NEW FRAME RELEASES FOR SPRING / PAGE 6 MODERN KIDS’ DISPENSING / PAGE 16 March 2011 • Volume 5, Issue 39 • www.ECPmag.com
Vol. 5 Issue 39
Courtesy of Tura
SPRING FRAME RELEASES Usher in the new season with the latest and greatest in eyewear and sunwear. by ECP Staff
THE KNOWLEDGEABLE PATIENT The internet has created product savvy patients, so ECPs must be more informed than ever before.
by Carrie Wilson, BS, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC
MODERN KIDSâ€™ DISPENSING As children become more sophisticated, dispensing methods must evolve as well. by Anthony Record, RDO
TORIC CONTACT LENSES Every ECP should have the ability to fit toric contact lenses in their dispensing arsenal. by Jason Smith, OD
OPTICAL HIRING With the recession slowly passing, now might be the time to consider adding to your staff. by Lindsey Getz
VITAMINS AND CATARACTS There is conflicting evidence as to the correlation between vitamin intake and a reduction in cataracts. by Elmer Friedman, OD
On The Cover: CLARITI EYEWEAR 1-800-FRAMES-2 www.claritieyewear.com
Departments EDITOR/VIEW .....................................................................................................4 MOBILE OPTICIAN .........................................................................................20 DISPENSING OPTICIAN .................................................................................28 MOVERS AND SHAKERS.................................................................................30 21ST CENTURY OPTICIAN ...............................................................................34 ADVERTISER INDEX .......................................................................................46 INDUSTRY QUICK ACCESS............................................................................47 LAST LOOK .......................................................................................................50
Editor / view
by Jeff Smith
Eyecessorize! We always hear about the need to push second pair sales to increase revenue, but another revenue stream that is often neglected is accessories. It may be difficult to compete with the chains on price, but you can differentiate yourself with the quality and variety of your small ticket items. If you don’t already have an accessories display area, set one up. One of the best areas is the dispensing area, where they can be presented as the patient receives their new glasses, but the cashier area can work well. When presenting accessories, keep your presentation light and fun. Remember to emphasize the added benefits, and sell on value. Most importantly, don’t forget to present them in the first place! Don’t let the excitement of fitting the patient to their new eyewear make you lose sight of helping them identify and fulfill their needs. Below is a list of some common accessories. Lens cleaner: Although you might provide a free sample with purchase, now is the time to remind the patient of the importance of wetting the lenses before wiping them off, and the convenience of having several bottles of the lens cleaner available at home. Many dispensaries will give a small bottle with the new frame, but have larger bottles available for sale. Lens towels, or wipes: While you might give a sample with purchase, now is the time to mention having several in the house, car, and at work. How often is a clean, soft cloth readily available? Usually not when you need it, and most of the towels are fashionably packaged and designed. Sun clips: Now is an ideal time to remind the patient of the benefits of sun protection. With the new glasses in hand, it is easier to see how the clip is going to look and work. Since clips should be fitted to the frame after the prescription lenses have been inserted, it is a natural time to show pre-made clips, or to prepare custom made clips. Lanyards, visor frame clips, repair kits: These inexpensive accessories can make life a lot easier. Be sure to mention lanyards to your patients who are purchasing reading glasses or computer glasses; they’re a great way to keep from losing the glasses. Also, don’t forget the sport enthusiasts, especially those who are active on the water. Premium cases: There are several premium cases available that offer fun looks, added features such as mirrors, room for contacts as well as the glasses, carrying handle, etc. And don’t forget the guys; there are oversized cases, cases that clip to a shirt pocket or the visor of the car, as well as sports cases, featuring golf, football, or any number of other sports. Offering an array of accessories to everyone who walks into your practice is a great way to distinguish yourself from the chains and increase your bottom line.
Publisher/Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Smith Production/Graphics Manager. . . . . . . . . . . Bruce S. Drob Director, Advertising Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . Lynnette Grande Contributing Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Judy Canty, Dee Carew, , Timothy Coronis, Gary Fore, Elmer Friedman, Lindsey Getz, Ginny Johnson, Jim Magay, Warren McDonald, Anthony Record, Jason Smith, Carrie Wilson Technical Editor . . . . . . . . Brian A. Thomas, P.h.D, ABOM Internet Coordinator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terry Adler 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.
ADVERTISING & SALES (215) 355-6444 • (800) 914-4322 lgrande@ECPmag.com
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 5 Number 39 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. Purpose: EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ is a publication dedicated to providing information and resources affecting the financial well-being of the Optical Professional both professionally and personally. It is committed to introducing a wide array of product and service vendors, national and regional, and the myriad cost savings and benefits they offer.
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4 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
New Releases 1. LINDBERG LINDBERG Sun is a collection of sunglasses based on the highly popular and very successful LINDBERG designs for normal eyewear. The sunglasses feature both super-flexible titanium strips and polyacetate, and are available in a wide range of laminated finishes and attractive colors. www.lindberg.com
2. Viva Group The Catherine Deneuve Lunettes collection presents three new innovatively designed optical styles for todayâ€™s elegant woman. CD-293, CD-294 and CD-295 feature a delicate rope chain detail, which adorns the frameâ€™s metal temples. This exquisite accent blends seamlessly into an open end-piece design, accentuated by enamel-filled signature CD logo treatments. www.vivagroup.com
The Heavy Hitter (AN4150) makes a bold style statement while offering versatile wearability. A visual stunner loaded with rich design detail, it features oversized square 6-base polycarbonate lenses, a flexible nylon frame, extra wide arms for maximum sun blockage, and multi-piece temple inserts. This knock-out frame offers dynamic color blocking and polarized lenses on select colorways. www.arnette.com
4. Tura The Lulu Guinness eyewear collection has launched a “Don’t Forget Your Lipstick” mini collection, which features five optical and seven sunwear kissed styles in a mix of hand-made acetate, monel and light-weight stainless steel. Custom design details include casted metal core wire with the lip pattern, casted metal endpiece and hinge in the form of Lulu’s recognizable lipstick. www.tura.com
5. A-Look Optics The Tony Morgan Eco-Sheek Collection features retro design that will appeal to many generations. The unisex frames are lightweight and durable with spring hinges, in a large round eyesize. They consist of hand-crafted acetate frame front with ecofriendly bamboo temples in a smooth texture. Shown is the MOD-A3160 in Color: C6 and Size: 53-17-140. www.alookoptics.com
Swarovski has chosen a whole new world in which to express its creativity, completing its range of accessories with a collection of eyewear that exemplify the company’s brand and style. Light itself is distilled in this collection, reflected, diffracted and diffused by the cut crystals. Crystal has worked its magic on each and every pair, with effects ranging from subtle hints to strong sparkling statements. www.marcolinusa.com
With the extravagant and powerful Studio Collection, Silhouette delivers a retro chic experience par excellence, while remaining true to its paradigms by presenting a collection of rimless eyewear that is state of the art with regard to both its technology and its materials. The black and white effects and color combinations, plus wide SPX temples of the Studio Collection’s four rimless models – “Rhythm Cubes”, “Swinging Circles”, “Floating Waves” and “Beat Curves.” www.silhouette.com
Introducing the Jealous frames by Jee Vice, these hand crafted Italian made shades are sure to get noticed. The rounded shape is complementary to every face shape, and the subtle faded lens adds a stylish twist to the already smart design. Jealous is currently featured in Brown, Gold and Peacock and is made with the ultra-durable TR90 frame material. Jealous also features BNL Melanin photochromic lenses. www.jeevice.com
L’Amy Morel Eyewear
ÖGA Viträ unites wood and color – a “dual material” temple: the most beautiful woods associated with the colored depth of synthetic glass (PMMA). Öga, with its new Viträ concept, once again confirms the company’s eyewear know-how through the creation of a unique product. Genuine technical prowess used to create a pure and contemporary design. Viträ is available in 3 styles in a wide range of sizes (from 53 to 59) and consists of one fully rimmed shape and 2 semi-rimless versions. www.morel-france.com
Revolution Revolution’s new Children’s Collection from Disney – Wizards of Waverly Place – will start with 5 dazzling styles WWP002-WWP006. Lightweight frames composed of zyl and metal equipped with the best European Spring Hinges. Temples are embellished with creative designs depicting the image of the show with additions such as engravings, screenings, metallic epoxy and crystals from the House of Daniel Swarovski. www.revolutioneyewear.com
Nina Ricci’s NR2577 ophthalmic frame features rich, layered acetates in a feminine shape. The three colors in this Nina Ricci model are enhanced by a metal bow that wraps itself around the temple, giving a jewelry like impression inspired by Nina Ricci’s ready to wear and jewelry collections. www.lamyamerica.com
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Trevi Coliseum Eyewear Coliseum 82 frames are constructed of the highest quality materials and feature genuine Swarovski Crystals and Mazzucchelli Zyl. It features spring temples for added comfort and durability backed by a two year warranty. These Italian made frames are available in 2 beautiful colors, Palladium (shown) and Bordeaux. Sold exclusively in North America by National Lens. www.national-lens.com
