LIGHTWEIGHT EYEWEAR / PAGE 6 ADVANCE YOUR OPTICAL CAREER / PAGE 18 April 2012 • Volume 6, Issue 52 • www.ECPmag.com
COMFORT, STYLE , AND AFFORDABILITY.
MAXIMUM TITANIUM FLEXIBILITY.
Clariti Eyewear Collection
PRACTICE SOLUTIONS: INCREASE CAPTURE RATE
PICTURE THIS MORE PATIENTS PURCHASING LENSES FROM YOU INCREASE DISPENSARY CAPTURE RATE & REVENUE - Trusted performance and smart price - Independent practice exclusivity - Forbes 18th most reputable brand in 2011 - Availability in all major insurance plans Kodak and the Kodak trade dress are trademarks of Kodak, used under license by Signet Armorlite, Inc. iPad is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. ÂŠ2012 Signet Armorlite, Inc.
Vol. 6 Issue 52
Courtesy of Studio Optyx
LIGHTWEIGHT EYEWEAR & SUNWEAR Keep your patient’s cool and comfortable with the latest in lightweight eyewear and sunwear. by ECP Staff
SUNWEAR TRENDS Increase your sunglass sales by staying on top off all the trends in shapes and styles.
by Laura Miller
Courtesy of Rudy Project North America
TIME TO GET COMPETITIVE! Independents can succeed through a better understanding of the competitive forces they face. by Warren G. McDonald, PhD, & Michael Wayland
JOB IMPROVEMENT With all the education options available today, it’s never too late for professional advancement. by Judy Canty, LDO
CHOOSING THE RIGHT OPTICAL WORDS The impact of terminology used around patients should always be considered. by Anthony Record, RDO
STRABISMUS AND AMBLYOPIA DETECTION Mandatory vision screenings could help improve the lives of many unfortunate children. by Jason Smith, OD, MS
On The Cover:
CLARITI EYEWEAR 1-800-FRAMES-2 www.claritieyewear.com
FIND THE CLARITI EYEWEAR LOGO CONTEST—See page 26
MOBILE OPTICIAN .........................................................................................24
MARKETING OPTICIAN.................................................................................20 MOVERS AND SHAKERS.................................................................................28 ONLINE DISPENSING .....................................................................................34 SECOND GLANCE ............................................................................................40 ADVERTISER INDEX .......................................................................................42 INDUSTRY QUICK ACCESS............................................................................43 LAST LOOK .......................................................................................................46
EDITOR VIEW Jeff Smith
1st Class Sales with 2nd Pairs NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, McDonald’s tried an experiment. Whenever a customer came in and ordered a hamburger, the clerk was instructed to ask if they wanted fries with that. Nothing complicated, just, “would you like fries with that?” Guess what happened, sales of fries went through the roof. So what has that to do with optical sales?
What about second pairs? Sunglasses? Accessories? The key to second pair sales is listening. Ask the patient about their lifestyle, and what kind of work they do. Spend a little time before starting to select frames to get to know what’s important to them. Selecting the right ophthalmic frame to match their needs is obviously important, but it will also give you a clue as to what to suggest for additional pairs. One of the most neglected areas of additional sales is in home safety eyewear. Most people don’t think of the home as a place for safety glasses, yet there are now more accidents in the home than at work, largely due to the impact of OSHA regulations and efforts by the insurance industry. If your patient enjoys hobbies that use power equipment - safety glasses or shields are a must. This is also an important consideration for contact lens wearers, who may need extra protection to keep airborne debris from getting in their eyes. With the new safety frame styles now available, safety eyewear doesn’t have to be bulky or ugly. Sunwear has been the staple of multiple pairs since their invention, but how many times have you had to tell your patient that the sun frame they just fell in love with won’t accept their prescription? Now, what happens when that same patient is fitted with contacts? Every contact wearer should be shown sunglasses, but especially the first time wearer. They may not be thinking about sunwear at that particular moment, but you can bet they will the first time they see a sunglass display at the local grocery store. Introduce them to your sun selection and watch their eyes light up. Most dispensaries have a separate section devoted to sunglasses, but all too often it’s tucked away in some corner. Ask anyone who has been an optician for any length of time, and they will tell you the surprising number of people who don’t even realize they can have prescription sunglasses made. And with all the new lenses coming on the market, relatively high minuses can be accommodated in fashionable sunwear. Finally, don’t forget accessories. A screw kit, extra lens cleaner, or a deluxe case are all convenient to help your patient enjoy their new eyewear. Remember, the key to second pair sales is to offer them to every patient, every time. After all, they’re the French fries of the optical world.
4 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
Publisher/Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Smith Production/Graphics Manager. . . . . . . . . . . Bruce S. Drob Director, Advertising Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . Lynnette Grande Contributing Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Judy Canty, Dee Carew, Paul DiGiovanni, Gary Fore, Elmer Friedman, Lindsey Getz, Ginny Johnson, Jim Magay, Warren McDonald, Laura Miller, Anthony Record, Jason Smith 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.
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The only polarized photochromic lens that darkens outside as well as behind the windshield of a car. Â‡UHDFWVWRGLIIHUHQWZHDWKHUDQGOLJKW FRQGLWLRQVIURPRYHUFDVWWREULJKWOLJKW E\XWLOL]LQJYLVLEOHDVZHOODV89OLJKW Â‡HQKDQFHVWKHH\HVÂˇQDWXUDOIXQFWLRQVWR provide optimum vision
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Drivewear is available from:
Freeform the Future is Now.â„˘ The Cotran brothers are committed to operating the
DRIVEWEAR is a registered trademark of Younger Mfg. Co.
Lightweight Eyewear & Sunwear 1
1. MYKITA The new Decades sunglass line is characterised by a rendering of large panto forms to MYKITAâ€™s ultralight flat-metal concept. The 0.5 mm stainless steel frames appear as a silhouette of their historic predecessor and, in combination with the frame colors, create their own unique look. www.mykita.com
2. Evatik The Evatik 9053 is a full rim titanium menâ€™s model. The combination of flat sheet titanium coupled with a thinner profile on the bottom of the eyerim provides a sleek, modern look to this model. Thin titanium strips are cut out of the endpiece and incorporated into the temple pattern adding texture to the design. www.evatik.com
3. Pro Design The Axiom collection is all about simplified functionality and this new addition to the successful fifth branch under the ProDesign name is no exception. The striped acetate of the end tip is a classic ProDesign acetate, and both the colors of the fronts and the temples are repeated in the end tip pattern. www.prodesigndenmark.com
Combining the best in design, ground-breaking techniques, and high-tech materials, LIGHTWEIGHT EYEWEAR have super strength and flexibility. There are so many possibilities in selecting these frames for your patients.
4. Viva International Group The new styles from Harley-Davidson Eyewear are solidly constructed and designed with clean lines and subtle logo treatments. Key materials include stainless steel, as seen in model HD 422, from the menâ€™s ophthalmic collection. This lightweight material delivers a slim profile, while showcasing the Harley-Davidson Bar & Shield logo laser-etched on both of the temples. www.vivagroup.com
5. Silhouette Titan Minimal Art is one of the most successful rimless eyewear collections in the world. Free from rimmed frames, hinges, and screws, it started a revolution in the world of eyewear. Its light weight of only 1.8 grams offers wearers carefree, limitless vision for the first time ever. www.silhouette.com
6. Studio Optyx Monoqoolâ€™s patented Helix temple design equips a lightweight stainless steel frame to create a screw-less frame. The frame weighs only 4 grams. www.monoqool.com, www.studiooptyx.com 6
Trevi Coliseum Eyewear
The new collection, Lafont Paris Pour L’Homme, features an innovative carbon fiber temple design. This extremely durable and lightweight material is blended perfectly with titanium creating a sleek, technically advanced frame. Each temple is cushioned with a soft rubber in-lay making each piece extremely comfortable to wear. For the optician, Lafont reinforced the temple with a stainless steel core for an easy adjustment. www.lafontusa.com
Cotton Club 280 is constructed from the highest quality lightweight materials and defines the concept of style and luxury. Made of carbon fiber with rubberized temples for comfort and adjustability, it’s available in 3 colors combinations with striking contrast. Made in Italy and backed by a two year warranty. Sold exclusively in North America by National Lens. www.national-lens.com
Eyes of Faith
Our most popular style, Eyes of Faith 1005, is a lightweight, rimless work of art with stunning stained glass temples. Due to its popularity, we recently expanded the style’s wide color pallete to five options that reflect “the light within you.” www.eofoptical.com
With subtle curves and a hint of subdued, cat eye flair, the 401 Crystal Tortoise’s thin frame structure perfectly embodies our California lifestyle and unique fashion sense. Consistent comfort, fit and lightweight functionality make this prescription frame ideal for all-day, go-anywhere optical use. www.kaenon.com
The KS1280 from Clariti’s Konishi Lite collection is a nearly weightless compression mount frame made with stainless steel and TR90 temples for ultimate comfort. The frame comes in three colors: dark grey with grey, matte black with dark purple, and matte mocha with bronze (shown). www.claritieyewear.com.
