COLORS OF SUMMER / PAGE 6 ACCESSORIES & READERS CLOSEUP / PAGE 24 May 2012 • Volume 6, Issue 53 • www.ECPmag.com
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Vol. 6 Issue 53
COLORS OF SUMMER Brighten up your practice for the Summer with the latest in colorful eyewear and sunwear. by ECP Staff
STAFF MENTORING It’s never too early to begin implementing a succession plan at your practice.
by Anthony Record, RDO
DRUGSTORE EYEGLASSES Unless we clearly define all the services we have to offer, consumers will always consider “drugstore” eyewear. by Judy Canty, LDO
FRAME REP BREAKUPS Even though it might be difficult, ending your relationship with an unreliable rep might be necessary. by Laura Miller
SELLING ACCESSORIES Supplement your practice’s income by offering all different types of eyewear accessories. by Lindsey Getz
THE VISION OF OUR PRESIDENTS It may be surprising to discover the visual ailments that some of our most famous presidents had to overcome. by Elmer Friedman, OD
On The Cover: THE HOYA FREE-FORM COMPANY™ www.thehoyafreeformcompany.com
Departments EDITOR/VIEW .....................................................................................................4 INDUSTRY PROFILE........................................................................................20 MOVERS AND SHAKERS.................................................................................23 FRAME BOARD MANAGEMENT....................................................................28 LOW VISION ANGLE .......................................................................................36 ADVERTISER INDEX .......................................................................................42 INDUSTRY QUICK ACCESS............................................................................43 LAST LOOK .......................................................................................................46
EDITOR VIEW Jeff Smith
Google’s Prescription for Eyewear I’m sure most of you have heard about the new Google Glasses that set the internet abuzz last month. Even if you aren’t particularly interested, I would suggest googling “Google Glasses” or “Project Glass” to see the video of what could be the beginning of a significant development in eyewear. These web-ready, futuristic glasses are still in prototype form, and will not be released until the end of the year at the earliest. Google’s Project Glass, an enterprise in their secretive Google X lab, has spent years fine tuning this cutting edge product, and is asking internet users to post their thoughts and suggestions. The “Project Glass: one day...” video on YouTube has over 15m views, and shows what a day in the life of a Google glasses-wearer would be like. Shown literally through the eyes of a young New Yorker, the video starts with the glasses booting up. A series of icons flash into his field of vision, like in a science fiction movie. Making use of augmented reality technology and through voice commands, the wearer checks his messages, the weather, uses Google Maps to navigate the city streets, and uses a built-in video camera to send a picture to a friend. So how does this affect our industry? The question of whether they will be available in prescription form has seemingly been answered, as a Google employee stated that the technology that’s being incorporated could technically be inserted into a pair of prescription glasses. Oakley has reportedly been working on a similar, heads-up display (HUD) technology, which would project data onto lenses. Oakley CEO Colin Baden said the company has “been chasing this beast since 1997.” He told Bloomberg, “Ultimately, everything happens through your eyes, and the closer we can bring it to your eyes, the quicker the consumer is going to adopt the platform.” The biggest consumer companies are rushing to develop these “wearables,” a category of personal electronics that they hope will be the next big craze after the current, Apple driven tablet explosion, subsides. These developments may seem disconcerting, as they could conceivably hurt sales of conventional frames. But if you recall, Oakley did in fact pioneer a “wearable” frame years ago with its Thump sunglass that had a built in MP3 player. And that didn’t exactly take off. Perhaps these ultramodern glasses can help make eyewear fashionable in a new way. This technology is still in its infancy, and I would bet they will come up with a smaller, Bluetooth-like, attachment that you could just connect to your regular frames. Regardless, you can’t fight the future, so we can either adapt or get left behind. 4 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 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.
ADVERTISING & SALES (215) 355-6444 • (800) 914-4322 lgrande@ECPmag.com
EDITORIAL OFFICES 111 E. Pennsylvania Blvd. Feasterville, PA 19053 (215) 355-6444 • Fax (215) 355-7618 www.ECPmag.com editor@ECPmag.com EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ is published monthly by OptiCourier, Ltd. Delivered by Third Class Mail Volume 6 Number 53 TrademarkSM 1994 by OptiCourier, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher.
OptiCourier, Ltd. makes no warranty of any kind, either expressed, or implied, with regard to the material contained herein. OptiCourier, Ltd. is not responsible for any errors and omissions, typographical, clerical and otherwise. The possibility of errors does exist with respect to anything printed herein. It shall not be construed that OptiCourier, Ltd. endorses, promotes, subsidizes, advocates or is an agent or representative for any of the products, services or individuals in this publication.
For Back Issues and Reprints contact Jeff Smith, Publisher at 800-914-4322 or by Email: jeff@ECPmag.com Copyright © 2012 by OptiCourier Ltd. All Rights Reserved For Subscription Changes, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Scan this barcode with your smartphone to go to our website.