Clariti Eyewear’s latest from their MonaLisa collection open up new choices of progressive friendly styles to suit any woman. These elegantly designed MonaLisa frames contain Swarovski Crystals that are mounted on a light-weight acetate frame. The sophistication and practicality of these frames can fit the lifestyle and wardrobe of any woman. www.claritieyewear.com
Cocoons 3D circular polarized lenses are compatible for use with theater viewing, passive 3D televisions, laptops and computer monitors. Because the lenses block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, Cocoons 3D also provide maximum protection when worn outdoors as conventional sunglasses. The Cocoons 3D collection will be available in six sizes with Slate Soft Touch frame finish. www.liveeyewear.com
MYKITA MYKITA’s imaginative use of glass and stainless steel and experimentation with their combination led in this case to the TIM and TERRENCE models, from the metal collection. The frames are conspicuously slight and, encompassing oversize lenses, create a sporty but elegant look. The sporty theme is further enhanced with the vivid new Neon Orange finish for both models, which will also be available in the colors Black, Concrete and Shiny Silver. www.mykita.com
Valentino’s new Flash Collection SS11 mixes danger and romance in frames for a woman with an unconventional soul. The retro flavor and avant-garde spirit create a starquality look. These butterfly-shaped injected sunglasses – lit up by a Swarovski pavé frame – project vintage elegance. Available in all-black with dark grey lenses or with rhinestone details and graduated brown lenses. www.safilo.com
Rudy Project’s Maya Expands Rx Options
Rudy Project introduces the all-new Maya – the latest in multi-use prescriptive eyewear. Designed for sport but ideal for any occasion, the Maya serves up a fashionable, functional and flexible eyewear option for individuals with vision correction needs. Originally conceived for cyclists in need of prescriptive sport glasses, the Maya offers a seamlessly versatile design combination. On the one hand, the Maya serves as a sight correction sports model, with a single-lens system adaptable to varying light conditions. On the other hand, it is an all-purpose prescription solution for everyday activities. The secret to this versatility lies in the simple, yet deftly designed single-lens flip-up sun insert, easily maneuvered with patented Rudy Project technology. To further enhance the Maya's performance, the gap between the frame and lens is covered by a brow piece that prevents light from filtering through. The flip-up sun filter is available with a wide variety of lenses, catering to different use occasions. The Red Multilaser, characterized by a triple mirrored layer on the surface, guarantees a stunning range of colors, extreme scratchresistance and premium sun protection. The ImpactX™ Photochromic Clear™, the result of cutting-edge photochromatic technology, provides unprecedented management of light, darkening within a few seconds of increased light conditions. Practical and stylish, the Maya also scores comfort points with its superlight o frame, 360 adjustable temple tips and the Ergo IV™ ergonomic nosepiece. The Maya is available in frame colors Crystal/ Anthracite, Frozen Ash/White, Frozen Crystal/Red, Graphite/Anthracite, Crystal Brown/Brown, Crystal Pink/White and Crystal Blue/White and can be paired with an assortment of Rudy Project’s RP Optics™ and ImpactX™ lenses. For more information go to www.e-rudy.com
Through the Lens Carrie Wilson, BS, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC
Helping the Informed Patient: The New Future of Eye Care What are the differences in the lens materials? In the past, there was only one option in spectacle lens materials: glass. Today, there is a whole new world of possibilities available. Plastic Also called CR-39, plastic lenses are the basic lens material used today. It has a high clarity level and works well for lower prescription powers. It does not have an inherent scratch resistance or ultraviolet protection, so these coatings need to be added to the lens to make them work well for the patient. It is heavier and less impact resistant than some lenses, so it is not the first lens of choice for higher prescriptions, children’s or sports glasses, or drill mount frame styles.
There is a new movement in the eye care profession today: the knowledgeable (or “I think I am knowledgeable”) patient. They come into optical dispensaries with printouts from websites, photographs and articles. The internet has made tremendous amounts of information easily accessible to the general public, but it is not always interpreted accurately. Many patients now research the products they are interested in by utilizing professional sites, social networking sites and chat rooms to ask their friends, family and co-workers about current products and services. Informed consumers then come to the eye care professional, who must be prepared to answer their questions in an easy to understand, knowledgeable manner. It may also be necessary to dispel any misinformation that the patient may have. The following are some common questions that the patient may have after their internet browsing.
12 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
Polycarbonate Polycarbonate is the extremely safe, highest impact resistant lens material available and has UV protection built into the material itself. It is ideal for eyewear that must have safety requirements such as safety glasses, sport glasses and children’s glasses. It is thinner (center thickness can go as low as 1.0mm due to its strength) than glass and plastic materials and also lighter in weight. An extremely soft material, it is hard coated by the manufacturer to provide excellent scratch resistance. It is not the best material for drill mounted frames, however. Due to the softness of the material, the screws or posts in the drill mount designs eventually wear the drill holes down, causing the frame to loosen at the lens attachments. It also has a low Abbe value. However, if the lens is fit properly for most patients it is not a concern. Trivex The newest impact lens material to enter the market is Trivex. Developed for the military in 2001 by PPG, Trivex is the only
lens material other than polycarbonate to pass the High Velocity Impact Test, the FDA Impact Resistance Test at 1 mm center thickness and meet ANSI Z87.1 standards. Also like polycarbonate, it is inherently ultraviolet protective. It is here that the similarity to polycarbonate ends. This material is thicker than polycarbonate, but it is slightly lighter in weight than polycarbonate. It is also has a higher Abbe value than polycarbonate so it has less dispersion. One of Trivexâ€™s most important attributes however, is its tensile strength. Because of its high resistance to cracking from drilling and stress, it is ideal for drill mounting when you cannot use polycarbonate. Hi-Index Hi-index is the high demand material in the optical field. In order to truly understand the benefits of the material, it is important to define index. In simple terms, index is a measurement of how much light is slowed down by the lens material. The higher the number, the more the light is slowed down and therefore bent by the lens. What this means to the eye care professional is, the higher the index, the less material that is needed to bend the light to fill the doctorâ€™s prescription. For example, a -7.00D lens ground on a 1.70 index material will be approximately 50 percent thinner than a -7.00D lens ground on a 1.50 index material if all parameters are equal. When discussing lenses, hi-index lenses are those with an index of 1.58 or higher. However, remember that polycarbonate can have a
thinner center thickness which leads directly to thinner edge thickness. A high index lens is not necessarily the thinnest lens when all matters are considered. What is an aspheric lens? Many think an aspheric lens is a type of lens material. Actually it is a lens design. A spherical lens has one large curve on the front of the lens and then one or two curves ground onto the back surface of the lens. Aspheric lenses on the other hand, have multiple curves on the front surface of the lens. These front curves are designed to have a gradual power change from the center of the lens to the periphery. The benefits of this lens type are that it gives a wider field of view when one looks off to the side of the lens and the lens is flatter. The result is a lens that fits closer to the eye, is flatter and thinner, fits better in most frames and reduces the magnification and minification of the eye as well as the image formed on the retina. What is AR coating and why do I need it? AR, or anti-reflective coating, is a multilayer coating that is applied to the surface of a lens to help ease eye fatigue and eliminate most reflections. Now, the old AR coatings used to scratch easily or get smudged or dirty frequently. This is not the case with the newer, premium coatings. These newer coats have an anti-static coating which repels dust from the lens surface, as Continued on page 14
well as an anti-smudge coating that causes fingerprints and water to virtually disappear from the surface. It is beneficial to anyone who wants the clearest vision possible, but situations in which AR is especially beneficial are driving, working, and times when minimizing the appearance of the lens is especially important. Improved Night Driving AR improves the flow of light through a lens, thereby increasing visual acuity. How this especially helps with night driving is through the: • Elimination of ghost images • Reduction of the “rearview mirror effect.” This occurs when the light from behind the driver reflects off the patients lens back into the eye of the driver. • Improved reaction time of the eye when adjusting back to normal after glare from an oncoming vehicle • Improved peripheral vision Enhanced Contrast
those who just want to look their best. AR coating helps with all these issues. Are prescription sunglasses really worth it? There are two main options when it comes to sunglasses. There are tinted lenses and polarized lenses. Tints, although an effective option in sports eyewear, are not as efficient as polarized lenses. Tinting only makes the lens darker, thereby blocking the amount of usable light entering the eye while allowing glare to pass through. Polarization on the other hand, acts as a filter. Polarization is a film that is applied in the lens and acts like a Venetian blind, blocking reflected horizontal light that causes harmful glare. Polarized lenses: • Enhance contrast • Eliminate dangerous glare • Reduce eyestrain • Increase depth perception, particularly around water • Enhance visual clarity • Reduce visual fatigue especially when driving
When light doesn’t enter the lens and through the eye clearly, the quality of the image that reaches the eye is not as sharp as one would like. The lack of contrast causes blurring, double vision and eye fatigue. Because of this, AR coating is especially important when one is:
By wearing a properly fit pair of prescription sunglasses, incidences of sporting accidents and car wrecks can be reduced greatly.