Rudy Project Light, practical, high-performance, and made for prescription, Spyllo suf is a sport utility frame for all occasions. Unlike traditional sight models, Spyllo suf has a wraparound front in extremely light Kynetium material. But the real innovation of Spyllo suf is the energized temple technology, a flexible temple system that ensures that the temples, if extended, tend to go back immediately to their initial position, thereby ensuring a firm and comfy fit at the same time. www.rudyprojectusa.com
Spyllo suf from Rudy Project
Trevi Coliseum is distributed exclusively in North America by National Lens. Tel: 866.923.5600 national-lens.com
“Auf dem flusse” is a new prescription frame from our current collection ‘winterreise,’ which is inspired by Schubert’s famous song cycle. The screw-less, sheet metal glasses combine ideas and perfectionism. These off the wall frames are suitable for everyday use, precisely manufactured, nearly unbreakable as they are flexible, in addition to being light as a feather. www.ic-berlin.de
RC631 – This style draws inspiration from the world of jewelry. Thanks to the skillful expertise in jewelry techniques, a pearl is set within a rhinestone border creating a delicate outline at each side of the front. Special openings along the arms offer lightness to the frame while the animal print effect in several color variations serves as an additional symbol of the brand. www.marcolinusa.com
Sunairess Eyewear Zero G Eyewear
Optiluxe model 2053 is simply perfect for those who are looking for lightweight yet fashionable eyewear. This rimless frame features lightweight zyl temples decorated with a unique deco laser design, spring hinge and adjustable nose pads for comfort. This frame is available in 5 gorgeous colors. www.sunairessinc.com
Global Optique Kishimoto Signature Model 313 has a simple yet sophisticated look that is made with the highest grade and light stainless steel with grilamid temples and spring hinges that gives the frame super comfort. Available in Matte Wine, Matte Violet, Matte Brown, Matte Green. www.globaloptique.com
Kishimoto Signature Model 313
The Zero G Kings Point is among the first frame with a plastic insert to be constructed without screws or solder-points. With this combination of tailored plastic and titanium, Zero G has put a modern twist on a classic, retro style. Kings Point presents a bold, stylish look while offering the ultimate in lightweight comfort. www.zerogeyewear.com
Retraction: In last month’s March Issue, the Clariti Frames are from the Konishi line, not the Giovanni line.
musician - wearing ‘die nebensonnen’
THE FASHIONABLE ECP Laura Miller
Are Your Patients Bragging about You?
Marchon’s D & G in cat-eye shape
Horn-rimmed Boomslang by Reptile Sun
As an ECP, I can’t help but judge other people’s glasses. My son always gets embarrassed as I constantly compliment strangers in the supermarket on their eyewear. IT USUALLY BOTHERS ME when I see someone who can use a frame “makeover” and I wonder which optician let them out of the office looking like that. I also get intrigued when I see a frame that I have never seen before. I am sure you all can identify.
want the latest in sun trends that will shift their reasons for buying suns. Yes, coverage is important, but now they want to look good. Will your patients think of your optical when shopping for sunglasses? Will they praise you every time they get a compliment on their frame?
At my son’s lacrosse game, I ran into an old friend wearing the most beautiful Bulgari, blue-gradient sunglasses. Of course, I had to make a big deal about them. After my inquiries, I learned that my friend bought them from her optometrist in Florida and is embarrassed that she spent so much money on a pair of prescription shades. I also learned that she gets compliments on her glasses everywhere she goes and was surprised by her doctor’s selection and style and will likely fork out this kind of money next year. This is the type story I love hearing about. Wouldn’t it be nice if all your patients were this satisfied with their glasses?
Of course they will! You have done your job and established your office as a place for all their eyewear needs. Let’s boost spring sales and your stylish reputation by stocking up on some of the latest trends. The designers are out with all their spring and summer designs and your optical boutique needs to move with the trends. If you are looking for some of the greatest sun trends for 2012, look no further.
As a good ECP, you always warn your patients about the importance of sun protection. Your optical shop always has a variety of sunglasses in case your patients listen to you. You stress the importance of sunwear throughout the year. You explain sun damage all winter long and attempt to sell suns for winter protection, but now the designers have launched their summer lines and your patients will finally start buying. With warmer weather and outdoor events, your patients are going to 12 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
Contrasting Colors – We all remember the biggest trend last season…the wayfarer type frame with bright colored temples. This style progresses and expands into 2012 but the frame is not limited to a wayfarer look. This style now transcends to any shape of frame to better fit more types of faces. Try neutral or black colored frames with bright and wild temples. This rule can also be applied to lens colors. Don’t be afraid to suggest a grey lens with a tortoise frame. Impress your patients with your fashion know-all. Cat Eyes – A personal favorite of mine, cats can create an instant facelift. Bringing back the glamour of the 60’s, big and
small cats are a favorite with summer sun designers. To get the effect, your patients can pick frames with a small uplift in the corner to give a simple cat-eye shape or go for a dramatically inspired cat. If they mention that the frames look like their grandmother’s old glasses, show them a picture of Jessica Alba or Diane Kruger sporting their favorite cats.
Marc Jacobs from Safilo
Round – Round frames are big this year with ophthalmic frames so it is only natural that the style will transcend into sunglasses. When choosing round, bigger in not always better. The round shapes are staying away from the oversized trends we have been accustomed to and they are tending to be on the smaller side. These round frames are a fantastic unisex style. For some of the best styles, look at Marc Jacobs from Safilo. They have a huge selection of retro, round frames to fit all faces.
Ray-Ban from Luxottica
Sports – Sports frames are usually known for function, but designers are adding many sports elements to their summer line. Frames with small base curves are very popular. Aviator, goggle looks, and shield are coming off the runway. Remember, these fashion frames might not have the quality for sports performance and be sure to convey that to your patient. Ray-Ban will always be hot for sport and sport-inspired frames. These are so popular; you might also want to carry some Ray-Ban lookalikes for a less expensive alternative or for your suggestion of a second pair. Gradient – Gradient lenses are just fun. Gradient was originally used to provide different degrees of sun protection, but the dark to light colors can also add some mystery to plain frames. For further effect, try adding some funky colors such as blue and maroon to the lenses. Give your patients an original frame. This is a great upsell when selling prescription lenses. Horn-rimmed sunglasses – When will Mad Men stop influencing style? The show has reintroduced the horn rim glasses and now horn rim suns are buzzing. Made of imitation horn or tortoise, these frames can be any shape to flatter your patient’s face. They usually do not have any nose pads, so be sure to warn your patients of slipping during the hot summer months. Though these frames are super-stylish, I would not advise them to be worn for long periods in the hot sun. They are a great second pair for the patients who want to get attention with the “Johnny Depp” look. By keeping a variety of frames in stock and on display, your office will get the reputation of being the “it” place for summer sunglass looks. Be sure to have a delicate combination of high-end designer frames and low-cost fashionable looks to target every patient and every budget that walks in your office. Offer a deal by bundling two pairs of frames or by offering free polarization. Be honest with your patients and style them like celebrities so you can be the one being bragged about on the lacrosse field. ■
21ST CENTURY OPTICIAN Warren G. McDonald, PhD Professor of Health Administration Reeves School of Business / Methodist University
Let’s Get Competitive! TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE, any organization must understand the forces they are up against. The Five Forces analysis was developed by Dr. Michael Porter and made popular in his 1980 book Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. The Five Forces shape, constrain, and provide opportunities for competitive advantage for your business. They are:
Threat of entry can be considered as twofold: (1) barriers to entry and (2) response of existing competitors. If there is one supplier of a critical component and your business has a contractually exclusive arrangement with them, if a resource is scarce and you have it controlled, or if the dollar investment is prohibitively high for a competitor to justify entering the market, one would say the barrier to entry for a new entrant is high. Conversely, if you are dealing with broadly and inexpensively available commodities, easy technology, consumer indifference to brand, etc., the barrier to entry for a new competitor is low. Competitor responsiveness also impacts the threat of entry. If the existing competitors are well funded, have the ability to leverage a well entrenched brand name, can aggressively cut price and maintain a low profit margin that would put your company out of business, or have a willingness to “defend their turf,” the probability of a new entrant coming into that market is low. 2. Intensity of Rivalry
1. Threat of Entry The threat of new competitors entering a given market is an industry force that impacts strategy. If a company invests billions of dollars to create a new product that can be easily imitated, where is the competitive advantage? There may be an advantage such as profit made while the potential new entrant is developing its product, goodwill established, and creating a top of mind brand name, etc., but as we will see, there is not always a sustainable “First Mover Advantage.” On the other hand, if the competitors are hard pressed to enter the market there may be a significant competitive advantage for your company to move into a market first. If your business is in an existing market, analysis of the threat of entry can be important to ascertaining your ability to maintain your market share and to prepare defensive strategies to prevent a potential new competitor from arising. 14 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
It has been said that there is no such thing as a sustainable competitive advantage. The thought behind that truism is that your competitors will find a way to mimic or copy anything that succeeds for you. If you buy more productive manufacturing equipment, the supplier, or their competitor, will be touting their equipment to your competitors, citing your purchase. If you invent a new product, your competitors will find a way around your patents. The Intensity of Rivalry among existing industry competitors will drive this imitation strategy. It is something that can easily be seen in many markets, particularly consumer goods. While a company cannot directly control the intensity of rivalry in an industry, it can take certain strategic actions. Some companies will develop a strategy of intertwining themselves into their customers business so as to make the customer dependant on them (i.e. Dell computers), increase product differentiation to separate themselves from the crowd, raise the customer’s switching cost by customizing applications or products for them so that they are dependent on your business, provide service and repair to the product, or focus the company’s sales and marketing efforts on areas that have some form of advantage, such as high growth or low fixed costs. Continued on page 16
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Kodak and the Kodak trade dress are trademarks of Kodak, used under license by Signet Armorlite, Inc. Transitions is a registered trademark of Transitions Optical, Inc. ©2012 Signet Armorlite, Inc.