Style: Aurora ÂŠ 2012 Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. All Rights Reserved
MAY2012_REM.qxd 4/26/12 2:20 PM Page 1
Colors of Summer 1
1. Charmant EL18956 VO â€“ An elaborate multimetal-plated ELLE logo and daring color plays make this exotic acetate frame the most glamorous option for tropical summer days. A clever effect with color glints such as yellow flecked red or pink and green flecked blue ensures that these sunglasses embody flair and style. www.charmant-usa.com
2. Premiere Vision TAG Heuer Avant-Garde Eyewearâ€™s Rimless Curve series features an assortment of bright colored, statement-making temples. These handcrafted shield sunglasses provide optimum comfort and protection, making them perfect for summer sports and every day wear. www.tagheuer.com/eyewear
3. REM Eyewear Famous for its sun-soaked beaches, California is the birth place of Lucky Brand Jeans and the inspiration behind the hottest sunglasses this summer. In the Sunshine State your look is incomplete without the perfect pair of shades, so Lucky creates signature shapes to suit every face. www.remeyewear.com
4. theo theo is unwrapping radiant colors for the summer – straight from nature! The colors give the sunglasses a completely different dimension and perfectly complement Tim Van Steenbergen’s clothing collection. The characteristic of these frames is the metal sidepiece on the glasses. www.theo.be
5. Kaenon Georgia Jade Fade: The best-selling GEORGIA™ is a women’s sunglass style that fits a wide range of female face shapes. With sleek, clean and curved temples, GEORGIA is a fashion-driven piece that is at home on the beach and sea-side cafés of California or urban trend-centers of New York or Milan. www.kaenon.com
6. Rudy Project Weighing just under 0.78 ounces, ROB 2.0 shades are ideal for a day on the beach or out on a boat, in the country or in the city, or just about anything leisure. For those with vision correction needs, ROB 2.0 raises the bar in the sunglass arena with its highly refined RX option and broad parameters. www.rudyprojectusa.com
Cole Haan 961 – Designed with rich Italian acetates, the 961 is a women’s soft square eye shape featuring genuine natural bamboo temples and a sophisticated color palette of ink, plum and salmon that includes on-trend fades. www.cvoptical.com
Clark Eyewear Signature Eyewear presents the new Michael Stars, Style Flyer in Summer POP colors. This is a metal aviator with painted finishes chosen to complement Michael Stars clothing. The lenses are SOLA, CR-39 with maximum UV protection on gradient colors. www.sigeye.com
Clark 773 frames are constructed of the highest quality materials, including Mazzucchelli Zyl with spring temples for added comfort and durability, The 773 is available in 4 warm summer colors, Ivory (shown) Pink, Cognac and Light Brown. Backed by a two year warranty and sold exclusively in North America by National Lens. www.national-lens.com
eyebobs Yves Dropper – handmade, high-quality readers that are sophisticated and just a bit scandalous. Wear these reading glasses down on the nose and you’ll look totally engrossed in that book (even when you’re just listening in on all the hot gossip). www.eyebobs.com
Baby Banz Adventure Banz offer 100% UVA/UVB sun protection and come in 24 stylish colors! These polycarbonate, shatterresistant frames come in two sizes for ages 0-5. New spring colors include Camo Bloom, Red Leaf (shown here) and Navy Star. usa.babybanz.com
Trevi Coliseum is distributed exclusively in North America by National Lens. Tel: 866.923.5600 national-lens.com
ZIGGY® by Cendrine O.
MOREL’s 1880 Collection
ZIGGY® by Cendrine O. captures the colors of the outdoors in one of Cendrine’s newest creations, ZIGGY 1164 in brown/green. Constructed of lightweight stainless steel with eye-catching three dimensional temple accents. www.zig-eyewear.com
With its 50s look, 1880’s Margaux concept consists of 4 exclusively feminine models with wide temples: 3 acetate and one combination shape. Three butterfly “cat eye” shapes and one rectangular version are adorned with a decorative silver metal insert at the start of the temple. Margaux is offered in a trendy palette of solid or graduated acetates. www.morel-france.com
Mondottica USA Always testing boundaries, the Anna Sui Eyewear collection is fun and flirty, with daring colors and intricate details that make this collection a must have for the summer. Featured is AS853 in Red, this trendy frame also comes in Black in size 56/15-135. www.mondotticausa.com
Revolution Eyewear True Religion has released 6 new sun styles for their exquisite brand of couture eyewear which portrays the same Hippie, Bohemian-ChicFlare with a Vintage-Feel-Vibe that their jeans emit. Featured is the Jamie in Burgundy Pink. www.revolutioneyewear.com
Brighten your summer with Reptile model Basilisk, a sun-sational style. Both trendy and stylish, this sunglass is worn and adored by fashion innovators and sunglass enthusiasts alike. www.reptilesun.com
Pennsylvania College of Optometry Opens New Lab with Grant from Hoya
Mike Elton, Dr. Thomas Lewis, Salus University president, Barney Dougher, Dr. Anne-Marie Lahr, assistant professor; Dr. Linda Casser, PCO Dean
Hoya Vision Care funded an $80,000 grant for the renovation of the physical plant, audio visual system and educational equipment in S200, a Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University teaching laboratory. The new lab is a more contemporary environment for students to learn and practice their knowledge and skills in the clinical area of ophthalmic optics. “It is gratifying and humbling to be a part of the development and education in the future of our profession.” said Barney Dougher, President of HOYA Vision Care, North America. The Hoya Teaching Laboratory will be dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony to be attended by students, faculty, university leadership, and distinguished alumni as well as Mr. Barney Dougher, Mr. Mike Elton, Director of Professional Services, and Ms. Kathy Vojdani, Area Representative, for this important and exciting event. Beginning in January 2012, S200 is now referred to as the “Hoya Lab,” which was ready for students to use this Spring semester. The new facility boasts 2,200 square feet and accommodates 40 students at one time in three instructional areas. Dean Linda Casser, O.D. said “The Pennsylvania College of Optometry is truly fortunate that HOYA has so generously provided the financial support needed to renovate and contemporize such a key teaching laboratory in our program.”