• Wearing advanced technology lenses such as hi-index or aspheric lens designs
There are over 200 different progressives on the market and that can create some confusion for both the patient and the ECP. One way to help is to create a Good, Better, Best chart for the patients so that an informed decision can be made. Best should be presented first with the patient’s lifestyle, prescription, frame style and material needs taken into account.
• Working under artificial lighting • Driving for long periods of time • Working with computers Cosmetic Lenses have a windowpane reflective effect when not coated with AR. Although it does not disturb the vision of the wearer, it does cause others to not be able to see the wearer’s eyes. This can be a hindrance to individuals who work in sales, present themselves to the public, or are in an occupation in which they have to do a lot of public speaking. It can also be a problem for
Aren’t all progressives the same?
Conclusion Dealing with an informed patient can be challenging as well as rewarding. It is the eye care professional’s opportunity to expand his or her knowledge as well as help patients find the best fit for their needs. The educated ECP is the most important resource any patient can have no matter how much time they spend on the internet. ■ With contributions from Brian A. Thomas, P.h.D, ABOM
Progressivelenses.com 14 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
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Managing Optician Anthony Record, ABO/NCLE, RDO
The Kids Are All Right The kids may be all right, but opticians and other eye care professionals would be well advised to consider treating them and their parents a little differently than we have in the past. N THE 21ST CENTURY, old ways just won’t cut it. And while many practices that truly specialize in pediatric opticianry do well in this regard, too many of us simply interact with our younger patients and their parents the same way we interact with the rest of our patients. This approach is at best ineffective, and in some regards may even approach malpractice. After all, the primary reason we are a licensed and monitored profession is to protect the safety, health and welfare of our clients. Therefore, we have to do everything reasonable to see that our clients – especially our youngest and most vulnerable ones – receive the best care and products available today.
To that end, I would say that “cutesy” is out. I physically kringe (probably with the same revulsion you felt when you read that misspelled word) when I see a dispensary that features a “Kid’s Korner.” First, I would question the use of the apostrophe. Second, that kind of patronizing approach is simply ineffective on all levels. Think about it. The kids who are young enough to not be offended by it, don’t get it, and those who get it, are probably old enough to be offended. We don’t have a section named “Women’s World,” or “Man Cave Department,” so why not simply have a separate section, with children’s and teens frames tastefully and respectfully displayed?
ECPs would also be wise not to alter the tone of their voice too much when speaking with children either. They don’t like to be talked down to, and these days they are usually sophisticated enough to realize when that is happening. That’s not to say we shouldn’t stress different things when we are speaking to children and the guardian who makes the ultimate decision to buy. The kid wants to know that the frame they will be wearing looks good and will generally be perceived by his or her friends as “cool,” and/or “popular.” In fact, I encourage you to use those words when speaking to them. The more you can communicate those features to the wearer, the more they will be perceived as benefits, and the more they will pester the parent to make the purchase. And speaking of parents, while on some level it is comforting for them to know their kid will be seen as cool and popular, they are generally motivated to purchase by different things: safety and value. Polycarbonate or Trivex lenses are a must for all kids, except in very rare cases. The increased impact resistance is undeniable, and as ECPs we should do everything in our power to persuade the parent to purchase them. I feel so strongly about this, that if a parent balks at spending the “extra” money for impact-resistant lenses, I simply provide them at the CR-39 Continued on page 18
16 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
fee and absorb the additional cost of goods. I sleep better at night knowing I provided the best for my young patient, while enjoying slightly less profit on one transaction. Be careful demonstrating things like the impact-resistance of the lenses or how a flexible titanium frame can be tied in knots. The parent needs to see this, but not the kid. Twisting a titanium frame in front of a kid is a sure-fire way to ensure that he will make the demonstration at school for each of his classmates! In addition to polycarbonate and Trivex, consider UV protection and sunglasses for your juvenile patients as well. Talk to the parent about what they do to protect the child from sunburn. Then ask what they do to protect their eyes from the same damaging ultraviolet rays. Amazingly, this is something few parents consciously consider, so it’s our job to educate them. Explain that the youngster’s eye is not fully formed, and that any damage done now is cumulative throughout their life. Talk about macular degeneration and premature formation of cataracts. That kind of conversation is usually enough to motivate half of the parents to act, and purchase some form of protection. If they cannot afford a separate, second pair, that’s one of the few times I try to “sell” Transitions. While many schools do not allow sunglasses on campus, most do allow Transitions, and the protection those lenses offer is better than nothing. There are two kinds of “child encounters” I find most troubling. The first one I find particularly disturbing is a parent who is unwilling to buy a new pair of glasses or pay for a repair because the kid has broken the glasses for the “hundredth time.” While admittedly rare, at least once a year I will encounter a parent who comes in for a repair or replacement for his or her kid’s glasses, and when informed they are out of warranty, refuse to plunk down the money for the repair or replacement. I’ll hear something like, “She can just go without them for a few weeks. Maybe then she’ll appreciate them and take better care of them.” Sometimes the parent puts the “blame” on the insurance company with something like, “He’s not eligible for a new frame and lenses for three months. He’ll have to wait ‘til then.” If the kid has a correction under a plus or minus one diopter, I might let it go. But inevitably, the kid is in the 4-6 diopter range. What I try to do then is to educate the parent or guardian to try and give them an idea of how this youngster sees without the
18 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
glasses. While it’s a bit rudimentary, I will just place trial spectacle lenses in front of the parent’s eyes, to give them an understanding of how her kid perceives the world without glasses. For example, if the kid is a -6.00 diopter myope, I’ll hold up some +6.00 diopter lenses in front of the parent’s eyes and say something like, “...by the way, this is how little Johnny sees when he doesn’t wear his glasses.” I’ve brought tears to more than one parent’s face with that little exercise. Finally, they have an appreciation for the child’s visual problem they never had before. Somehow they find the funds. The second Close Encounter with Kids I have less patience for as I grow into a GECP (Geriatric Eye Care Professional) is the parents who are seemingly oblivious to the obnoxious, loud, disruptive behavior of their little angel(s) who doesn’t necessarily need glasses, they’ve just been brought along for the ride – probably because every babysitter in the county refuses to watch the kid at any price. Through over 30 years of experimentation, I have found you are better off speaking directly to the demon child, for the parents are usually blissfully content to ignore the situation. After all, it’s not their office that’s getting attacked, nor their patients who are getting visibly annoyed. So I might approach a child and say, “Excuse me, would you mind [insert whatever command is appropriate here, usually prefaced by the word “not”]. For example, I might say, “Excuse me, would you mind NOT throwing those frames at your sister? They are very expensive, and I wouldn’t want you to hurt her.” Believe it or not, that kind of direct approach is successful, at least for 10-12 seconds. Repeat as necessary. I have also found that because kids today are so electronically and computer oriented from practically birth, the best things to keep a very young child occupied in your dispensary are lowtech toys. Mr. Potato Head works wonders, as does an Etch-aSketch, and a Jack-in-the-Box. Once in complete frustration, I finally said to an ignoring parent who was allowing her child to run wild, “It’s too bad your kid is such an emmetrope.” For those of you who don’t remember, that’s a word that just means the kid doesn’t need glasses (as opposed to a myope or hyperope). She said, “I’m so sorry, he just hasn’t had his nap today.” I then played dumb, explained what the word meant, and continued on with our conversation. Interestingly, she held the tot in her arms the rest of the time she was there. Mission accomplished. ■
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The Mobile Optician Ginny Johnson, LDO, ABOC
How Much is That? How much is that frame in the window? The one with the tag that says SALE How much is that frame with my insurance? I do hope that frame is for a male
HE FRAME IS ON SALE and it looks great on you, Major Payne. Now we won’t be able to sell it to you for the sale price if you are using your vision insurance benefits. I’m not sure what the exact cost will be for you until we dissect your plan. I will just need to get the insurance information from you that we asked you to have with you for today’s appointment. You forgot it? That’s okay, we have a computer and a land line for forgetful patients like you to use. We also have notes from a recent insurance webinar that the staff was required to attend during our lunch hour. Maybe you will be able to make some sense out of those.