Consider the highly competitive world of lens manufacturing. In today’s market, the technology exists for free form lenses to be manufactured at many locations, but marketing efforts of the “big” manufacturers really make such an effort difficult. Each time one manufacturer comes out with a particular lens design, others will soon follow with an updated version. Rivalry is fierce. It is just as fierce at the local level between retail competitors. Each competitor attempts to one-up the guy down the street so they can maintain their competitive advantage. As stated above, this advantage is difficult to maintain, so a constant awareness of the marketplace is required. 3. Threat of Substitute Products The availability of substitute products limits the amount of money a company can charge for its product or service. All things being equal, if a company raises its price, the customer will switch to a competitor to substitute an equivalent product. The reality is that all things are rarely equivalent. When they are, the product is referred to as a “commodity” product – that is, it does not matter at all from whom you purchase it, it is perceived as all the same (i.e. crude oil). When all things are not the same, there may be a degree of difference. For example, a consumer may have a preference for a particular brand of gasoline, but if the price for that brand increases more than a few cents per gallon over the competitors, the consumer will forgo the preferred brand and substitute the lower priced brand. On the other hand, strong brand loyalty, strong product differentiation and other strategies that create distinction reduce the threat of substitute products. In the small independent optical office, do we have brand loyalty? Some have seen some slippage in loyalty. With the advent of online retailers breaking into the market we may see more pressure against loyalty. 4. Bargaining Power of Suppliers The power held by raw material, component, subassembly, assembly, transportation, disposal, and the whole host of suppliers to companies in an industry directly impacts the competitive nature of an industry. If there are very few suppliers of a necessary component, the theory of supply and demand suggests that prices will rise. Suppliers can hold the corporate buyer “over a barrel.” As an example, in the computer industry micro processors were at risk of becoming a commodity item. Retail consumers did not see them or understand them. The strategy Intel employed was to change the micro processor from a commodity item into a branded item. Through a combination of outstanding product development and intense marketing, retail consumers were convinced that having “Intel Inside” meant a better computer. Retail customers began to demand Intel processors in the computers they purchased which in turn put pressure on 16 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to incorporate Intel processors into their computers. Intel gained significant bargaining power as a supplier to the OEM’s. If the OEM wanted to produce a product with an Intel microprocessor, they had to buy from Intel. This gave Intel significant bargaining power when negotiating price and terms with the OEM’s. As a result, Intel processors cost significantly more than competitive processors. In the optical industry, we are now faced with significant consolidation, with organizations like Essilor and Luxottica wielding significant power in the marketplace. Should we find alternative suppliers? If we want new suppliers, where do we find them? Just a question to ponder... 5. Bargaining Power of Buyers The bargaining power of buyers is the opposite of the power of suppliers. If the large corporate buyer can shop around for its raw material, components, subassemblies or other inputs, and find lower prices, then the corporate buyers in the industry have significant power over their suppliers. Some ways industry buyers can gain bargaining power are: a. If they buy in sufficiently large amounts to be able to demand lower prices b. If they buy in sufficiently large amounts to make the supplier dependent upon them c. If it is easy for the buyer to switch to a different supplier d. If the corporate buyer could drop the supplier and the corporation could fulfill its own need e. If the business could buy a supplier and cut the current supplier out Consider an organization like WalMart. Is their buying power significantly greater than that of the local independent optician or optometrist? Of course it is, and so the independent will have difficulty competing on the basis of price alone to maintain competitive advantage. Conclusion In any business, and in particular the optical industry, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to remain competitive. By better understanding the competitive forces we face, we can develop strategies to combat them effectively. We hope you have found this summary of the five forces a practical lesson and we hope it allows you to more effectively compete in the contemporary marketplace. Also with contributions from Professor Michael Wayland, Instructor of Management, Reeves School of Business, Methodist University. ■
Vision Expo East Reports Record-Breaking Attendance “We are pleased to report that we broke attendance records dating back to the show’s inception in 1986,” said Tom Loughran, vice president for Reed Exhibitions. “Overall feedback indicates that visitors were very satisfied with this year’s show. The new split level floor plan, featuring the French Loft on the Level 4 Terrace and combined pavilions and education destination on Level 1, exceeded expectations.”
International Vision Expo East, co-owned by Reed Exhibitions and The Vision Council, drew a record crowd last month at the Javits Center in New York City, organizers reported. Preliminary unaudited attendance figures indicate that 16,317 eyecare professionals attended the show, a 10 percent jump from 2011, and a new show record. A final third-party audit of International Vision Expo East, which will detail audited attendance figures, will be available in early May 2012.
Held over four-days, the show featured a comprehensive conference line-up, expanded student programming and exceptional show specials, including three luxury car lease giveaways. The show floor expanded an additional 10 percent from 2011, with conference, meeting rooms and exhibits spanning four levels for a combined total of 312,823 square feet. More than 575 exhibitors, including 132 brand new companies, presented the latest trends in eyewear and advances in eyecare technology to eyecare professionals and buyers from around the world. Next year, International Vision Expo East will be held March 14-17, in New York City. Show dates have been confirmed with the Javits Center through 2020.
DISPENSING OPTICIAN Judy Canty, LDO
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
The rest, as they say, is history. Why am I telling you this? Because I absolutely love this industry and for the life of me I can’t understand why so many who are in this industry appear to be so very unhappy. With all due respect to my friends who have benefited from “legacy” practices, following in the footsteps of a parent, grandparent or even an older sibling, I have never met anyone who woke up one morning with a burning desire to be an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist or Optician. It is a group of professions we are either born into or stumble upon. Regardless of the sophistication of our chosen place in the hierarchy of the three O’s, it is a demanding and often stressful way to spend our days. So, if you’re not happy with your current position, do something about it. Ask yourself the same kinds of questions you ask a patient when opening the conversation about new eyewear. 1. What do you like about your current position? Is it the creativity or the problem-solving? Is it the fashion or the function? Is it the challenge of managing a successful business? We’re all human. We enjoy doing things we actually LIKE to do. Find what it is that you like to do and try to incorporate it into your workday.
No, it’s never too late to ask that question. Growing up, I wanted to be a high school band director just like my Dad. So, I did what was necessary. Learned to play oboe, practiced a lot and got some scholarship offers. Went all the way to Arizona and discovered that perhaps I didn’t want to be a high school band director after all... Now what?
2. What do you dislike about your current position? Is it the unpleasant patients or the uncooperative staff? Is it the lack of respect or the unrealistic expectations? We’ve all muttered this at one time or another, “this job would be great if it weren’t for the (patients, staff, optician, practice manager, doctor).” How much control will you allow outside forces to have over your workday? What would it take to change your dislikes into “sorta likes” or “dislikes less”?
I was a newly divorced, single parent of a toddler, with a strong music performance background. I needed a JOB!
3. What do you want from your job? Is it financial compensation or personal satisfaction? Is it increased responsibility or a lighter load? Find your mentor and determine what path to take.
After days of pavement pounding in my hometown, nothing looked promising. However, the branch manager of a local bank had a brother-in-law who managed an optical wholesale lab who needed some help.
4. What do you need from your job? Is it financial security or professional stature? Is it a secure position or the next step in your career? Be honest with yourself, your gifts and your challenges.