MANAGING OPTICIAN Anthony Record, ABO/NCLE, RDO
Mentoring Team Members to Take Their Skills to the Next Level I recently had the honor of facilitating a management seminar at one of our military facilities...
built on three, fundamental components: mutual trust and commitment, patient leadership, and emotional maturity of all parties involved.
LIKE MOST CIVILIAN (AND OPTICAL) ORGANIZATIONS, it was experiencing many challenges. One in particular really hit home as it related to our industry. One of the managers’ chief complaints was the fact that as the senior welders are nearing retirement, there is simply no one qualified to take their place. The organization had missed the boat in terms of training, planning, and especially mentoring. It had no individual or group mentoring relationships in place. Surely the staff and the organization will suffer. Surely most eye care practices are in the same boat. What can we do to ensure that as we expand our practices and retire, staff members will be prepared to take their skills – and the practice we have worked so hard to build – to the next level? The mentoring process requires a commitment of time, energy, and planning. It is a process of development, not a shootfrom-the-hip, casual thing. The successful mentoring plan is
Invest in the lives of your team members. Learn who they are, use their names, ask about their families, hobbies, interests, aspirations, and struggles. While there is a fine line of not getting too involved in their personal lives and avoiding the role of psychologist or guidance counselor, showing interest in your staff members helps build relationships based on mutual trust, respect, and rapport. Encourage team members to determine their own personal strengths. Have them identify what they like about themselves, and build on their strengths in the practice. Point to past successes to build on them; analyze past challenges to avoid recurring mistakes. Review the actions that led to success; praise commitment to excellence. Encourage discussion of problems and concerns. Ask the team member to identify and analyze any perceived weaknesses and plan for areas of improvement. Be nonjudgmental. Start to incorporate team-building strategies in practice meetings. Plan internal activities that are designed to build trust and cooperation as well as external, offsite events that build morale and excitement. Recognize success and show appreciation often; nurture and build up team members individually. Provide consistent support and stand behind your team members. Encourage risk-taking and creative thinking. Make it safe for your team to think outside the box. Most importantly, show no tolerance for blame after failure; foster a learn-andgrow attitude. Continued on page 14
12 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
As you plan to set up a mentoring relationship with an individual ECP or for an entire practice, consider the following 10 guidelines: 1. Plan Ahead. One of the main reasons a mentoring relationship or mentoring program fails is due to lack of planning. As the mentor/leader, ask yourself, “What is our purpose here?” Once you have a mutual understanding of what needs to be accomplished, planning becomes much easier. 2. Gain Support from Upper Management and Employees. If a practice manager or optician starts a mentoring program or relationship but the subordinates involved in it know that the practice owners don’t really take it seriously, success (while not impossible) is much harder to achieve. The best way to gain support from employees is to involve them in every step of the process. This will provide a sense of ownership and achieve group and individual buy-in. 3. Make Sure the Work Environment is a Healthy One. The point here is do not begin a mentoring relationship or try to start a mentoring program if the overall environment in the practice is an unhealthy one. Does mistrust and low morale best characterize the office climate? If the answer is yes, that needs to be addressed before the mentoring process begins. 4. Have Specific Goals. The best way to see a mentoring relationship go down in flames is to not have specific goals. The goals should be specific, measureable, realistic, and time-driven; think “x” to “y” by “when.” Once the goals have been mutually arrived at and agreed upon, the next step is for the mentor and protégé to come up with specific actions to help achieve those goals. In all relationships between management and subordinates, one of the biggest complaints from subordinates is a lack of clarification of expectations. Don’t make the same mistake here. 5. Allow Work Time Whenever Possible. Many times people involved in mentoring relationships work on those relationships on their “own” time. While there is nothing wrong with working on the mentoring relationship
before or after work, allowing paid office time for the mentor and protégé to work on goals, hold meetings and discussions sends a very powerful and clear message to the people involved: It is important! 6. Link Goals to the Mission and Values of the Organization. 7. Make it Easy on Yourself. What I mean by this is when you set up a mentoring relationship or program, don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. People way smarter than you or me (well, at least me) have done it. Why not learn from them? Do some research on the Internet, read a book or two, and find a program that seems to fit with your personality and the personality of the practice. A couple of the best resources in this regard are The Manager’s Role as Coach, published by National Press Publications, and Mentoring 101 by the respected leadership guru, John C. Maxwell. 8. Opt for a Formal Structure – at Least at First. While I’m not a rigid, by-the-book guy, realize that it’s always easier to move from a formal structure to a less formal one than vice-versa. 9. Consider Ownership Every Step of the Way. While it’s sometimes an overused word or concept, a true leader understands its real importance. Giving employees a sense of everything you are trying to achieve should be paramount in your planning and execution of the mentoring relationships. How do you do that? Involve them every step of the way. Make it a democracy as best you can. 10. Evaluate: Early and Often. Monitor the progress off the mentoring relationships at least monthly. This will send a positive message to those involved, and never forget that what gets measured usually gets done. Start to incorporate some of these criteria into the relationships between the experienced and inexperienced, and you will start to have a real succession plan in place at your practice. And having a real succession plan helps to ensure the enduring success of the practice itself. ■
