a department to help the

visually impaired. These are usually named Bureau for the Blind or State Department for the Visually Impaired. Patients don’t have to be legally blind to receive help. Lighthouse International, the local Lion’s Club, the Low Vision departments at your nearest college of Optometry, and departments of aging are all great places to start for more help. Visually impaired people can contact the disability coordinator at their local public transportation office for transportation assistance. AMD patients who are still working can contact the local office of the Bureau for Vocational Rehabilitation to get help with services and items to keep them working effectively. Those who are legally blind are entitled to a federal income tax deduction and should consult their tax preparers for more information. They may also be eligible for federal disability programs. When helping patients with AMD, remember that a well-fitting pair of eyewear with an excellent prescription will help their vision significantly. Use tints and coatings to provide better light transmission, reduce UV, and enhance contrast. Enjoy the rewards that come with helping people with AMD see better. I



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SECOND GLANCE Elmer Friedman, OD

The Ecstasy and the Agony THERE ARE EVENTS in every eye care provider’s life that inspire and others that numb our senses. I have examples of each. In the former instance, a young couple named Mary and Jim Davis helped blind twin sisters to ‘see’ when all avenues of help had been exhausted. Linda and Karen are adult sisters who are blind. Mary and Jim are kite enthusiasts who belong to the same kite society as myself. They told me of an event that captured my imagination and raised goose bumps over my gnarled senior citizen body. It’s the sort of story that creates beauty out of adversity and restores faith in human nature. Mary and Jim are not engaged at any level in the ophthalmic profession, but their accomplishment went beyond scientific knowledge. Here’s what happened. Mary and Jim were relaxing and enjoying the balmy summer weather at a well known beach in South Jersey. A storm had preceded that particular day. Armed with the knowledge and experience connected with seashell collecting, they realized ideal conditions existed for them. They set out for a leisurely walk with eyes and nose pointed at the sand looking for suitable shells. During their jaunt, they discovered a prominent sand dune. The combination of a fine seashore wind and a clean sky was too much for the Davis’s to resist. Being true kite enthusiasts, they always carry a few kites in the car, ready for sailing. Jim retraced his steps to the car to retrieve the kites. While waiting for Jim’s return, Mary struck up a conversation with an elderly

lady named Mae. Mary noticed two women sitting on a bench nearby. Mae informed her that she was a caretaker for the women who were 52 year old twins. Both were blind for most of their lives and their names were Linda and Karen. Mary learned that Mae and the twins spent one week each year at a house close to the beach. Linda and Karen explained that they “wished to see and hear the wonders of the seashore.” Mary spoke to the twins and during one of those perfectly timed moments she asked if they would like to feel what it’s like to fly a kite. The twins quickly responded with surprising enthusiasm. When Jim returned to the beach with the kites there was a short conference and Jim felt that the plan could work. He assembled a kite and encouraged the twins to touch and feel the form of the kite, the surfaces and twine. Jim and Mary explained how the kite was made and assembled. The stitching and sewing connected with the kite was further discovered. Mary reported that the twins ‘ooohed and aaaahed’ as they ‘saw’ the kite during the description narration. Jim said, “The kite is

ten feet wide and 4 feet high. You will hear a rustling sound as the wind begins to lift it skyward.” They became as excited as school children on their first outing. The piece de resistance was the 85 foot tail. (This kite is not for learners to fly and should not be attempted at home.) They passed the tail through their fingers from end to end and were astounded at the complicated arrangement of so many pieces of fabric joined in such an artistic way. The kite was launched and each took a turn holding the reel as they gleefully sensed the play between the wind and the kite. These moments were enriched as Jim and Mary described the appearance of the kite as it flew skyward toward the clouds. Linda and Karen seemed to be experiencing an extra measure of delight. And no wonder. They revealed a long held secret fascination of high wind storms and hurricanes. They would be pinned to their TV and radio, enchanted by the sounds and fury of the wind, rain, thunder and the crackle of lightning. I challenge the reader, who possesses normal vision, to be able to derive any more enjoyment out of a simple Continued on page 42

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kite flying experience than our blind twins with their senses intensified by the sun on their faces and the sound of the surf in their ears. After the kite was finally reeled in and disassembled, the twins thanked Jim and Mary profusely for sharing the kiting experience and allowing them ‘to see’ a new thing in their lives. Goodbyes were said but Jim noticed that Mary was tearful and asked what was wrong. Mary answered, “Mae told me that the twins would be able to do something that we could not possibly do. They spoke of their belief that they would finally ‘see’ things for the first time when they get to heaven.” Each day miracles occur in our lives that we take for granted. How precious it would be to energize our consciousness to extract every grain of pleasure from those very things. A wise man once said, “Life is spread out before us like a banquet. Those who do not partake of it will be taken to task in the hereafter.” The author, Somerset Maugham, when speaking of the magical enchantment that kite flyers feel, also said, “It may be that in some dim, confused way it represents an ideal of freedom and adventure.” Jim and Mary Davis created a moment, suspended in time, that will forever be in the ‘visual memory’ of the twins named Linda and Karen. Our lives are never completely filled with ‘ecstasy’ events. Of course, ‘agony’ events are in evidence just when the going seems good. And so, here is an example, believe it or not, lodged at the opposite end of the spectrum. As a member of the adjunct