18 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
5. How can we merge these likes, dislikes, wants and needs into a position that works for you? Without a clear understanding of who you are and who you want to be, every day will pretty much look like any other day. 6. Where do we start? The simple answer is...with education. Yes, I know, you’ve heard that so many times that you may just explode. But let’s look at the realities. Regardless of where you fall in the office hierarchy, education is the foundation for upward and outward mobility. While I am a firm believer in the necessity for post-secondary education for every eye care professional, education comes in many forms other than in a campus classroom. Local, state and national venues are available nearly 12 months of the year, offering a wide variety of educational opportunities, from billing and coding to practice benchmarking. Trade shows are fun and exciting, but while you’re snapping up “freebies” in a vendor’s booth, the serious business of education is also being conducted by professional educators covering a mind-boggling range of topics. The necessity for education only ends when technology stops advancing. Only then, can we sit back and confidently say that we know everything we need to know to properly help our patients. Education is more than a collection of multi-colored certificates attesting to your presence in a room, on time and for the full 50 minutes. Education is work. It doesn’t have to be unpleasant work, but it does require a desire to learn and to advance professionally. Nobody wants to take that English class or that Algebra class, but try to get out of high school or college without them. The best thing about education now, is that it is so available. The internet has opened more educational opportunities than could have been imagined even less than a generation ago. Online education is available for MDs, ODs, Opticans and Technicians. The excuse that “there’s nothing in my area” simply doesn’t hold water anymore. A simple Google search
provides an enormous amount of information on available classes and programs. The National Federation of Opticianry Schools (www.nfos.org) has directed students and potential students to both oncampus programs as well as distance learning programs for years with great success. Charter Oak State University (www.charteroak.edu) offers an online undergraduate degree in Optical Business Management. The great advantage of online or distance education is its flexibility; the freedom to pursue education outside of regular working hours. The great disadvantage is its isolation; great if you’re a self-starter, not so much if you need the interaction of a “live” classroom. Educational opportunities are all around you. It may be a single pearl of wisdom hidden in a vendor presentation, in a blog, or it may present itself as part of a casual conversation at a convention. Just remember that the true test, the great equalizer is formal education. Like it or not, that nicely framed piece of paper hanging on the wall is your professional identity. No responsible eye care professional can survive using the mantra of “it was good enough for (grandparent, parent or sibling), and it’s good enough for me.” That log has anchored Opticianry to the bottom of the ECP pool for an eternity. Optometry, on the other hand, has expanded its scope of practice over the past 100 years from providing simple refractions to incorporating therapeutic medications and procedures, even limited surgical privileges in a few states. The bottom line is if you are unhappy with what you’re doing or where you are or your ability to advance professionally, stop complaining and do something about it. It’s NEVER too late. It’s time to grow...UP. ■
Progressivelenses.com APRIL 2012 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | 19
MARKETING OPTICIAN Lindsey Getz
Selling Sports Eyewear
eyewear can actually enhance their game. For instance, sunwear designed for golfers can help them to better distinguish fairways and greens, keep track of the ball, and of course protect the eyes from the sun. Golfers should look for a lens that will absorb blue light in order to help enhance the greens of the course. Explaining how it can make them more competitive is a great approach to the sale. While this is a popular time of year for golf, there are literally sports eyewear styles for every activity. Target your patient’s specific sport and explain what eyewear might suit them best. For instance, for cyclists, who are traveling at higher speeds, it’s important to seek out a wrap frame that will help shield some of the wind that can dry out the eyes. For those participating in water sports or activities, a polarized lens would be ideal to help cut the glare off the water surface. Rudy Project is one company that has eyewear for every type of sporting activity.
Rudy Project’s new Hypermask in black purple
Consider these tips to boost your sports eyewear sales Now full-swing into the warmer months, sports eyewear sales are poised to take off. Clients are bound to be spending more time outdoors playing their favorite sports and participating in other outdoor recreation. When clients come in for a regular exam or ophthalmic fitting, make sure you’re also pitching sports eyewear as a second sale. There are several approaches to take in selling sports eyewear. Consider one or more of these tactics. Target the Sport Anyone who participates in a sport is well aware of the sportspecific gear they need to perform at their best (and safest)—a helmet, the proper footwear, knee pads, shin guards, golf clubs, etc. Your job as an optical retailer is to convince the patient that the right sports eyewear should also be part of their necessary sports gear. Educate the client on the fact that the proper
Don’t Forget about the Non-Traditional Sports While focusing on specific sports and educating your clients about the frames that would benefit them most is important, don’t overlook non-traditional sports. Golfers or baseball or basketball players certainly have specific eyewear needs but so do waterskiers, frisbee golfers, and bocce ball players. When you start including some of these non-traditional sports and activities, you encompass a much larger portion of your patient base. Be careful not to always refer to athletes as your traditional sports stars. Those that participate in less traditional recreation take their sports quite seriously and if you do too, they’ll really appreciate the interest. Find out what it is that your client enjoys in their free time and come up with the eyewear that will suit them best. You can do this by asking lifestyle questions during the exam or even having patients fill out that information on your typical office forms. Once you know the sports they like, you can really target your pitch. That customized attention makes a sales pitch much more attractive. Don’t Typecast an Athlete Just like you shouldn’t only consider the traditional sports, you shouldn’t assume that an athlete will be a certain age or build. Continued on page 22
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Baby boomers are more likely than ever before to participate in sports activities as they’ve embraced the importance of staying active into their later years. And even if a patient doesn’t “look the part” they may very well be a “weekend warrior” and only participating in sports from time-to-time. Still, these clients may be just as likely as the regular athlete to buy sports eyewear. Perhaps even more so if they’re looking to build their abilities and skills. Focus on Safety The importance of UV protection is a message that helps sell any sunwear. But for clients who are spending a large amount of time outdoors to participate in sports and recreation, it should be a particularly easy sell. By now, the average person is well aware of the detrimental effects of the sun on both the skin and the eyes. But it’s not just sun protection that sports participants need to focus on. According to Prevent Blindness America (PBA), more than 100,000 eye injuries in the United States each year are estimated to be sports-related. Ninety percent of these injuries could have been avoided with protective sports eyewear. Many of these patients are children. In fact, PBA estimates that every 13 minutes a child heads to the emergency room with a sportsrelated injury. Statistics show that 72 percent of sports-related eye injuries happen to those ages 25 and younger, yet only 15 percent of children wear protective eyewear. This is an opportunity to educate clients on the importance of getting the right gear and protecting their eyes.
Become the Expert If you want to sell a lot of sports eyewear, you really have to position yourself as the expert. The knowledge of what frames will work for which sports is obviously critical, but if your dispensary is all focused on fashion or ophthalmic styles, then clients aren’t really going to see you as a “go-to” for sports. The opportunities to discuss sports eyewear may be dismissed before you even make your pitch. You want patients thinking about a sports eyewear purchase from the moment they step foot in your dispensary. Make sure at least an area of your dispensary is dedicated to displaying sports eyewear and marketing materials. Use décor to your advantage. Besides sports posters showing famous athletes wearing frames, bring in some balls or other sports equipment to create a display that will generate attention. Make it easy for patients to wander over to that area while they’re waiting to be seen by the doctor. Get Hands-On Your active clients are going to want to try on the sports eyewear to get a sense of the look and the fit. But just looking at them in a dispensary mirror might not be enough for the sell. After all, these patients are not looking for sunwear to wear indoors. Have them physically step outside in the sun so they can see the difference the sunwear offers. They’ll see how the lenses cut the glare or make the grass seem greener. Maybe get creative and create testing areas where patients can actually try out the eyewear in a sports setting. If you think you’d sell a lot more golf-related eyewear by setting up a little putting zone, it might be worth the investment. ■
THE MOBILE OPTICIAN Ginny Johnson, LDO, ABOC
THE FOLLOWING ECP reading material may contain some disturbing thoughts and reverse psychology. Names have been withheld since they don’t really matter. Just when you thought it was safe to say you were having a spectacular ECP day at work...here comes...Trouble.
Refund policies vary. There are decision makers that are quick to grab their checkbook to write Trouble a refund, those that refuse to ever give refunds and case by case refund decision makers.