FREE meeting to all OANJ members! I-See Optical will be sponsoring 2 CEU seminars on May 16th at the Sheraton in Eatontown, NJ. To register and for more info go to: http://oanj.org/pdf/2012%20OANJ%20April%20%20 May%20Seminars.pdf 14 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
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DISPENSING OPTICIAN Judy Canty, LDO
Drugstore Eyeglasses? What the Heck! I LOVE SUNDAY AFTERNOONS. It’s the day of the week to relax, regroup and ready myself for the coming week. I read the newspaper from cover to cover, all the ads and of course the magazine section, which for me is Parade. Parade usually has some very interesting articles and some interesting recipes. I give a passing glance to “Ask Marilyn,” the column written by Marilyn vos Savant who is according to Guinness, one of the smartest people in the world. Most of the time she solves word problems like the ones we used to get in school about trains leaving from various points at various speeds and when they should arrive somewhere. On March 25 of this year, the question she was addressing was decidedly different. “I use drugstore eyeglasses...,” it started. She now had my undivided attention. “I use drugstore eyeglasses to avoid the high cost of custom-made ones, and they work perfectly well for me. Yet my eye doctor says that I shouldn’t buy them and that one gets what one pays for. Am I wrong to wear cheap glasses routinely?”—Anonymous, Baltimore What the heck? Anonymous in Baltimore has so little confidence in his (or her) eye doctor that he (or she) must turn to a very smart but non-optical expert for a second opinion! What are eye care professionals missing here? Several things come to mind. 1. We are not adequately communicating the need for and value of professional optical fitting and dispensing services and the necessity of follow-up care. 2. We are assuming that every patient wants and can afford all the bells and whistles that new lens technologies offer. 3. We are assuming that every patient wants and can afford a complete new pair of eyeglasses every year or two. 4. We have no market identity, no spokesperson, no consumer advertising, nothing to help the eyeglass wearing public understand that eyewear is more than a simple commodity. 16 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
On the positive side, Anonymous did get an eye exam, but the entire office visit apparently ended with a payment and perhaps the scheduling of the next exam a year or two later. What the heck? (If you know me, heck is not the word I’m really using at this point.) Was the doctor so pushed for time that the patients’ questions were only given a cursory response along the lines of “the staff can help you with that?” The need to see as many patients as possible in a working day is being pushed by lower reimbursements from vision care plans and the reality is that more patients per day means less chair time per patient and less time to address their specific needs and questions. Was the dispensary so boring or un-appealing that there was no incentive to check it out? Did it look so much like every other dispensary in town that they are indistinguishable from one to another? Same lens advertising, same frame selections, same everything? Everyone wearing their matching scrubs (work pajamas) trying to convey their fashion sense? Eye care professionals need to wake up and smell the lost profits. If we don’t begin to actively promote the need and value of professional services, from refraction to final dispensing, there will be nothing to stop patients from purchasing their eyewear at the local drugstore or online. For those of you who believe that you can “fight fire with fire” and launch your own online store or participate in someone else’s online option, stop and think. When you begin to show your patients that it’s possible and even OK to purchase their eyewear online, you’ve given them permission to shop not only your site, but everyone else’s site as well. Millions of consumers shop online every day. I shop online. My music is almost exclusively in my iTunes library; about half of my books are on my Amazon Kindle. I have purchased fabric, shoes, clothing, flowers, gifts, even artwork online. If I am dissatisfied with my purchase, I can send it back, no harm, and no foul. But something as personalized as eyeglasses or contact lenses—not a chance! Drugstore glasses aren’t even
drugstore glasses anymore. They’re everywhere - fabric stores, book stores, gift shops, wholesale clubs, gas stations (right next to the color contact lenses), and hair salons. In our own dispensaries, we’ve become so enamored of hightech gadgets and whiz-bang lenses that we’ve lost interest in the folks who, for one reason or another, cannot afford all that technology. Again, stop and think. Wouldn’t it be better to keep that patient’s warm body and checkbook in your dispensary by offering a selection of frames and lenses in a variety of price points? Can you afford to lose them and by extension everyone they talk to about their latest eyewear purchasing experience? Are you communicating your willingness to help maximize their eye care dollars with package prices or inviting them to reuse a perfectly good frame from a year or two ago? Have you considered offering a “family plan” for multiple purchases within the same family or a frequent buyer program? How about referral rewards? Word-of-mouth advertising remains the most cost-effective form of advertising yet devised. Is your practice active in your community and within your professional organizations? Do you advertise the professional status of your staff members? If you’re going to compete in today’s marketplace, you need to think outside that proverbial box more than ever. You should be questioning every “good deal” to ensure that it is really a “good deal” for your business.