No sir, I don’t know your benefits off the top of my head. Do you see them sitting up there? The last time I checked the benefits were determined between you and your insurance company. Try calling your HR department or your insurance company’s toll free cuss-tomer care hotline and have them explain your benefits to you. Have a seat right here in the insurance time out chair. Make yourself comfortable. I need to get back to my well prepared insurance patient who is waiting and happens to love the same frame in the window. Insurance insanity? Is it becoming reality? Working with patients that have vision insurance requires ECPs to practice extra patience. Just when you thought it was safe to say that you understand a certain plan; the plan changes. 20 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
We applaud those patients that have done their homework and show up prepared with every piece of valuable information. It’s difficult at times to get a straight answer or the same answer twice from insurance companies regarding benefits. I spoke to an ECP colleague today that spent 55 minutes on the phone with three different entities attempting to get an authorization number for a patient. None of their other state and federal funded insurance patients have been authorized for such vision care. The patient said that “someone” from her insurance company told her that there would be no problem getting the services authorized. What may seem like no problem to “someone” sure doesn’t seem that way to everyone. At the beginning of each year certain plans will require patients to meet a deductible. The patient honor system is often used by practices and any discrepancy is cleared up after the EOB is received. How much do they really owe? Do you collect what you believe to be the patient’s full balance upfront? Does your patient’s total out of pocket charge match that of the insurance company’s? Do you charge sales tax on the overage amount, retail amount or not at all? Some practices use countertop signs at check-in regarding insurance and the patient’s financial
responsibility. These small signs may go unnoticed especially if they are hidden behind any POP. Do you really want to get your patient’s attention? Think big and paint one of the reception area walls with black chalkboard paint so you can write and erase all sorts of appropriate messages to patients. Facebook is not the only place that has a wall for posting messages for our patients to read. How about those patients that change their mind? You already took the time to get an authorization number and help them with their best vision solution. That really bites. What can you do? Take a deep breath and excuse yourself to stop your tongue from bleeding. It makes no sense for them to check around town and price shop. What could possibly have gone wrong? Hopefully you didn’t use the ala carte insurance haggling over prices concept. I find that patients are much more receptive to one total amount due versus spoon feeding them little bites at the time like $10+$25+$150+$75+$65+$32+$18. Do your best to keep the financial transaction from turning into a mind boggling math game. Keeping your focus on the best vision solution for the patient helps them align their benefits with their wallet.
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What do you do about the patients that disagree with you regarding their vision plan and are rather rude about it? You know you are correct and they keep on running their mouth. If you live by the motto that the patient is always right then work on killing them with kindness while asking them for proof. It sure would be nice to be able to do an insurance polygraph test on those types of patients.
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To err is human and vision insurance can be a great reminder of that. As ECP humans we are bound to make mistakes on our end. No need to rub your co-worker’s nose in it just work together to figure out how to correct it. If you find out something new about a specific plan then share it with the rest of the staff ASAP. Take it a step further and get a group of local ECPs together for a meet and greet to share vision insurance knowledge, hints and tips. You may not be an insurance guru but you probably will know something that no one else does. Maybe your group will end up creating one insurance manual that references many different vision plans. Hopefully one day in the future when a vision insurance patient asks you “How much is that?” the answer will be simple. You swipe their card or enter their social security number on your vision insurance genius machine and their benefits instantly print out. There’s a cost to pay if your practice accepts vision insurance. How much is that (?) is the real question ECPs would love to have the correct answer to... ■
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This most recent survey indicates that “employees are still less likely to enroll in vision than in medical and dental benefits—and those with a voluntary vision plan are even less likely to enroll than those whose employers made contributions to their plan,” said Pat Huot, Transitions director, managed vision care. “Especially in light of health care reform changes and frequent cuts to employees’ general health benefits, this is a serious lost opportunity to help address employees’ eye and overall health through their eyecare professional.”
OD Perspective Jason Smith, OD, MS
The Art and Science of Fitting TORIC SOFT CONTACT LENSES ITTING TORIC SOFT CONTACT LENSES should be something that every eye care professional embraces for the benefit of their patients. If you are fitting the “spherical equivalent” or spherical contact lenses when a patient needs a toric lens due to a higher astigmatic correction, then the patient is not receiving 100% of your experience or knowledge. Sometimes, fitting the spherical equivalent in higher astigmatic patients will result in less than 20/20 visual acuities and a less than optimum fit on the cornea.
Occasionally, a patient is limited as to their options simply due to cost or insurance issues. It is our job to educate our patients and have them “see” the benefits if the overall astigmatism warrants a toric soft contact lens. Sometimes the spherical equivalent or a spherical contact lens may work very well – even be the optimum fit. But, there may also be times when that is just the easy way out and the patient should have received a soft toric lens for optimal visual acuity. It is our job to be certain that every contact lens placed on an eye fits properly beyond the limbus, moves adequately on the cornea, provides enough oxygen to prevent corneal complications, and provides superb vision at all viewing distances. In times where managed care companies, insurance companies, and patients are trying to control and regulate costs, it is our job to advise our patients what their best options are for their circumstances. Sometimes this option may require out-of-pocket expenses for patients. This is especially true because toric soft contact lenses are often not covered through insurance.
24 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
Toric Lens Options There are many contact lens modalities available that can benefit our patients today. There are many options available and in large ranges of sphere and cylinder powers, various base curves, various diameters, and various Dk values. Many soft contact lenses have UV-absorbing properties, but are not necessarily a substitute for UV-absorbing eyewear such as sunglasses. Almost anyone who wants contact lenses should be able to be fit properly. I have found too often that new patients coming to my office have been told that they are not candidates for contact lenses due to their astigmatism. This myth must be removed from public perception. Tyler’s Quarterly provides eye care professionals with a database containing the knowledge and information that can help you fit virtually any patient. If you do not receive this quarterly journal, you can access their website at www.tylersq.com. This journal is updated every 3 months and is a must for any office. Every contact lens company lists their current products including their specific toric lens inventory in the quarterly. Most contact lens companies provide trial lenses to the ECP in order to try toric lenses on this population that so often seeks viable answers from us. With the diversity and abundance of contact lenses on the market, contact lens wear options are quite numerous. Whether your patient has 0.75D of astigmatism or 5.75D of astigmatism there is at least one option available if not more. Furthermore, with the quality of lenses on
the market today, there is no reason why we should not aim for 20/15 vision, as we often do with our spherical patients – assuming they are capable of such superb vision. Even presbyopic patients may find happiness with distance-only toric contact lenses.
“It is our job to educate our patients and have them ‘see’ the benefits if the overall astigmatism warrants a toric soft contact lens.” Wearing a pair of glasses for reading over the distance contact lenses can be another option for patients who do not want bifocal toric soft contact lenses or if the cost is a significant deterrent. Bifocal toric soft contact lenses are available from Bausch + Lomb, CIBA Vision, Vistakon, CooperVision, PolyVue, Unilens, Blanchard Contact Lens Co., Gelflex, Metro Optics, Special Eyes, Unilens, and X-Cel Contacts. CIBA Vision and CooperVision are now offering daily toric lenses as a new contact lens modality. Of course, several companies are now providing silicone hydrogel lenses with high oxygen permeability and high Dk values. Monovision can be provided as another option for the presbyopic population with the understanding that binocular vision and depth perception will be affected. These monovision patients should always be provided with the option of having a third contact lens for distance or near. Providing a pair of distance, reading, or preferably, bifocal spectacles should always be offered as a back-up to the contact lenses or for use if an emergency occurs. Toric Fitting Pearls Every eye care professional that fits any type of contact lens has a standard examination that provides diagnostic information. This data includes the refractive status of the eyes, and both current health information as well as health history. Sometimes these standard examinations may vary depending upon the problems that are encountered and the specific visual needs of a patient. It should be stressed that any contact lens examination, fitting process, follow-up care, lessons, and educational processes should not be time-dependent. Patients expect the best that we can offer and we should spend the maximum time necessary with each and every patient. It will pay off in the long run. Trial frame refractions will provide the most accurate Continued on page 26
representation of a patient’s refractive error and in the most realistic setting. This is especially true when the astigmatism axis should be as accurate as possible or when there is a significant change to their prescription. Biomicroscopy must be detailed and exact in order to properly evaluate the quantity and quality of the tear film, cornea health, eyelids, eyelashes, and conjunctiva for a proper contact lens fit. Any abnormalities may affect a positive visual and fitting outcome. Pupil size should be evaluated in bright, dim, and normal lighting. Pupil size can affect a good visual outcome especially when fitting bifocal contact lenses. Keratometry readings will provide more information in addition to the refraction, auto-refractor, and retinoscopy tests. If your office is equipped with a corneal topographer the data derived from this instrument will be even more detailed. Some topographer’s come with software that will simulate the fit of a lens on the patent’s eye without ever placing a lens on their cornea – at least for the initial lens selection. This software can greatly speed up the fitting process by possibly eliminating false starts. All fittings must be thorough with the correct base curve, diameter, thickness, and prescription findings used to order trial lenses.