Recently I listened to a discussion between several Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble ECP practices on the topic of refunds and I ended up Trouble been doggin’ our specs leaving the room thinking That’s great! We can’t wait Since the day they went blur about how far off course to welcome Trouble’s behavior some of their reasoning with open minds and our undivided attention. What a memorable ECP learning experi- seemed to me. One ECP was so angry as he tried to prove his ence it is whenever Trouble shows up. Hey Trouble, pick me, point about never giving anyone their money back. No refunds. No matter what. Too bad so sad. Let them go somewhere else. pick me. Tell them to get out and never come back. I actually felt sorry Trouble has no specific age, race, gender or job description. for this guy who continued to interrupt others as they tried to Don’t expect Trouble to give you any forewarning. The larger get a word in on how they handle Trouble. I contained myself the audience the more Trouble likes to be the center of from standing up and shouting L.O.V.E. during the middle of attention. That’s why it makes sense for every practice to have a the discussion. Instead I decided it would be safer for me to chain of command with specific guidelines to follow when shout it out in print. faced with Trouble. When you are faced with Trouble’s refund request then How do you handle Trouble with refund mentality? acknowledging that refund request is going to be necessary. However, listening to Trouble and immediately throwing up in “These glasses aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do. I can’t their face or vomiting the fact that there are “NO refunds” see and everything’s blurry. You said they would be good and should be avoided at all costs. I hate them. I want a refund so I can take my prescription somewhere else!” Think about a time when (in your mind) you had legitimate complaints about a product, requested a refund and without Answer: L.O.V.E. hesitation the person that served you when you made the Listen purchase replied “NO refunds”. Leading with those non-negoOwn up tiable words of closure can create Trouble on steroids. Trouble Verify will climb the chain of command in a heartbeat. If you are the Empathize chain of command then Trouble may take their complaints in a different direction to outside sources. Listen to Trouble’s version of the story. Own up to your ECP role in the situation. Verify that you understand what Trouble is Don’t put off or avoid Trouble once you are aware of their telling you and repeat it back. Empathize with Trouble and have complaints. Trouble will usually tell 10-12 people about a a positive end result in sight. business that provided poor service. You don’t want or need 24 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
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that to happen. Trouble may even kick it up a notch and scroll down social media avenue telling millions. The internet is like a gigantic business card for your practice that the entire universe has access to. Trouble may very well decide to post some free dumb of speech stuff about your practice since you did not show them L.O.V.E. Bad social media interaction can be spread virally in seconds. It is smart to stay up-to-date with social media patient engagement. If you have social media networking brainiacs on staff then divvy up the internet responsibilities and set aside ample time for them to tweet, post, blog and video. Online questions, comments or complaints should be addressed daily. Any damaging reviews should be resolved and removed yesterday. Trouble may have legitimate complaints that are just channeled improperly. In the above refund mentality example, Trouble had been unhappy for several months so someone was going to get an earful. Trouble’s frustration ended up having nothing to do with the eyewear. It took ECP ears, empathy and five minutes with the O.D. to turn Trouble’s frown upside down. Never mind that it took so long for Trouble to decide to come back to us. Whether it’s been a week, a month or a year, time is irrelevant at the moment. Not being satisfied carries no grace period in Trouble’s mind. If you zero in on time before dissatisfaction then you lack empathy in the eyes of Trouble.
If Trouble threatens unlawful behavior then cover your ears and run. Sorry, I just had a flashback from a practice I was working in a few years ago. One of the policies was not to try and reason with an angry patient without the doctor. So our front desk staff member jumped up from her seat and covered her ears and ran when Trouble threatened to stay there forever until we fixed his problem. Your practice really should have a panic button, code word or sign that staff uses when law enforcement help is needed. If Trouble threatens to get Sue involved then your legal adviser for the practice should step in and advise you on how to further communicate with Trouble and Sue. I saved the most challenging type of Trouble for last. That’s the Shh...Trouble that doesn’t speak up before they decide to take their business elsewhere. The ECP wasn’t even aware that something went wrong and Trouble wasn’t going to tell them. We’ve all inherited Shh...Trouble from other ECP practices and at times we are shocked to hear their reason for leaving. If Shh...Trouble felt ripped off, ignored or mistreated by that “other” practice then continue to shower them with L.O.V.E. seeking the best in sight. You don’t ever have to dread seeing Trouble walk through the front door if you don’t want to. Just put your L.O.V.E. to the test and show them that money can’t buy you L.O.V.E! ■
Find The Clariti Eyewear Logo Contest ON THE FRONT COVER of this Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine we have hidden the Clariti Eyewear logo. It should be pretty easy to find so identify the location and submit your entry to win a free Konishi FLEX Frame and $ 50.00 Macy’s Gift Card. Each entry should include your guess on the location of the logo with your name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address. The entries should be submitted to dmeyers@brandDNAinc.com for a drawing on June 1st, 2012 to determine the winning entry. The winner will be announced in the August Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine.
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Rudy Project North America Renames Company RACE According to a statement from the company, the RACE name is more descriptive of RPNA’s plans to expand its business beyond Rudy Project branded eyewear, helmets, clothing and accessories and XX2i eyewear. “In the near future, RPNA will be expanding its offerings, and in order to not create confusion with Rudy Project Italy, RPNA is changing its holding name to RACE,” said Brad Shapiro, principal and co-founder of RPNA. “RACE will initially distribute Rudy Project products and XX2i Optics.”
Rudy Project North America, LP (RPNA) has announced that it is now doing business under the name, Running and Cycling Enterprises (RACE). In addition to Rudy Project branded products, RACE will also distribute XX2i Optics (XX2i), an affordable eyewear line. RPNA and XX2i will still conduct business under their respective names, operating under the RACE umbrella.
Added Paul Craig, president and co-founder of RPNA, “Inspired by the desire to continuously create award-winning, high quality products that meet athletes’ needs, we created RACE. It provides a lot of flexibility to expand our product line in the future.” The RPNA business will not be affected by the name change, the company said. RPNA eyewear, helmets, clothing and accessories will still be branded Rudy Project and distributed by RACE. The case is the same case for XX2i branded product.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS Davis Vision
Steve Holden has stepped down as president of Davis Vision, a position he has held since August 2008, according to parent company HVHC Inc. The company also announced other staffing changes that will affect its three Steve Holden business units. Bob Cox, formerly the vice president of human resources with Visionworks of America, will assume new responsibilities as senior vice president for HVHC human resources shared services. Cheryl Grobelny, a 14-year veteran with Viva International Group, will be the new vice president of HVHC talent management, a newlycreated position.
EyeCarePro has announced the appointment of Michael Porat to the new position of chief operating officer. He is a 20-year medical industry veteran who previously worked as a hospital administrator for HCA, and grew his Michael Porat career by employing a business development approach for rapidly developing a company. He was part of the team that took HealthStream from a small private company to a publicly traded entity and has helped to grow numerous medical companies since.
Transitions Optical Transitions Optical has appointed Pat Huot director, managed vision care (MVC) and online retail. In this position, Huot will expand his current responsibilities—developing partnerships and programs to influence Pat Huot the managed vision care channel—to include developing strategies that support the industry and create growth with Transitions lenses in emerging online retail distribution channels. Huot will also continue to serve as part of the North American leadership team for Transitions Optical.
Costa Sunglasses Costa Sunglasses announced the addition of Renato Cappuccitti as director of sales for its Rx sun lens division. He was previously the director of professional and business development for For Eyes Optical, one of the nation’s Renato Cappuccitti largest optical chains. He is a licensed optician and has served as a board member of the National Association of Opticians for four years. Cappuccitti has also held management positions within Hoya Vision Systems (now a Carl Zeiss laboratory), Rodenstock North America and Rodenstock Canada.
Marcolin USA Marcolin USA has announced the appointment of Greg Pollock as the eastern vice president for the optical channel. Pollock will work with Ben Wolf, western vice president of the optical channel in leading the growth for Greg Pollock that segment and report directly to Fabrizio Gamberini, CEO and general manager for Marcolin USA.
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First Insight Software developer First Insight Corp. has named Chad Steward vice president of sales. He will be responsible for building business relationships with eyecare professionals for First Insight, the developer of MaximEyes Chad Steward practice management and ONC-ATCB-certified EHR software. Prior to joining First Insight, Steward was vice president of sales for Merge Healthcare (formerly Ophthalmic Imaging Systems), where he developed and managed marketing and sales tactics for specialty EMR/EHR solutions.
QSpex Kevin Bligh has joined the senior management team of QSpex Technologies, Inc. as vice president of sales and marketing. Bligh brings over 25 years of industry experience to QSpex, including senior management Kevin Bligh positions at Optical Connection, Inc. and UltraVision Corp. He was also general manager for the optical channel of Revo, Inc. and national sales manager for Essilor’s Logo Paris, Inc. division.
Rudy Project Kevin Young is the newest member to join the Rudy Project sales team, and will be covering Florida’s central and west coast. In 2006, Young joined Luxottica Group, which launched his career in the optical industry. Kevin Young After almost 2 years, he accepted a management position with L’Oreal USA. In 2010 he got back in the optical industry.
Eye Q Eyewear
Steve Gintis has joined Eye Q Eyewear in the new role of senior vice president. He has longterm experience in the eyewear business in sales, operations and licensing including executive roles with such companies as LBI Eyewear, SFG Inc and Diplomat-Ambassador.
Alain Mikli International Alain Mikli International Group has announced the hiring of a new sales director for the U.S., Donna Hoffman. She will oversee the U.S. sales for the company, focusing on the management of the sales team, training and Donna Hoffman increase of sales in the country. Hoffman joins the company with more than 20 years of sales experience in the optical industry. She has previously worked for key industry companies such as Viva International, Lantis Eyewear and Marcolin.
Lafont USA Lafont USA has announced the addition of two new executives to their management team. Michelle Davidson has been hired as sales manager and Kristin Calimlim (L)Kristin Calimlim, has been brought on as brand (R)Michelle Davidson manager. Both will join Raymond Khalil, president of Lafont USA, in ushering in Lafont’s newest chapter of growth, according to a statement from the company.