Now, back to Marilyn’s answer: “Not if you meet these lucky conditions: Your vision is the same in both eyes (that is, the same corrective strength works for both); you have little or no astigmatism in either eye (most people have some astigmatism—a blurring of vision due to slight irregularities in the shape of certain parts of the eye); and the distance between your pupils matches the glasses’ pupil distance. Over-the-counter glasses aren’t known to cause harm, but if they’re not quite right for you (like not correcting for astigmatism, which is highly individual), you’ll be subject to eyestrain, and you won’t see as well as you would with prescription lenses. (Also, cheap lenses may distort vision and shouldn’t be used for long reading sessions.)” Even that simple explanation is better than “you get what you pay for,” though the latter is quicker to say on your way out the door and on to the next patient. However, her last sentence was a knife in my independent heart...“Try watching for sales at mass-market chains, which are much cheaper than fashionable shops.” If nothing else gets your optical business blood boiling, it should be that last sentence. I believe that last sentence should be the rallying cry for every independent Eye Care (Business) Professional. ■
THE FASHIONABLE ECP Laura Miller
Breaking Up is Hard to Do I am not a perfect frame representative. I may be late. I may cancel an appointment if my child gets sick and needs my care. I might get a flat tire or heaven forbid... a speeding ticket. Unexpected mishaps can always come up. I may not remember to write “delayed billing” on your bill and you may be shocked when you get that large invoice. A frame may be missing or added on to your order due to human error. Mistakes are part of life. I am not a perfect sales rep, but if I mess up your order, I will make sure you get the correct product, overnight, if I have to. If I have to cancel an appointment, I will let you know as soon as possible and reschedule at your convenience. If I forget to add something important on your bill, just call me and I will call you back within 24 hours and get it fixed. Mistakes may be a part of life, but in the business world they need to be mended. I don’t think any of your frame reps are perfect, but some might have more cancellations than others. You may be often surprised by a few frames added on your orders continuously. You may get invoiced for a product that you actually didn’t order. You may try to call and fix this problem but nobody gets back to you. A rep may avoid you to avoid exchanges and returns. A rep may tell you how to run your office. 18 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
I have heard many stories out in the field. The crazy things reps do and still think they are going to get your business. Let them think again. It may be time to start breaking up business relationships and start expecting more of your frame representatives. Below are some situations and some resolutions that will work for you if your reps are less than perfect far too often. I can’t get to your office today – Be understanding if your rep cancels once in a while. Make sure they get back on schedule as soon as possible. Your rep should also understand if you have to cancel on occasion. I am sure you have a life outside of the office. Be weary of numerous cancellations. How many emergency dentist appointments does your rep actually have? Upon rescheduling your rep should work around your time. If the rep can’t adapt to your schedule, it might be time to say goodbye. Personal issues come up, but there is no reason they should always come up during your scheduled appointments. If they cannot find a way to make a scheduled appointment, it shows you are not a very valuable account. Even if you have a good relationship with the rep, you cannot do business with constant cancellations. Be honest with your rep and explain that you are both here to get a job done. It cannot be done if one side doesn’t work. Did I order this? – If you get the wrong frame once in a while, don’t get frazzled. Humans and machines make errors. Call your rep right away if your order is wrong. They should call you
back within 24 hours and fix it by sending a return authorization or a call tag if you have received frames that are not on your order. These solutions are easy if you have a good rep. If the rep does not get back to you within 48 hours, try again. I know this can be frustrating but reps don’t always work “banker’s hours.”
office and their cell phone, but no one is calling you back. Unless they are on vacation, your rep should call you back within 48 hours. There is nothing more frustrating than lack of communication. If you have not heard from your rep within a week the next call should be for them to pick up their frames.
Try calling the company and see if they can fix the order. If the order is not fixed in seven days, return the frames with the original invoice. If your rep can’t fix a little problem, what is going to happen if there is a big one? Send a letter with the invoice explaining your attempts to get in contact with the rep. They should take back the frames or give you a pretty good deal to keep your business. It is not the time to worry about getting the rep in trouble. Customer service skills are essential for any sales representative.