Patient Education and Minimizing Liability A thorough educational process with lessons involving insertion, removal, use of contact lens solutions, time-use of the lenses, wearing schedule, do’s and don’ts, as well as a question and answer session should be included as a part of the fitting process. Patients must sign a disclosure form or informed consent form being made fully aware of the risks of contact lens wear. Parents or guardians of children must be involved with these instructional sessions. Many companies have CD-ROMs available for patient education presentations that simplify this procedure. The Internet is filled with great educational information. If you view the popular site “You Tube” and search for “Contact Lens Instructions”, 159 videos appear for your educational information. But, be sure to review these videos in advance to verify accuracy. Written instructions should be provided once the patient receives their trial lenses. These instructions should include the wearing schedule as well as a telephone number to contact in case of any emergency. The patient’s chart should indicate their receipt of these written instructions. A follow-up, final check-up should be scheduled before the patient receives their trial lenses. By federal law, the contact lens prescription must be provided to the patient when the fitting is completed. ■
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Vision Expo East Booth 1436
Dispensing Optician Judy Canty, ABO/NCLE
SPRING Training No, not THAT spring training. We’ll talk about that later. In the mean time, check your calendars and what’s hanging from magnets on the ‘fridge. Showers for babies and weddings, graduations, wedding invitations, vacations, spring break...need I continue? This flurry of creative paperwork should trigger a couple of ideas for your practice. Spring break, for the college set usually happens in March and involves warm, sunny locations and some other stuff we don’t need to talk about here. However, it should trigger a discussion about contact lenses, back-up eyeglasses and extremely cool sunglasses. Depending on your demographics, extremely cool and expensive don’t have to go hand in hand. Chances are good that the contact lenses and sunglasses will float out to sea before the end of the week, so perhaps the backup eyeglasses should have a pair of variable tint lenses, now available in a variety of colors beyond grey and brown. Spring break for the family usually centers on the Easter holidays and can involve the last trip to the slopes or the first trip to the shore. Either location involves sunlight and plenty of it. Remind your patients that visual health doesn’t have a “season” and that protective eyewear, be it sunglasses, ski goggles or swim specs, are a must for every family member. Don’t let them make the mistake I made 20 years ago and force the kids to wear “flipups” from the drug store, cut to fit with cuticle scissors and shaped with a nail file! Many of those photos from Orlando have been, well ...lost in a great fire! Graduations abound in May and June and so do the opportunities to advertise gift certificates or gift cards. We usually think about those things around the winter holidays, but gift certificates are perfect suggestions for friends or relatives who haven’t seen the graduate since the kid was 10 and haven’t a clue about size, interests or future plans. More importantly, it drives potential new patients into your establishment and that’s always a good thing. Oh, and please put that gift certificate or card in something more imaginative than a business envelope. Most
party stores have wonderful ideas on how to present them with appropriate packaging. Make it memorable! Showers are the time for fun and imagination. The bride-tobe should be the most radiant woman in the room. This is her moment and the gift of new contacts or glasses to compliment her gown is a very thoughtful gift. In fact, it’s the one part of her entire outfit that is most overlooked, that is until the very last minute when the bride discovers that tortoise shell really doesn’t go with everything or that her eyes will be so much more beautiful in the photographs with the addition of tinted contact lenses. Baby showers are another golden opportunity for thoughtful gift-giving. What Mom wouldn’t appreciate a pair of cool shades to cover the visible effects of sleepless nights? Even the new baby would appreciate some infant-sized sunglasses and there are many possibilities out there to choose from, just make sure that the lenses are good quality and that the design is comfortable and properly fitted. And don’t forget Dad either. Today’s new Dads are more involved with their new additions than ever before and he isn’t getting any more sleep than Mom. Dad could use a new pair of sunglasses as well! The Wedding. Big budget or small. One attendant or 5. The decision on what to give the members of the wedding party is a difficult one. Jewelry of some sort is the traditional choice. But really, how many pair of engraved cufflinks or charms can you wear? How about suggesting matching sunglasses? One look for the guys and one for the gals. You know that at least some of the pictures will be outside, so rather than squinty eyes and forced smiles, how about uber-cool sunwear and out-loud laughs! Continued on page 32
28 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |MARCH 2011
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Transitions Optical Transitions Optical Inc has announced that Brian Hauser has been promoted to the position of General Manager, U.S. and Canada, effective immediately. In this role, Hauser will be responsible for the North American region Brian Hauser including strategic planning, business growth and organization leadership, reporting to COO, Dave Cole. Hauser will continue to serve as Director Lens Manufacturer and Trade Channel Sales until his successor is named.
DAC International DAC International has appointed Peter Brierley as president. Brierley will take over from Rod Keller, who has served as interim president following the retirement of Jim Drain in 2010. Keller will resume his role as vice presPeter Brierley ident of engineering and operations. Over the past 40 years, Brierley has held leadership positions in lens manufacturing at companies such as Bausch + Lomb, Dow Corning, Allergan Optical and CooperVision.
Shamir Insight Shamir Insight announced that Matt Lytle, vice president of marketing, has been promoted to vice president sales and marketing. He takes over as head of Shamir’s sales force from Lance Bergeron, who is retiring from the company Matt Lytle after a 40-year optical industry career. Lytle joined Shamir in 2006 as the vice president of marketing. Bergeron joined Shamir in 2007 as the vice president of sales and was recently promoted to senior vice president in October 2010.
Rodenstock The Rodenstock Group announced that it is restructuring its organization in order to increase its effectiveness and competitiveness. CEO Oliver Kastalio will take over direct responsibility for all sales and marketing organOliver Kastalio izations to ensure that they are focused on being close to their markets and customers. The position of chief sales officer, held by Marc-Oliver Schneider, is being eliminated, and Schneider is leaving the Rodenstock Group by mutual consent. The human resources department will also be placed under the control of the CEO.
REM Eyewear REM Eyewear has named Johnny Craig its Director of Global Services. Craig will manage the relationships and operations 30 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |MARCH 2011
planning for global business partners for all channels of distribution. Craig will partner with country managers and key account representatives to develop and grow sales with current accounts and identify new potential marJohnny Craig kets. Additionally, he will be the chief liaison for sales and distribution through REM affiliates.
Costa Costa sunglasses recently promoted Brad Abbott, former national sales manager for the western United States, to his new position as vice president of the company’s expanding Rx sun lens division. As a vice president, Abbott Brad Abbott will be responsible for overseeing Costa’s Rx sun lens division. Prior to joining Costa, Abbott worked in sales for various companies including Hydrogel Vision and Bausch + Lomb.
Coburn Technologies Coburn Technologies, formerly Gerber Coburn, is introducing a new management team. Curt Brey is now the vice president of marketing and business development, Michael Dolen is vice president of human resources, Tom Smith is vice president of finance, Steve Bedford is executive director of engineering, Nick Coppola is executive director of service, Dan Hobbs is executive director of operations, and Ram Narayanan is executive director of sales, Asia, Middle East, and Africa.
ABB CONCISE Robert B. Mandell, OD, PhD, retired in January after a 37-year career as a consultant to ABB CONCISE. Mandell retired from his 32-year career as a member of the University of California, Berkeley faculty in 1998, but Robert B. Mandell continued to work on research and development by providing consultative services to ABB CONCISE. At one time or another, he taught over half of the courses in the Berkeley Optometry program curriculum.
Co/Op Optical Benjamin L. Edwards, Jr., was recently named president and chief executive officer of the Co/Op Optical chain. Edwards has spent more than 25 years at Co/op Optical, starting as an apprentice optician in the laboratory and proceeding to fill multiple management roles including director and executive vice president. He was named interim president, CEO and chief operating officer last July, following the resignation of long-time president Jackee Smith.