Will be missed ...Irvin Borish, OD Irvin Max Borish, OD, who was widely acknowledged as the father of modern optometry, passed away last month, in Boca Raton after a brief illness. He turned 99 years old in January. Dr. Borish made Irvin Max Borish numerous contributions to optometry, including contact lens developments, leadership in the development of the profession, and authorship of the leading optometry book for decades, “Clinical Refraction,” according to the Indiana University School of Optometry. Dr. Borish authored over 85 articles and nine textbooks during his career as an optometric educator. He lectured in over 45 countries and served as a visiting faculty member at almost every U.S. and Canadian school of optometry. He was also an inventor, holding five patents in the contact lens field.
MANAGING OPTICIAN Anthony Record, ABO/NCLE, RDO
Whatever You Say... Don’t Say That Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We are far too eager to leap to conclusions as we are to take advantage of opportunity. And believe it or not, when you have an irate customer, unhappy patient, or crazy client (feel free to insert any description or euphemism here), what you really have is an opportunity. Studies show that when a client is upset with someone or something about your practice, if you can resolve the conflict immediately – and do so by meeting or exceeding the patient’s expectations – more than ninety-five percent of them will do business with you again. Anecdotally, I have observed over the years that these very patients often become your loudest and most enthusiastic word-of-mouth cheerleaders. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a few (very few) clients we are glad to see go: those who are always rude, disruptive and disrespectful to other clients or staff; those who are completely unreasonable; and let’s just say it: the truly crazy. But never lose sight of the fact that probably all but a very “elite” few upset customers are simply decent, reasonable people who due to some event have experienced a temporary loss of reasonability. My goal is to retain these clients in my practice. If that’s your goal too, avoid the following words and phrases when attempting to resolve the situation. Unreasonable, freaking out...or any other synonym for “upset.” Assigning one of those terms to your client’s behavior will only exacerbate the behavior. If you must refer to it at all – and you should try to avoid it altogether – simply use the word “upset” – making sure your tone of voice and body language is also appropriate.
Calm down. Asking or telling an upset customer to calm down is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline onto it. The wise ECP allows the customer to vent, and when appropriate, in a calm voice, begins the resolution process with a sincere, soft-spoken apology: “I’m sorry Ms. Miller. Here’s what we can do...” By using that kind of language you have begun to form a team with the upset customer. It no longer feels to her that it’s her against you or your practice. It now feels more like it’s her and you against the problem. You are now a team. I can’t, no, or any other words or phrases that convey a can’t-do attitude. You have to be creative here. Rather than saying no or I can’t, how about, “It’s usually our manager, John, who takes care of this, but let me see what I can do to help...” much better. Unfortunately. This one almost has a Pavlovian effect on an upset patient. Replace it with a less troubling phrase like, “as it turns out.” Correcting an insignificant error. One of the biggest errors an ECP can make while calming an upset customer is to correct the upset person when he or she makes an error. For example, imagine a client is ranting about a pair of glasses that is late. It was promised in a week, and it’s going on two. She says, “I ordered these things last Monday, and you promised they’d be here by this Monday, and now it’s Friday!” The worst response to that would be, “First of all, they weren’t ordered last Monday, it was Tuesday. And it wasn’t me that placed the order, it was Mike. Oh and by the way, today is Thursday,” Ouch! While all three of those corrections may be accurate, you have once again doused the whole event with words that act like gas on the fire. Do so at your own peril. Another example of correcting an insignificant error is if the client mispronounces Continued on page 32
30 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
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your name. Who cares? Focus on the goal: retaining this otherwise reasonable person. The fact that you got her to call you Deborah when she insisted on Debbie will not help at all. She’s not available right now; I’ll give you her voicemail. Where to start? First, even if you were to go this route, ordering an upset client around is probably not a great idea. If you must hand off the client to your manager it would be much less problematic to ask. “She’s not available right now. May I give you her voicemail?” Better yet, try giving the upset client options that give him some control. How about, “My manager is in a meeting until one o’clock. Would you like to call back then or do you prefer to use her voicemail?” You’re confusing me. You may be wondering what’s wrong with this one. After all, it sounds innocent enough. It only feels innocent to you because at this moment you’re not the upset patient! The problem with this phrase – and any other like it – is the word “you.” Any time you pepper the conversation (remember your goal) with too many “you”s, it has the effect of seeming to shift the blame to the person to whom you are talking. A better choice would be, “I’m confused.” “I could help better if the form was filled out this way,” is less offensive than “you should have filled it out this way.”
That’s our policy. I saved the best for last. This one is probably the TOP phrase to avoid if you are dealing with an irate consumer. Get it? TOP – That’s Our Policy. “That’s our company policy” is just as annoying. All organizations have policies. Successful organizations know that policies are never as important as retaining a good customer. Wildly successful organizations have enough confidence in their associates to empower them to do whatever they think is reasonable to achieve the retention goal. If you find yourself working in an environment that does have strict policies and you simply do not have the authority to deviate from them, try communicating that to the client without using the “p” word. Try something like, “Normally when something like this happens what we do is...” Same substance, but you successfully avoided the phrase that could be a catalyst to further upset. Rather than referencing “policy” or telling someone what you can’t do, tell them what you can do. Why not try an upbeat, “How would it be if I...” A patient would be much more receptive to something like that. It’s challenging enough when we encounter an upset customer. If we’re not careful, by our own choice of words we can make it worse. If it’s not illegal, and it’s not immoral, do whatever it takes to retain your most valuable asset: your clients. Avoid some of the words and phrases described here and you’re well on the way to doing just that. ■
ONLINE DISPENSING Robert Flippin, LDO
BUYING GLASSES ONLINE: Is it Such a Good Idea? I know that it is tempting and almost sounds too good to be true that you can purchase a pair of prescription eyewear from the comfort of your home, have them mailed to you, fit well and all for about half the price that you would normally pay your local optician or doctor. ow, that sounds great but have you ever wondered how it is possible that the online retailer can sell so cheaply or did you just assume that you have been grossly overcharged for all of these years? Let’s take a closer look and compare the pros and cons of trusting your vision to the internet.
care professional refuses to provide you with that information they will instruct you to have a friend measure you or have you attempt to measure your own PD with a ruler that you can easily print out. Problem solved, now on to the next step which is choosing the proper lens design for your prescription and the treatments or enhancements to make them work even better.
You have just finished your eye exam and the doctor has taken the time to write a prescription that is unique to you for the correction of your visual deficiencies. Instead of bringing that prescription in to have it filled by a licensed optician, you choose to visit an online retailer and get a deal on your new pair of glasses. The selections are great and you can even upload a photo of yourself to ‘virtually’ try on hundreds of pairs of glasses until you find that one pair that makes you look like a rock star. You select a pair of frames and move on to the next step which is entering your prescription.
Your prescription is one for bifocals so you can choose to have a line or no line at all. You choose the ones without the lines or the progressive lenses. Next you can choose from the thinner, lighter weight lenses or the thicker and heavier lenses. You choose the thinner option. Next you can get lenses with glare and reflections or without. You choose without and even pop for the better coating because you are saving so much money. Just one more option to go and you are all done. Do you want the lenses that adapt and automatically adjust to changing light conditions or the ones that stay clear? You choose the smart lenses that change and checkout feeling great because you are going to get a pair of glasses that are fashionable, lightweight, and do so many cool things and all for so much less than the optician would normally charge. Sounds great right?