Always on their phone – This happens all the time. I see reps on their cell phones in your office. You may even have a sign on your door that says, “No use of cellular phones,” but many reps do not think this rule applies to them. Everyone’s time is important but your reps need time to focus on your business, not their own. If your rep’s continuous cell phone use bothers you, ask them politely to leave their phones in the car or on “off ”. Texting or emailing is okay if they are left waiting, but you might want to end your relationship with the loud cell phone talkers who are not respecting your office rules.
If orders are continuously padded, end the relationship immediately. Padding is just as bad as stealing. Would you keep a rep who stole from you? Padding just shows disrespect for your office. You may get duplicates due to messy handwriting, sloppy typing or mechanical errors but you can tell when an order is padded. To develop a relationship with a rep, there needs to respect and trust; the basics of any relationship. Why won’t he call me back? – How many times have you tried to contact your rep, with no luck. You have tried calling the
It may have taken a long time to build your relationship with your representative. Sometimes, we get too comfortable and neglect customer service skills. I am sure the rep courted you to get your account. They should still court you five years later. Customer service is forefront to any business relationship. Know your business is valuable but frame reps can be disposable. Reward your trustworthy, responsible reps with your continued business. If the relationship is not successful, don’t be afraid to “break up.” ■
The Vision Council The Global Voice for Vision EyeCare Professional’s Paul DiGiovanni, LDO, speaking with Ed Greene, Chief Executive Officer, The Vision Council. Please provide a brief history of The Vision Council. Our organization was formed in the 1940s to promote a business environment that would stimulate growth and influence the eye care industry. At the time, we were known as the Optical Industry Association (OMA), and our membership was comprised of manufacturers of ophthalmic frames, lenses, cases and optical machinery. Over the years, we’ve evolved and expanded our services to help grow the optical industry. In the 1980s we established the Vision Industry Council of America (VICA), launched International Vision Expo & Conference and took over the Better Vision Institute (BVI). In 1999, to help meet the challenges of the 21st century, OMA and VICA merged to form the Vision Council of America (VCA). Over the next ten years, our organization continued to expand its umbrella of resources, joining forces with the Low Vision Council, the Polycarbonate Lens Council, the Anti-Reflective Council and the Sunglass Association of America. In 2008, the VCA board of directors and membership determined that the Vision Council of America should undergo a rebranding process as part of its strategic plan. That same year, we unveiled our new brand – The Vision Council – to the vision industry. At our annual Executive Summit this past January, we announced our joint affiliation with the Optical Laboratories Association (OLA). The OLA is now the new Optical Lab Division of The Vision Council and represents one of six operating divisions within our organization that provide guidance, education programs, marketing materials, research and advocacy outreach to address common interests among our members. Although our name and affiliation has changed over the years, our commitment to the optical industry remains the same. What is the Council’s mission? To position members to be successful in a competitive marketplace through education, advocacy, networking, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums. 20 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
Please detail the programs and services offered to ECPs. As a non-profit organization, we are dedicated to improving the optical industry and helping ECPs to educate their communities and grow their practice. Our team works alongside industry experts, to develop a variety of tools for eye care professionals, including online continuing education, market research and marketing materials. In 2009, we launched a continuing education portal, thevisioncouncil.org/ecp/CE. The online initiative provides ECPs with convenient access to accredited courses on a variety of optical topics. Each quarter, our industry research team prepares a market research report called the Consumer Barometer, which provides top-line information on a number of key areas, such as eyewear usage patterns, sales performance by distribution channel, eye exam data, and forecasting data. Our marketing & communications department has developed items like recall cards, magazines, and brochures to help ECPs educate their patients about the importance of healthy vision. We just created a new UV-awareness children’s activity booklet, public service announcement poster and waiting room magazine, Under the Sun. The majority of our educational materials are available at no cost to ECPs. All of these resources, including our online store, are available at thevisioncouncil.org/ecp. How can ECPs assist The Vision Council in achieving its goals? Eye care professionals are encouraged to attend International Vision Expo East in New York and International Vision Expo West in Las Vegas, take advantage of continuing education sponsored by The Vision Council and members of The Vision Council, and distribute free educational and marketing materials to their community. Continued on page 22
online continuing education
Grow Your Practice with Tools from The Vision Council Visit thevisioncouncil.org/ecp to learn more.