faculty of a prestigious optometry school it was my task to help fourth year interns to experience the in office nuts and bolts of a practice in the field to prepare him/her for the cold, cruel world after graduation. On one particular day, I informed my extern, Dr. X (a fictitious name to protect the innocent) that he had arrived at a point in his basic training that required him to move on beyond observation and note taking. It was time for him to manage a new patient case from inception to conclusion. The reaction was expected. There was stuttering, stammering, shimmying and shaking and finally, acceptance. That special time arrived and I prepped Dr. X. with sample dialogue and allowed him to practice his touch with the phoropter to refresh his memory and bolster his confidence. The unsuspecting patient was ushered into the exam room and all was ready. I explained to Dr. X. that I would be able to monitor his actions and conversation by a special video camera that had recently been installed for security reasons. I told him to be of good cheer and that I would be watching and listening the entire time. I placed two glasses of clear liquid on his desk. The one on the right was water and the other, on the left, was well, vodka. I explained that there might be a moment or two of hesitation and a sip of water would suffice. However, when his courage might need a boost, he could take a sip of the vodka and no one would be the wiser. The examination proceeded and after the patient was finally dismissed the intern and I met for the critique. He asked, “How did I

do?” I said, “First of all, I told you to sip and not gulp the vodka. Secondly, your patient’s name was Marcia Fingle. You shouldn’t address her as ‘M.F.’ Thirdly, when the patient’s V.A. was not better than 20/300 without correction, you don’t comment that she’s ‘as blind as a bat.’ Fourth: while conducting a fundus exam it is not appropriate to straddle the patient in an indecent manner. Fifth: when performing ophthalmometry do not use expressions such as ‘damn’ or ‘oops’. Sixth: you are supposed to say, ‘Is it better now or now.’ Do not say ‘Is it gooder or lousier when I click in the lens.’ Seventh: when the patient misses one letter on the 20/20 line do not utter any hideous noises as an expression of your disappointment. Eighth: when you are helping a patient to select a frame and then she asks you for your opinion, don’t say, ‘no comment.’ Ninth: we do not refer to spectacle wearers as ‘four eyes.’ And finally: when presenting the bill and dismissing the patient, the word ‘sucker’ should be avoided.” Dr. X. served his apprenticeship and moved on to better things. Today he enjoys running one of the largest practices in the Midwest and is a professor of optometry at a well known college in that area. I am not at liberty to reveal any more particulars than that. If by chance you happen to find yourself, or any of your loved ones, in his office you might notice that he has placed two tumblers of clear liquid on his desk. If the one on the left is half emptied. get the heck out of there as soon as you can. I



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An Honor for a Small Business Owner SCORE (www.score.org) and the Worcester Chamber of Commerce honored us (Magay & Barron Eye Center) recently by giving us the Joe Cohen Small Business Award.

SCORE Worcester is proud to honor Magay & Barron as this year’s recipient of the Joe Cohen Worcester Retailer of the Year Award. On hand to congratulate Jim & Eddi Magay were three generations of Joe’s family, from left to right: Eddi Magay, Karen Cohen, Jim Magay, Elly Cohen, Scott Rossiter, Janice Cohen, Jackie Cohen, David Cohen

“Joe Cohen was a legendary counselor at SCORE Worcester, and annually we remember his legacy when we award the Joe Cohen Worcester Retailer of the Year award to a successful Worcester retailer who actively engages the community through support of local initiatives, with emphasis on non-profit efforts. Prior to his long service at SCORE, Joe was the owner of Henry’s Paint & Wallpaper. He was involved in many efforts to strengthen the community through his business, his temple, and the political process,” said SCORE. I remember Joe when I was a young homeowner living in Worcester. He was always so helpful matching paints and wallpapers, while giving his views on politics, the state of society, and tips on raising kids! When SCORE’s Scott Rossiter called and said we were on the short list for the award I almost fell over.

46 E Y E C A R E P R O F E S S I O N A L

In case you didn’t know, SCORE is nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get running, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.

It is great to see these talented (and public spirited) folks at SCORE helping others after they make the transition from one career to another (I won’t call it retirement!)

They have been doing this for nearly fifty years with over 340 chapters holding events and workshops locally across the U.S. and its territories, and matching up entrepreneurs with volunteer mentors.

It is my belief that retirement should be classified as a dirty word. I’ve noticed the healthiest elder members of our community are the ones who remain physically active, mentally stimulated, and continue to interact with the community in meaningful ways.

I had an uncle who was a mentor for SCORE 20 or so years ago and at the time I thought what a great use of his talent – he was a high level executive in a local insurance company’s headquarters. After retirement he put that lifetime of experience to work for others – he said it was more satisfying than playing golf. (I’m not sure I believe that – maybe he was just bad at golf!)

Anyway, thanks SCORE and The Cohen Family – you’ve set a high mark for us all to aim at. I



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