When you get the prescription entered you come to a required number that you don’t have on the form and that is one for your pupillary distance or PD. Not to worry though because the help box tells you to call your doctor or optician and they will give you that information. If your eye 34 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
When the glasses arrive you can hardly wait to try them on so you run to the mirror, put them on and they are crooked. You fiddle with them a bit and also notice that they slide down on your nose so you get on the computer and ask for help. No problem they tell you, just have your local optician adjust them for you. When you visit your optician they inquire as to where you bought your glasses and then inform you that there will be a twenty five dollar fee to adjust any glasses not purchased there and furthermore they would not be responsible if something were to break because they did not sell them to you. You are mad because they have never charged you before to adjust glasses and you demand an explanation. The optician patiently informs you that unlike most other items you purchase, the price you pay for glasses has a lifetime of service built into the cost. Have you ever bought a set of tires for your car and been able to return to the dealer as often as you wish for free alignments? No, but if you could the tires would be more expensive because the dealer would have to factor the additional service costs over the life of the tires, plus salaries, inventory and overhead for all of the ‘free work’ they provide. The optician patiently adjusts your new glasses and they feel better, but you notice that the earpieces come way around your ear and almost look like earrings poking below your ear. The temples are too long for you but how were you supposed to know they came in different lengths or for that matter what size you needed? You also realize that now that they are adjusted properly, your vision is not as good as you think it should be and you want to know why. The optician agrees to verify the prescription and the fabrication standards of the glasses for an additional fee and provide it in writing for ten dollars. You are outraged at the fee but agree, and the results of the analysis are as follows. Your prescription lenses are slightly outside of power tolerances. The progressive lens that you chose is not fit at the proper height for you and that is making your reading more difficult because the internet provider guessed at a fitting height for your lenses because you were not there in person to be measured properly. Your pupillary distance is not correct because the equipment that the optician uses measures the corneal reflection of your pupils and not the distance between the two black spots. Furthermore we would have fit you in a progressive lens design that is more suited for how you use your eyes. They
didn’t tell you that there are more than three hundred different lenses available and we are trained to match your needs with the lens design, did they? Lastly, when you return to the doctor because you are not seeing well, the doctor will have a hard time sorting out whether you need a slight prescription change or if you would see as they intended if the glasses were made properly to begin with. Remake and shipping nightmare! The internet company will remake your glasses, but based on what? You are still not available for a personal visit and you are going to be out more time and money in shipping charges, time and frustration. Is it still such a great deal? Even in the best case scenario you may have been able to see just fine but probably not as well as if you had a personal fitting. You would still need to come to someone for adjustments and repairs which will cost you money and if you need a slight prescription change it could become a nightmare scenario. Over the long term, my opinion is that you have saved little if anything and most likely will spend more and never be quite as satisfied or well taken care of if you had only trusted your vision to a licensed optician. I ensure that my patients are fit properly and in the best lenses for their individual needs. I verify that the lenses are made to the standard set forth by the laws that govern my license and I will personally stand behind the products and services I provide my patients because I am a licensed optician. I am here, in person, for you and your family to adjust, maintain and care for your visual needs and to be that patient advocate between you and the doctor of your choice. If, however, you would rather have an internet provider be your advocate, possibly incur additional shipping charges, and never be quite sure of the accuracy of the product provided, please feel free. And maybe, just maybe, if you push your face tightly to the monitor they can bend the temples around your ears so they don’t hurt quite as much! ■
OD PERSPECTIVE Jason Smith, OD, MS
Strabismus and Amblyopia
A mother and her son came in to see me to have their eyes examined. The mother explained that her 19 year old son had reduced vision in his left eye since he was a child. There were attempts to patch the “bad” eye, but that did not help. Glasses were prescribed at an early age but were never used by the patient. They had seen an eye doctor a year ago and were now looking for another opinion. She also inquired about Lasik surgery, wondering if this may help improve her son’s vision. I checked the patient’s visual acuity: OD: 20/30 and OS: 20/200. A trial frame refraction was done with the following results: OD: -0.75, Va: 20/20 and OS: +0.50-0.75 X 160, Va:20/200. There were no signs of strabismus and all visual health tests were normal. I proceeded to explain my findings to the mother and her son. I advised them both that Lasik surgery would not correct nor cure the condition called amblyopia. This patient had a visual disability in his left eye which has been there for a long time and will not improve with glasses or contact lenses. Because he noticed an improvement with the -0.75 prescription
placed in front of the right eye and his “perception” allowed him to be more comfortable with the prescription for his left eye, he decided to order a pair of glasses. I mentioned to him that he should always have polycarbonate or Trivex lenses as a safety precaution since he functionally only had one eye. There is a slight hope that with the use of lens therapy his vision in the left eye may improve by a few letters or a line of vision. But I stressed the point that I did not want to provide false hope. This is a case where something was not detected during this patient’s developmental years (birth through age seven) that has now resulted in a vision problem with most probably permanency. Parents, teachers, school nurses, pediatricians, and people doing vision screenings missed a problem that could have been treated successfully early in this patient’s life. Now the patient has best corrected visual acuity of 20/200. School screenings have a good intention but they are not always successful in finding problems that may exist. It is a reason why certain states have passed legislation requiring children to have an eye exam before entering school each year. But this law does not exist nationwide as it probably should. The National Commission on Vision and Health states, “Undetected and untreated eye disorders, such as amblyopia and strabismus, can result in delayed reading and poorer outcomes in school. Studies indicate that visual factors are better predictors of academic success than race or socioeconomic status. However, one in four school-age children suffer from vision problems that could have been treated if the child had been properly screened upon entering school. Studies show that while prevalence rates vary between demographic groups, there is an increasing need for eye care among children: 25% of children aged 5-17 have a vision problem. 79% have not visited an eye care provider in the past year. 35% have never seen an eye care professional. 40% who fail an initial vision screening do not receive the appropriate follow up care. Younger children entering school are even less likely than teenagers to receive vision services. Only one out of 13 children under six years of age visited an eye care provider, compared with about one third of adolescents aged 12-17.” Amblyopia is usually considered to be any nonspecific loss of visual acuity. It is a condition of decreased visual acuity oftentimes not correctable by refractive means and not attributable to obvious structural or pathologic problems. Two types Continued on page 38
36 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
of amblyopia include organic and functional. Organic has been referred to as pathologic amblyopia because the amblyopia can be caused by an inherited defect or the visual pathway has been compromised by a toxic or metabolic disturbance. This type of amblyopia is usually irreversible. Functional amblyopia can usually be treated or reversed to some degree if it is caught early enough in the child’s life. This type of amblyopia develops due to an inadequate stimulation of the visual system or a lack of initial and continued use or visual depravation. Typical causes include uncorrected refractive errors, nerve damage or muscle imbalances (strabismus). According to the late Dr. Irvin Borish, “strabismus is defined as an ocular condition which is characterized by the use of one eye for fixation while the other eye is directed to some other point in the field of vision.” Strabismic and anisometropic amblyopia are two types of functional amblyopia. They are different because one is related to an eye turn and the other is related to the difference in refractive conditions between both eyes. Anisometropic amblyopia has also been referred to as refractive amblyopia. And refractive/anisometropic and strabismic amblyopia can occur to the same eye simultaneously. The word amblyopia comes from the Greek word “amblyos” meaning dull and “opia” meaning vision. Amblyopia usually affects one eye. Visual acuity can range from mildly abnormal to functional blindness, but it usually is quite poor in the area of 20/200. Treatment includes patching therapy, lens therapy including glasses or contact lenses, frosted lens therapy, prism therapy, occlusion, vision training and vision exercises, surgery, and the use of eye drops. Vision therapy, vision training, or eye exercises are designed to resolve problems associated with motor control, spatial perception, accommodative deficiencies, and binocular function. Atropine eye drops are used in the betterseeing eye to force the weaker eye to “work” more efficiently. However, long-term usage can lead to systemic issues. If the amblyopia does not respond to non-surgical techniques such as corrective lenses and patching, then surgical muscle surgery may be necessary in order to align the images on the fovea and reduce the amblyopia. Medical and surgical intervention may be necessary if the amblyopia is caused by cataracts, ptosis, opaque corneas, hyphema, or vitreous clouding. In other words, the underlying cause must be treated prior to addressing the amblyopia itself. Other causes of amblyopia include anisometropia (unequal refractive conditions) which leads to aniseikonia (a difference in the size of ocular images). There are three primary methods for vision assessment: school-based vision screening programs, community-based or office based screening programs, and comprehensive eye exams conducted by an eye care professional. The research consistently suggests that children are being examined and/or screened at very low rates. Only 22 percent of 38 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
preschool-children received some vision screening, and only 15 percent received an eye exam. In addition, studies have found that physicians do not consistently conduct vision screenings on children. Although eye problems can be detected early, vision exam and screening requirements for school-aged children vary widely by state. In fact, 16 states have no eye exam or vision screening requirements as children enter school or during the school year. As a result, children with reading difficulty fall into two categories: those with undiagnosed eye problems and those with untreated visual problems. Some states like Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky require eye exams for children before entering the school year. Children who are successfully treated for their eye problems show increased performance in school. One study found that the provision of eye glasses and vision therapy to children is correlated positively with improved grades and higher scores on standardized tests. The prognosis for improvement or recovery of visual acuity for amblyopia depends upon several factors. These include the type of functional amblyopia, the status of monocular fixation, the age of the patient, the age when treatment begins, the type of treatment prescribed, and the cooperation level of the patient. Many children are resistant to patching therapy as well as having drops placed in their eyes. Surgical intervention under anesthesia always has its risks and is often a multi-surgery option. Young children are attempting to be accepted by their friends and classmates and to “fit in”. Wearing a frosted lens or a thickened prismatic lens can induce unnecessary ridicule and reduce the potential for success. Encouragement and a positive view of the treatment may help a child deal with some unnecessary encounters with their peers. It is hoped that eye care professionals, parents, pediatricians, and nurses doing school screenings will realize that not finding a vision problem early in a child’s life can have very serious consequences for the child’s lifetime. School screenings must improve their ability to detect visual disorders and refer the student to the appropriate eye care professional. All states should pass mandatory eye examination laws in order to protect our children as well as to improve their level of academic success. If the states do not pass these necessary laws, legislators on the federal level should take up the cause of protecting those children who may need protection the most. It should be mandatory that every pediatrician do a visual acuity test at distance and near for each eye and that the pediatrician be properly trained in the procedure. A few simple changes can mean the difference between a child being left with a lifelong disability versus a healthy, productive and visually sound future. ■