Briot USA Briot USA has announced the appointment of Andrew Bumerts and Robert Wallner as Regional Sales Managers and Dan Lombardo as Regional Manager of Service Technicians. Bumerts is an optical industry veteran with over 30 years of experience. Wallner will be responsible for driving sales efforts in the eastern region of the U.S. He joined Briot in 2008 as the Northeast Territory Sales Rep. As Regional Manager of Service Technicians, Lombardo will lead the U.S. service group consisting of all field technicians as well as the call center in the Cumming office.
Will be Missed... Wendy Schneider of OptiSource
executive, was highly regarded within the industry. She joined Nouveau Eyewear as marketing director in 1994, staying with the company for 8 years and eventually becoming vice president of marketing and working with key retail accounts. She joined REM Eyewear in 2002, as vice president of corporate accounts. REM Eyewear is setting up a special section of its website with updated information at www.remeyewear.com/kara. The company is also preparing to celebrate Meyer with a gathering of friends on Thursday, March 17 in New York City, on the eve of Vision Expo East, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Services were held in Port Jefferson Station, NY last month for Wendy Schneider of New York-based OptiSource International, who passed Wendy Schneider away on Jan. 28 at age of 37. She had been battling leukemia since June, 2009. Schneider, who lived in Mt. Sinai, N.Y., was an integral part of OptiSource for the past 16 years, according to OptiSource vice president Daryl Squicciarini. “Her role as a senior sales representative was defined by the incredible relationships she developed with her beloved customers. The only thing grander than Wendy’s boisterous laugh and radiant smile was the level of service, caring and giving to her customers, friends and co-workers. Her laugh will forever echo throughout OptiSource and her spirit will continue to touch our hearts with everlasting love and kindness.” Donations may be made to the LeukemiaLymphoma Society: www.leukemia-lymphoma.org.
Will be Missed... REM Eyewear’s Kara Meyer Services were held last month in Coppell, Texas for Kara Casey Meyer, 45, REM Eyewear’s vice president of corporate accounts, who died unexpectedly on Feb. 16. Meyer, a long-time eyewear Kara Meyer
Visit us at Vision Expo East Booth MS 1367
Take this opportunity to help the happy couple create a wedding album to remember! None of these events will require extensive or expensive displays, just small reminders throughout your dispensary. Train and remind your staff to ask questions about upcoming events. • How many weeks until graduation? • When and where are you going on vacation? • Is that an engagement ring? You can do some cross-marketing with bridal shops, hair salons, travel agencies and wedding planners. Draw on your own experiences and your staffs as well. Should-a, would-a, could-a is a great jumping off place for brainstorming with your staff. Now, spring training. Not just baseball, but soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, golf, all the sports that require specific eyewear considerations. This is your moment to differentiate your practice from the big box retailers. You and your staff have a unique opportunity to become the local experts in sport-specific eyewear and eye safety. Most vendors of sports eyewear have great information about their products and the benefits of using them, either online or in print. Dust off those textbooks and re-educate yourself on the effects of colors and the benefits of certain lens and frame materials.
Do your research. Talk to the local golf pro, tennis, baseball and soccer coaches about how you can help their athletes, young and old, improve their games and protect their vision. Dedicate a portion of your dispensary to sports-specific eyewear and designate a staff member as the in-house expert. Advise your patients to make an appointment with this expert to discuss their sports related visual needs. Appointments are an excellent way to emphasize the importance of that expert advice. Speak to the parents’ groups associated with the leagues in your area or at your local schools. Advise the local media that you and your in-house expert are available for interviews or have prewritten articles that can be easily inserted into the local papers. I learned years ago that when the forsythia starts to bloom, it’s time to start fertilizing the grass and preparing the flower beds and gardens. It’s also the sign that we survived winter and that warm weather and outdoor activities are just around the corner. Runners take to sidewalks and bikers hit the road. Kids start daydreaming and internet posters get a little snarky. It should be your signal to ramp up your practice and dispensary to answer the siren call of the soccer fields, baseball yards, golf courses and beaches. Ladies and gentlemen, eyecare professionals of every kind, please start your engines! ■
The 21st Century Optician Warren G. McDonald, PhD Professor of Health Administration Reeves School of Business / Methodist University
Directional Strategies: Making Decisions for Future Success
No matter how large or small, an organization must have an appropriate vision for the future. They need a solid understanding of their mission (mission statement), they must set realistic goals and objectives (their guiding principles), and most importantly, they must review and constantly assess each of those to maintain positive growth. As we described previously, there are many environmental influences that can affect us. We need to meet these challenges head on, and if we do not know where we are going, or who we currently are, we are like a ship floundering on the ocean without a rudder. We also must be internally sound to meet the wants and needs of our patients/customers. That requires some re-visioning from time to time as well, and to maintain our competitive position, we must have all our internal pieces in place. While addressed earlier, let us use this section as a review of these important terms that provide direction for our organizations: Directional Strategies: Mission How many small optical organizations have ever thought about a mission statement? What is it? A definition can be summarized by the following: • The mission of an organization indicates what the organization really is. Who and what it does. It is its “distinctiveness.” • It is broadly defined and states the purpose of the organization. 34 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
The mission lets us and the environment in which we operate know who we are and what we do. Now, that sounds simplistic, but it is important. Do your employees really know what you do? Of course, but often in the day-to-day operations we sometimes forget, and to have a well-placed statement of the mission on the wall for all to see reminds us. Go to any hospital, and you will see it in many places, as it lets the patients they serve know how the organization views their role. These statements target the population they serve, and indicate the products or services offered. They define the philosophy of the organization, and let those who enter know what the organizations stands for; its distinctiveness. Mission statements are generally developed by those at the top of the organization, but with input from all of the staff and stakeholders. I am often asked the question, “does the mission statement ever need to be changed”? The answer is yes, if the organization takes a new and different direction. For example, ‘back in the day’ as my younger students often say, the typical optical shop did not offer refraction services. As the times changed, they needed to associate with a refractionist, typically an OD, which then changed the overall mission of the organization. Mission statements need to be reviewed from time to time to accurately reflect what is happening in the organization in its current form. Directional Strategies: Vision The vision of the organization also comes from the senior leadership, and should state where the organization wishes to go in the future. What do you want to be down the road? Vision
is something that may be difficult to teach. It requires an individual to have the ability to see the potential and then be able to communicate it to the organization. Once communicated, the organization must completely accept it. Without acceptance by all parties, it can never be effective, so the communication piece is very important. Make sure you have a vision for your organization, and then communicate it effectively to the staff so that it becomes theirs. When all of the people involved pull in the same direction, we can then move into the future and achieve that goal.
organizations goals and values, and are going to be comfortable in the environment.
“We need to meet these challenges head on, and if we do not know where we are going, or who we currently are, we are like a ship floundering on the ocean without a rudder.”
Characteristics of vision include: • Inspiring
Directional Strategies: Guiding Principles: Goals
• Clear and Challenging
Strategic goals allow are extremely important to the success of the organization. Goals:
• Sensible • Stable but Challenged • Directive
1. Relate specifically to activities that are critical to accomplish the mission.
2. Link the success factors to the strategic momentum (carrying out the objectives).
3. Limited in number and achievable.
4. Come from the leadership, but should be accepted and appreciated by everyone.
How do you get the necessary input from the staff? You listen to them, and ask for their suggestions. Group sessions in which you allow their input are important. In large organizations, surveys can play an important role, but in the typical small-business environment like the optical industry, face-to-face discussions will make the staff feel that they have had a voice, and by sharing your thoughts, they will actually gain ownership in the strategies selected. Directional Strategies: Guiding Principles: Values What are values? They are the core beliefs of the organization. They are the fundamental principles that the organization and those within it live by; the moral compass. Values are easy to establish, but as people change, can prove difficult to maintain. Symbolism is important here. Think about the United States Marine Corps, and their television commercials. The symbol of the Marines in their dress blues with crossed swords provides a symbol for us all. The history that is celebrated cements that symbol in our minds. While your organization is probably not the Marine Corps, think about ways you can develop some symbolism. Do you have a well-designed logo or something else that can be associated with your organization? Do you celebrate the history and current activities? Values are the collective beliefs of all those in the organization. They meld into a single set of values that all live by. It is imperative that the leaders of the organization assure in the hiring process to bring in people who can add to the overall
Goals are not developed willy-nilly. We must carefully design our goals to make sure they follow the above guidelines. Goals should be measurable and obtainable. Setting goals outside our capabilities will do nothing more than set us up for failure, and that sends the wrong message. I have a friend who sells frames. His company sets unrealistic goals, and then can’t figure out why they never achieve them. It causes significant turnover and hurts all of those involved. They are not doing well, and will not until they learn to set realistic goals. Make sure you provide goals that are achievable, and also develop objectives...short term goals, if you will, that help us reach our overall goal. This aids the organization’s overall workplace satisfaction and will allow us to increase our goals over time. To conclude this month’s article, let me tell you about a new book I have just completed with my colleague at Methodist University, Professor Michael Wayland. Our new book, Strategy Development for the Optical Industry and Beyond, is coming to the market very soon. Professor Wayland has many years of experience in both and small organizations, and we have tailored a guide to developing and assessing strategy that can help you plan for the future. It will be available very soon through the Opticians Association of America. In future articles, I will let you know when it actually hits the market. If you have an interest in strategy, and you all should, I hope you will get a copy of the book. ■
Practice Management Lindsey Getz
With the downturn in the economy it’s been a “time to fire” for quite a while—but things are starting to turn and you just may be in the market for new employees once again.