eyewear fashion trends
What are the requirements for joining The Vision Council? Is the organization open to individual ECPs? Membership is available to any person, firm or corporation conducting business in North America whose primary business is the manufacturing or distribution of optical products and/or services. While membership is not open to individual eye care professionals, we do have a medical advisory arm, the Better Vision Institute, which brings together representatives from ophthalmology, optometry and opticianry. These representatives serve as an advisory board to the supply side of the optical industry, while helping to raise awareness about vision related issues and providing input for programs, materials, and continuing education. ECPs who are interested in joining the BVI can always submit their CV to me or our VP of Marketing & Communication, Maureen Beddis, for consideration when a spot becomes available. Does The Vision Council help individual patients in any way or provide any type of funding to patients in need i.e. low vision patients? The Vision Council does not have any funding programs in place to assist individual patients. We do, however, offer product-generic consumer supplements and brochures about many topics, including UV protection, protective eyewear and low vision. In addition, our organization partners with agencies that offer assistance programs. Most often we are able to help direct consumers to the right resource. What are the future plans of The Vision Council? Right now, The Vision Council is focused on developing new projects on behalf of optical laboratories with the recent merger of the Optical Laboratories Association (OLA), generating awareness for UV Protection and other eyewear products among the public, as well as advocating for increased involvement in optical-related efforts on Capitol Hill and regulatory affairs. In addition, we expect to increase our work with U.S. and international agencies, using more of our member and staff experts to produce and/or contribute to the multiple standards and communications that are created to assist the industry in serving the eyeglass wearing public. We travel the nation and globe, ensuring our members’ interests are managed at many different levels and with various technical groups. Regarding the 3 O’s, do you work with any Local or State agencies or organizations? We are an active supporter of the Opticians Association of America (OAA), National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS) and proud partner of the American Optometric Association (AOA). 22 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
Please explain in detail one or two of the outreach programs? Throughout the year, we work with a number of our divisions on initiatives to promote vision care and vision care products to consumers. A year ago, we launched a UV Protection campaign on behalf of our Sunglass and Reader Division to increase eye protection purchases by promoting the importance of UV protection to consumers. Later this month, we will unveil a refreshed version of the existing campaign, which includes a website, smartphone app and an official UV report. The new “Bureau of Missing Sunglasses” concept uses humor to present the same eye health information, but lends itself better to social media and broadcast outreach, as well as special events. To learn more about the campaign, visit thevisioncouncil.org/sunglasses. The Vision Council also promotes eyewear as a fashion accessory and educates consumers about the importance of eyewear function and fit through our Eyecessorize campaign. The campaign covers optical frames, sunwear and reading glasses. The majority of the campaign’s interaction is done online through social media channels like Facebook (facebook.com/eyecessorize), Twitter (twitter.com/eyecessorize) and a blog (eyecessorizeblog.com). The content is beneficial for eye care professionals in that it can be used to educate consumers about current trends, the latest products and other relevant eyewear news. For more information about Eyecessorize, visit eyecessorize.com. The Vision Council co-owns the International Vision Expo & Conference. Please explain more about this venture and the concept behind Vision Expo. The Vision Council, in partnership with Reed Exhibitions, sponsors and produces two of the most exciting and important optical events in the Americas – International Vision Expo East and International Vision Expo West. These are trade-only events that bring together more than 30,000 eye care professionals from the East and West coasts each year. By far, it’s the best place to learn about the latest trends in eyewear, advances in eyecare technology and business practices. International Vision Expo East just wrapped up in New York City with record-breaking attendance and international Vision Expo West is quickly approaching. Education and exhibits will be held the first week in September (September 5-8) at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas. Go to visionexpowest.com for more details. Proceeds from the shows are used by The Vision Council to educate consumers about the importance of comprehensive vision care and the quality options in eyewear and other related products. ■
MOVERS AND SHAKERS Signet Armorlite Signet Armorlite’s board of directors has appointed Bruno Salvadori as chairman of the board, replacing Carl Bracy. Salvadori had previously served as president and CEO of the San Marcos-based spectacle lens maker since Bruno Salvadori 1993. Bracy remains senior vice president of marketing and new business for Signet Armorlite’s parent company, Essilor of America. Signet Armorlite’s board of directors has selected Brad Staley to replace Salvadori as president. Staley joined Essilor of America in 2007 as vice president of the company’s operations and technology group.
TLC Laser Eye Centers TLC Laser Eye Centers has appointed George Neal chief executive officer. Neal joins TLC with more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic industry. Most recently, he served as division vice president, global sales and internaGeorge Neal tional marketing, with Santa Ana, Calif.-based Abbott Medical Optics. Prior to Abbott, he was vice president of corporate development for Eyeonics; he also held positions with Alcon Labs, Allergan Optical and Procter & Gamble.
Stuart J. Thomas
VSP Global announced that its board elected Stuart J. Thomas, OD as chairman of the board for a term of two years. A practicing optometrist in Athens, Ga. for 28 years, Dr. Thomas has served on the VSP board of directors since 2005 and as vice chairman since 2010.
Prevent Blindness America Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has announced that Brette McClellan, vice president, health policy government affairs of Alcon, has been elected to its National Board of Directors. McClellan has previously volunteered Brette McClellan for PBA by helping to orchestrate two Congressional Vision Caucus (CVC) Capitol Hill events hosted jointly by AdvaMed’s Ophthalmic Sector and PBA.