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SECOND GLANCE Elmer Friedman, OD
The Many Sides of
I WAS GOING to purchase a certain appliance. Our local newspaper ran an ad that offered a deal I could not refuse. I visited the store and was ready to make my purchase when the salesperson handed me a pamphlet that unfolded into six pages of solid gray. Half of the information appeared in very small print. It was intimidating but I felt obligated to read through it. The larger print explained their claims and benefits. That was the easy part. Then I had to wade through a quagmire of fine print that included ambiguities, disclaimers and legalese that would cross a lawyer’s eyes. As I continued to read on, I soon felt ocular fatigue, discomfort, strain and blur from my efforts to sustain a sense of normalcy. I seized a hand magnifier to assist the plus add in my eyeglass prescription. There are supposedly over 500 different types of fonts. Considering the manipulation of varying space and ink intensity, the results are endless and unfathomable by the man on the street. However, another link in the printing game has reared its ugly head. I refer to the very, very fine print, sometimes called mouseprint, that has entered our lives on many levels. Manufacturers use tiny print when disclaimers are printed in
40 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
connection with a commercial product or service. The manufacturer or merchant deceives the consumer into believing that the offer is better than what truly exists. Full disclosure is required by law but it does not specify the size, typeface, coloring, etc. The fine, fine print may say the opposite of what the regular large print describes. If the regular print says “pre-approved” the fine print will say “subject to approval.” Who hasn’t been frustrated by pharmaceutical products with labels or warning messages that resist the highest plus magnification in order to be comfortably read? The use of very fine print has been widely utilized by advertisers, particularly with a higher priced product or service or a special item not found in the normal market place. This nefarious practice has been used to mislead the consumer in reference to a product’s price, value or even the nutritional content of a food product. The unsuspecting customer may easily see all the attractive aspects of the offer without bothering to learn the caveats. In some cases the fine print may indicate that the seller has the right to modify the terms of a contract at any time with little or no advance warning. In some cases a seller may engage in the notorious “bait and switch” scheme. The customer who did not see that fine print will be told at the moment of purchase, that for one reason or the other, they won’t be eligible for the advertised offer. The seller reveals the fine print and now uses the “hard sell” to sell them a higher priced deal. Very frequently consumers, eager to obtain a product or
service they have a dire need or wish for (or they might have been coerced into buying) will sign their names to a binding contract. Get those bifocals on before it’s too late! You may be liable to the terms of the contract which will appear in the tiniest print imaginable. Extracting yourself from these terms may be quite costly or impossible for the consumer. For instance, a credit card advertises a 0% interest rate in larger, easy to see print. It may be revealed in fine print that it is an introductory offer and will increase to 19.95% or more. A cell phone contract may include, in the fine print, various fees unnoticed at first. A rather uncomfortable situation can result if the consumer does not abide by the time limits and expiration date bound by the contract.
bank disclosures for a checking account are now 111 pages long. We’ll need magnification lenses for every room in the house before long.
Even our ever popular TV ads are not immune from the temptation to irritate the consumer. There are cases where the fine print is displayed at the bottom of the screen in a manner that is not noticeable to most viewers or it may be shown in such a short space of time that one must freeze or tape the message to realize the full information it provides. The viewer’s attention is distracted by more eye catching visuals (read sexy) or larger print. In addition, there are some TV and radio commercials that can be considered in the category of “fine print” except it is verbal fine print. Many TV and radio commercials conclude with fast talking disclaimers. They are barely audible or comprehensible to most people.
We can assume that much of the Court’s decision was written in small print! I hope they were wearing their reading glasses during the examination of the legalese. In many cases, information buried in these disclosures generate fees, exclusions, and waivers that has cost our households more than $2,000 per year, or a total of about $250 billion annually, according to Transparency Labs , which administers a database of consumer contracts.
It has been found that only one or two out of every thousand retail shoppers choose to access the license, contract or agreement in question. Those few that do so spend too little time, as a rule, to have read more than a small portion of the text. At long last, Mutual Funds have taken pity on the presbyope client and revealed fees charged to 401(k) account holders. Airlines now must include all hidden fees and surcharges in their advertising. All is not lost. Recent legislation has resulted in more consumer friendly disclosures. The user agreement that comes with the new iPhone is a 32 page pamphlet that takes 30 minutes to read, says Brian Lawler. He is a professor of graphic communication at California State Polytechnic University at San Luis Obisbo. Lawler claims that margins of only about 1/8 of an inch cause the page to look like a “big gray mass with hardly any white space.” He feels that they just don’t want us to read it. Apple has responded that the small text is now easier to read on the latest iPhone. However, consumer advocates and corporate lawyers think these new moves may backfire. More pages of fine print will be generated instead of reducing them. Missy Sullivan writes for the Wall Street Journal and she avers that since products and regulations become more complex, so must the fine print that explains it all. Software contracts have grown by 600 words and
With proper education and enough plus for near, consumers can be warned to read the fine print and learn to see the red flags on an offer that is too good to be true. Many consumer advocates are active in lobbying for laws to limit the rights of an advertiser in usage of fine print to hide the truth and to expand the rights for consumers who fall prey to the mouseprint ads. Due to our free speech amendment it has become very difficult to pass these laws. Many such laws that have been passed have ultimately been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Better Business Bureau says that complaints regarding print or unclear documentation are now five times worse than reported in 2005. Confusion and foggy information may disguise everything ranging from minor nuisances to expensive penalties. Consider the high end sales, such as car purchases, which are most related to misleading language about trade-in deals and warranties. Elsewhere, fine print agreements have become a matter of course. This was helped by a Supreme Court ruling designed to keep consumer cases out of the court. Missy Sullivan reports that many major businesses such as banks, credit card companies, computer manufacturers and brokerages utilize this loophole and now notify the consumer of the fact, in fine print. This loophole requires the consumer to seek mandatory arbitration in cases of disputes hinging on the interpretation of the contract or lease. Inevitably, companies are on the defensive. They say the small print enigma is not their fault. Businessmen say they must protect themselves from those paralyzing class action lawsuits. These types of lawsuits have cost the business community tens of billions of dollars. Also, they add that government regulations are making disclosures longer and more complicated, resulting in a flood of extra pages of reading material. In the meantime, they all are reporting financial gains every year. All my money is saying is “goodbye,” and I don’t need magnifiers to tell me about it. ■
APRIL 2012 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | 41
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Unlocking the Treasure Chest! There are computer games – heck, there are zillions of computer games, that require you to solve riddles and perform feats of daring, puzzle solving, and agility to unlock a new world or treasure chest.
TECHNICOLOR EXPLOSIONS that would do Michael Bay proud usually accompany them. The real world seems a little less colorful than the make believe, but can be rewarding for those who put the effort in. I was thinking about this the other day after I took care of a client who seemed on the verge of catatonia as we discussed his “insurance” eyewear benefit. I think one quote from him was, “just gimme the freebies!” This non-responsive gent became a challenge to me as I attempted to engage him in an educational intervention about his eyewear needs. Through our conversation I uncovered two interesting things about this gentleman – he spends inordinate amounts of time on his computer and he recently took up golf. As soon as I engaged him in conversation about his two favorite pastimes his interest picked up, as I was a person who would listen to his description of his new gaming computer and the fancy new golf clubs he was interested in. From a somnolent cipher of a person willing to passively settle for “the freebies,” he became a participant in his own vision care. He readily understood how much more comfortable he would be with proper computer range glasses compared to his usual bifocals. He realized as I explained to him why his neck, shoulders, and eyes were so tired after 2 or 3 hours in front of the terminal. When he realized he could potentially play Call of Duty without discomfort for a few more hours (save for his wife’s er, comments) he saw the value in a separate pair of computer glasses (A/R coated Zeiss Business Lenses) for that part of his life. He made me very aware that his new Callaway golf clubs cost more than my first new car (many years ago, granted!). 46 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | APRIL 2012
In addition his golf activities were going to increase dramatically since he joined a league at a local club and would be playing several times a week. This led to a couple of suggestions, Rudy Project, Kaenon, and a couple of other great brands came to mind. After careful consideration we settled on a Rudy with the Rx in a clip-in and a couple of sets of interchangeable outer lenses for changing light conditions. It is very gratifying to have a successful conclusion to a situation like this. We now have a committed client who is on board with us as a proactive participant in his own eye care (and is a great source of referrals). His insurance covered his basic eyewear and his extra purchases were like buying accessories for his avocations. No technicolor explosions unfortunately but the insight gained was even better. Engagement rather than a passive taking of the order, conversation about a person’s needs and wants, so that the person becomes an ally and a friend of your practice in a much more real way then clicking “Like” on Facebook. Not that that is a bad thing – social media is necessary too, but when push comes to shove it is the person in the fitting seat that pays the bills. ■
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Published on Apr 9, 2012
Published on Apr 9, 2012
April 2012 Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine. A Business to Business publication that is distributed to decision makers and participant...