business world is taking advantage of them. In fact, more companies than ever before are relying on social media sites to seek out new employees. A survey by The Corporate Executive Board Co. found that almost 80 percent of companies surveyed planned to use sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to look for new hires. Using the web is a great way to reach a far wider pool of applicants. Tony Sterrett, practice administrator with Price Vision Group in Indianapolis, IN, says that although he has tried using the local paper to place job ads, he gets the biggest bang for his buck using online job postings. “Most recently I had excellent results using CareerBuilder.com. For less than $500 I received 100 resumes during a 30-day posting. Fifty of the applicants were good candidates.” Sterrett, who handles the hiring for Price Vision, says the practice expects to be adding to their workforce in 2011. “In fact, I hired an additional Certified Surgery Tech two weeks ago,” he says. “As soon as any department reaches and sustains 25 hours of overtime in a pay period, it’s time to start looking for help. But we’ll still be cautious not to over-hire.”
After a few years of employee cutbacks because of the economy, government sources report that businesses are starting to hire once again. The job market may finally be taking a turn for the better this year. In fact, Labor Department figures show that between November 2009 and November 2010, job openings increased by 32 percent. With more businesses starting to hire again, it’s time for companies to think about getting back into the game. Competition for top-notch employees will only continue to grow as business—hopefully—starts getting back on track. Looking for Applicants Hiring isn’t what it used to be. One of the biggest changes over the years has been the methods for finding new employees. Back in the day an eyecare practice might have just hung a sign on their door and interested applicants would walk in. Today, there are so many new methods to look for applicants and the 36 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
That seems to be the outlook that many practices currently have. While things seem to be improving, there’s a long way to go and remaining cautiously optimistic appears to be the wise move. Eyecare practices are hiring, but they’re doing it slowly and surely. Interviewing your Candidates Most eyecare businesses have done plenty of hiring in their practice, but with at least a few rough years, practice managers and administrators may be more used to firing than hiring. The interview is really the key component to hiring. Of course with a huge pile of applications, it isn’t feasible to interview everyone. Sterrett says that he narrows down the applicant pool by first requiring that job seekers meet minimum criteria that he sets. “Once they make it over that hurdle, then it’s time for the interviewing process to begin,” he adds. Applicants to Price Vision Group must undergo not one, but a series of interviews to be considered for any given position. Sterrett says that this is not only ensures that the practice finds
the candidate to be a good fit, but also vice versa. The candidate needs to embrace the position as well. It brings up an important point that hiring is not only about finding a new employee that is qualified for the job, but one that will really enjoy their new position. A happy employee tends to be a good employee. “Job applicants have to meet a few of our current staff members and follow them during part of the day,” says Sterrett. “It’s important that they see what is expected of them before we move forward. It’s a waste of time for both parties if either one doesn’t feel comfortable and excited.” Sterrett also believes that a little bit of stress during the interview process can be a good thing. If the applicant perceives the interview as being too easy, then they won’t value the position as much. “The interview should be a little stressful so we can have the opportunity to see how they handle pressure,” he adds. Once Sterrett feels confident the applicant has the necessary technical skills for the position he’s hiring for, he’ll focus on the personality. “I can train a new hire on techniques and testing equipment, but I can’t give them a new personality so this is an important step,” he says. “I look for eye contact, a smile, and comfortable body language.” For any given position Sterrett tries to narrow it down to about 10 initial phone interviews, and then invites the top four candidates for face-to-face interviewing. “I stay away from the typical questions during interviewing,” he says. “I prefer
behavioral interviewing. I’ll ask them to describe a time when they have to work with a difficult patient or coworker and how they resolved the situation. I’m looking for them to describe the issue, the options they considered to fix the problem, the action they took, and the results. If I am interviewing an applicant for a managerial position, they need to describe how they’d handle various situations.” Of course Sterrett also believes strongly in requiring potential employees to supply references and he does call applicants’ previous employers. “I do this with the final three applicants,” he says. “This way I have backups in case I have to eliminate somebody.” While most people tend to look at the interview process as the potential employee selling themselves to the person doing the hiring—convincing them that they’re right for the job—it goes the other way as well. Certainly that’s the key part of interviewing, but selling the job to the employee is also part of it as well. As more jobs become available, eyecare practices are going to start thinking about getting competitive again. Job applicants are going to start having more choices. “Once I’m interested in a candidate, I sell them on the benefits,” says Sterrett. “We pay for 100 percent of our employees’ health insurance premiums, which is a big investment. But our turnover is only around 5 percent. I’d rather invest in happy employees than to have to hire replacements on a regular basis.” ■
Each year, amateur musicians from across the optical industry converge on New York City during Vision Expo East to participate in EyeRock — a rock concert to benefit OneSight. The event is a perfect fit for companies that are looking to showcase their support of OneSight while providing great add-on entertainment.
The show is once again presented by Converse and John Varvatos by REM Eyewear. It will take place Saturday, March 19 from 9:00pm – 1:00am at The Hard Rock Café Times Square (1501 Broadway)
MARCH 2011 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL| 37
Second Glance Elmer Friedman, OD
VITAMINS: Do They or Don’t They
PREVENT CATARACTS? CATARACTS ARE A HUGE PROBLEM. Almost one half of persons over 75 years of age will lose some vision because of cataracts. Cataract surgery is the single greatest surgical cost in Medicare. At present there is still no dietary prescription that will predictably reduce the likelihood of developing any type of cataract.
There are different types of cataracts, depending on their location in the lens of the eye. The outermost layer is called the posterior subcapsular cataract. Cataracts in the next layer are called cortical cataracts and the most central location of the lens is called the nuclear cataract. The type that occurs the least is the posterior subcapsular type. This type and the cortical type cataracts were analyzed as to their relation to vitamin supplements and were covered in a 2002 report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A group of 492 nurses were studied, aged 53 to 73 years, who had been followed for at least seventeen years. Foodstuffs and vitamin uses were investigated many times during the study period.
38 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
This report stated that the number of posterior subcapsular cataracts came to 86 and 248 cortical types of cataracts were determined. The investigators announced that their results found no connection between any antioxidants or vitamins. Furthermore they performed a sub analysis and found that Vitamin C, if taken in dosages of 360 milligrams or more (far over the recommended 70 milligrams daily) reduced the risk of cortical cataracts by almost 60 percent in women under the age of 60. However, among women taking 240 to 360 milligrams, the risk actually appeared to increase to more than double the number. Women under the age of 60 years who were taking Vitamin C containing supplements for at least five years showed a 67 percent reduction in cortical cataracts. But women over the age of 60 years, taking vitamin C supplements for 5 to 9 years, had a doubled risk of cortical cataracts. Another finding was that for those who never smoked cigarettes and increased their total carotenoid intake (alpha and beta carotenes, lycopenes, lutein) – the result was a reduction in posterior subcapsular cataract risk by 66 percent. The reduction was even greater with those with increased folic acid intake (more than 70 percent). The authors concluded that “Our results support a role for Vitamin C in thwarting the risk of cortical cataracts in women less than 60 years of age and for carotenoids which diminished the risk of posterior subcapsular cataracts in women who have never smoked.” Reviewers have commented that many inconsistencies exist. It makes sense that antioxidants could reduce the risk of cataracts because the lens of the eye is exposed to oxidant changes. This is the same chemical process that rusts iron and makes cooking oil turn rancid. In the eye, the oxidative process can occur as part of normal metabolism as well as in the presence of light, which creates harmful unstable molecules called free radicals. These free radicals grasp electrons from your body’s healthy molecules to balance themselves, causing an ever escalating molecular free for all that ends up hurting perfectly innocent cells. The lens can partially protect itself from this free radical damage. It relies on certain nutrients to keep its defense strong. It has been established that vitamins C and E and beta carotene are helpful. The evidence shows that when these nutrients are taken together they work best. In addition to the vitamins mentioned above it is recommended that minerals such as selenium, zinc and copper may all play Continued on page 40
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roles in the protection goals for the lens of the eye. Even B Vitamins such as riboflavin and B12 as well as an amino acid called cysteine may help. But evidence for the benefits of these substances is very slim. Some show no benefits at all from antioxidants and among the studies that show positive results there is little consistency concerning which antioxidants are providing the benefits. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, folic acid, beta carotene and other carotenoids previously mentioned all have been found to protect against cataracts in some studies, but do nothing in other research results. For instance, why did Vitamin C reduce risk only in women under the age of 60 years of age? Why in women over 60 years of age using Vitamin C supplements for 5 to 9 years should there be an increased risk? It also appears that that the authors analyzed cataracts by eyes, not person. Before, if a woman had a cataract in both eyes or two types of cataracts in one eye they were considered separately. This could have markedly biased the results. There was no noticeable beneficial or harmful effect on the risk of cataract, according to William Christen, ScD, OD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and his colleagues. Their findings come from a randomized placebo-controlled trial, the longest yet to test antioxidant supplements as a potential preventative measure for cataracts as reported in the Archives of Ophthalmology. While the outcome showed no effect, the study doesn’t put to bed the notion that antioxidants may help prevent cataracts. The researchers noted that cataracts develop slowly and prevention may require even longer periods of treatment and perhaps at earlier ages. The analysis was based on the Physician’s Health Study II which looked at the effects of Vitamin E, Vitamin C and a multivitamin on the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease in some 14,641 male doctors. As a secondary endpoint, the researchers also studied cataract incidence among the doctors, all ages of 50 or greater. The cataract data, they added, “represent the longest treatment duration for Vitamin E in men and the first trial data for Vitamin C alone.” Half of the participants were randomly assigned to get Vitamin E or placebo every other day. Within each arm the doctors were assigned to get either daily Vitamin C or placebo. During an average follow up of eight years the researchers reported, 1,174 cataract extractions were confirmed. There were 579 cataracts in the Vitamin E group and 595 in the placebo group, for a hazard ratio of 0.99 which was not significant. There were also no significant effects of Vitamin E on the incidence of nuclear, cortical or posterior subcapsular cataracts. In the Vitamin C group, there were 593 cataracts, compared 40 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
with 581 in the placebo group, for an non-significant hazard ratio of 1.02. As with Vitamin E there were no significant effects based on subtype. Some studies agree that Vitamin E may play a role in preventing cataracts. In a large, long term study of more than 3,000 adults (ages 43 to 86) in Wisconsin, risk for cataracts was 60 percent lower among people who reported using multivitamins or any supplement containing Vitamin E or Vitamin C for more than 10 years, compared with non users. In a 2008 study that evaluated the dietary intake of more than 35,000 female health professionals, women whose diets (including supplements) had the highest levels of lutein and Vitamin E had a lower relative risk of cataracts than women whose diets were in the lowest 20 percent for levels of these nutrients. However, other studies provide conflicting findings and some eye doctors say more research is required before a clear conclusion can be reached. The majority of researchers suggest additional food tips: Daily alcohol imbibers up their odds for cataracts by about a third with people who rarely drink. A Harvard University study found that women who ate spinach more than five times a week had a 47 percent decrease in the risk of cataract surgery compared with those who ate spinach less than once per month. In fact, it is a good idea to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Doctors agree that the following nutrients may help to delay the development of cataracts: Beta Carotene: 25,000 international units. Copper: 1 milligram for every 10 milligrams of zinc, but no more than 2 milligrams. Selenium: 50-200 micrograms. Vitamin C: 500-3000 milligrams. Vitamin E: 400 international units. Zinc: 15-50 milligrams. Users are alerted not to take 100 micrograms of selenium daily without medical supervision. If a person is taking anticoagulant drugs, then Vitamin E supplement should be avoided. It would require bowls and bowls of wheat germ ingestion to equal the capsules that offer the daily requirements. Also, more than 15 milligrams of zinc may need medical supervision. The case for zinc indicates that it helps to prevent retinal deterioration as we age. The body needs zinc to make several antioxidant enzymes found in the eye. The results of these various studies confirm the need of further research to guide us towards the goal of cataract risk control. ■
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Seiko and Transitions Partner for Seiko Sportswear Transitions SOLFX Sun Lenses color enhanced vision Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc., and Transitions Optical, Inc. announced the introduction of Seiko® Sportswear Transitions® SOLFX™ sun lenses, the latest product in the Transitions SOLFX line of performance sunwear. Specifically optimized to improve color recognition, contrast and depth perception in varying lighting conditions, the lens is designed for a wide variety of outdoor sports and related activities, including running, hiking and walking. Available Seiko Sportswear Transitions SOLFX lenses include Seiko and Perfas branded free-from progressive lenses, as well as Seiko’s new 1.67 Wrap Tech single-vision free-form lens and frame package, and 1.67 standard aspheric single-vision lenses. They can be ordered through Seiko’s free-form laboratory and network of independent optical laboratories.
The lenses change from an initial light green tint while non-activated to a dark green tint in bright sunlight. This proprietary tint filters light evenly throughout its activation range to provide excellent color contrast separation, depth perception and color recognition, even in varying outdoor lighting conditions. Seiko’s single-vision (6 and 8 Base) Wrap Tech Sportswear Transitions SOLFX lenses are available in 1.67 high index plastic. Seiko Internal Free-Form PAL Sportswear Transitions SOLFX lenses are available in a variety of materials, including Trivex®, polycarbonate and 1.67 high-index plastic. For more information go to www.SeikoEyewear.com or www.TransitionsSOLFX.com
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Last Look Jim Magay, RDO
—The Coming Thingy D 3 D 3D 3 I envision HDTV 3D TVs in America in the near future being sold with warning labels as they do in Australia: “Caution, using this set may cause motion sickness, perceptual after-effects, disorientation, eye strain, and decreased postural stability.” (This last one simply means you may fall down the stairs after watching Avatar 3D for the 5th time in a row!)
also make 2D sources simulate 3D, meh!) By the way, most of the currently available 3D glasses from the TV manufacturers resemble post-op cataract thingies. At the moment the problem is lack of content, but I am pretty sure more will come in the future.
The American Optometric Association – on the basis of nothing more than an unofficial online survey – estimates 25% of Americans have experienced headaches, blurred vision, nausea, or similar problems when watching 3D movies. (Or, conversely, it could have been the three slurpees and 2 giant buckets of popcorn!) Quick, rush to your OD for a comprehensive eye exam if you feel queasy after paying around $40 at the local IMAX!
Another issue for the guys making these glasses is that most 3D schemes are proprietary and no standard has yet been set. I’m betting on Samsung since I have one in my living room and they are one of the industry leaders. This is just like the good old days when your VHS tapes wouldn’t play on a buddy’s Sony Beta-Max. If you own a pair of 3D glasses, there is no guarantee they will work on someone else’s set, bummer if he doesn’t have an extra pair for you when you go over to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Just as some manufacturers thought the market for 3D glasses was going to take off, the unanswered questions about 3D – passive versus active, no glasses required 3D, circular polarization versus powered shutter type glasses – mean they may have jumped the gun with all their new product offerings.
One big problem will be warnings that, “We do not recommend watching 3D if you are in bad physical condition, need sleep, or have been drinking alcohol.” (Again from Australia – what is it with the Aussies?) That warning would preclude most average Americans from ever watching 3D! If they broadcast the Super Bowl in 3D only about 5 people in the US would qualify!
I must admit that I leaped on the 3D bandwagon myself. My new Samsung is an active 3D – no it doesn’t get up and walk around - it emits an infrared signal to battery-powered glasses that you wear over your Rx eyewear. We’ve had it a month and other than showing it off to friends and family we haven’t really used the 3D component (you can switch it on or off and
This will be giving researchers and scientists all over the world a whole new field to play on and when they settle what format we will be using, the manufacturers can then take over and we’ll all be watching 3D in a happy, healthy environment. Remember, no drinking, don’t be tired, and do a few sit-ups before watching Shrek in 3D. ■
50 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2011
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March 2011 Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine. A Business to Business publication that is distributed to decision makers and participant...