Cherry Optical Cherry Optical has announced that Adam Cherry has acquired a majority stake in the ownership of the company. Cherry Optical was founded by Joe and Lynn Cherry in 1999. Their son, Adam, has worked for Cherry Optical since Adam Cherry its inception. Cherry Optical has 38 employees and services customers in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and across the country. Movers & Shakers continued on page 45
Accessories and Readers
OptiSource Named Exclusive Distributor of OptiPets – The Novel Optical Accessory
OptiSource International will be exclusively distributing OptiPets, the United Kingdom born eyeglass holders that are creative, collectible and fun. The OptiPets line includes a variety of cartoonish animals and artful noses that uniquely hold eyeglasses when not in use. Each hand painted piece has a cradle designed to hold the folded temples of most eyewear. The nose bride is supported by the various shapes of the OptiPets animals, noses, and sport figurines. The accessory line offers a product for every shopper: men, women and children. “While OptiPets were originally offered as eye catching frame displays for all optical décor, they are now a must-have accessory that easily sells themselves”, states Daryl Squicciarini, vice president of OptiSource. “For children, the first-time eyeglass wearing experience can be upsetting. By bundling an OptiPet, the memory becomes pleasant, and storing eyewear at bedtime becomes fun.” Find them on the web at www.1-800-optisource.com or call 1-800-OptiSource (678-4768).
Amazingly Cute Eyewear Holders
Selling Eyewear Accessories Eyewear accessories are a nice little add-on. While they may not seem like they’re doing much for your bottom line, by the end of the year, those sales can really rack up—that is, if you’re pushing them. Many practices fail to push these sales as they don’t want to be bothered or don’t think it’s worth the time. But they’re ignoring the bigger picture that in time, those $5 or $10 sale items can make a significant grand total. In fact, pushing eyewear accessories may even help support your eyewear sales. One of the reasons that practices may not push accessories sales is the fear of “scaring off ” the customer by over-pitching them. But a well-crafted accessories pitch has the ability to support the eyewear sale, not hinder it. If done tactfully, as part of the overall eyewear pitch—focusing on how accessories can enhance the purchased eyewear—the client will feel it’s more of a service than an upsell. It’s what they’re used to in spending on everything from a vehicle to a lawn care service. Upselling is part of the buying experience and if you’re failing to pitch accessories that may enhance the patient’s overall usage of their eyewear,
you’re actually doing them a disservice. After all, the worst that can happen is they’ll say “No.” We’ve rounded up a number of tips that can help you sell some of today’s key eyewear accessories. Cases Since most eyewear comes with its own case, a lot of eyecare practitioners ignore pushing the sale of additional cases. But as a highly functional item it’s something that can’t be ignored. Some patients may want a second case for their purse or car so that there’s always a safe place to store their glasses— even if they left their primary case at home. An eyewear case is an easy add-on to throw in after you’ve made the eyewear sale. Point out that the primary case comes with the purchase of the eyewear and ask if they’d like to purchase a second case to ensure they always have one handy. Position it as a way to protect their investment. Also remember that the cases which come with a pair of eyewear may be standard and plain. Patients might be looking for something a bit more fashionable if it’s an item they’re going to be carrying around. If it’s a patient that seems to value fashion and is buying a trendy frame, pitch a trendier case.
Accessories and Readers
As with any accessory, the key to case sales is having them on display. Also, always be sure to utilize a case when selling a pair of eyewear. After you’re done showing off the piece of eyewear you’re pitching, place it gently back into the case. This helps reinforce to the patient that the eyewear is something of “value” and helps position the item as more desirable.
In this way, the case may actually help you in potentially making the sale. You’re also demonstrating good “care” by showing the patient how to properly take care of a nice piece of eyewear by always storing it in a case.
Launches VIRTUAL TRY ON Internet Application
Cloths and Cleaners
Fitovers® Eyewear, the leader in the sunglasses designed to be worn over prescription eyewear, has launched a new website featuring a VIRTUAL TRY ON application. Since 1993, the company has set the standards with its innovative ideas and collections. “The internet is a powerful tool to make consumers aware of our Fitovers® Eyewear philosophy and view our collections. Our Virtual try-on system allows consumers to further qualify themselves to find the Fitovers® Eyewear that is most complimentary to their eyeglass frame and also see how well they Fitovers® look on their face,” says Paul Stables of Fitovers® Eyewear. By entering a few measurements, consumers can then choose a style, a frame color and a lens tint. The system scales both picture uploaded and Fitovers® Eyewear sunglass to a person's face, so the consumer sees exactly how the fitting will be. A consumer can save favorites and also email themselves a picture of the Fitovers® Eyewear they selected, and by entering their postal code, will receive dealers that stock Fitovers® Eyewear in their area. For further information, visit www.fitovers.com or call 1-888-834-8872.
Eyewear cloths and cleaners are inexpensive items but have the ability to produce repeat customers. If a patient really likes a particular cleaner, he or she may keep coming back. And just think—if you sold a cleaning set to each patient you’ve sold eyewear to, those sales can really start to add up. The key to selling cloths and cleaners is similar to selling cases—you need to position it as a means of protecting the eyewear investment. In many cases cleaners do wind up being one-time sales and this is largely because of the fact that patients don’t use them. They may be motivated the first couple of weeks that they have their new eyewear to clean the lenses, but that enthusiasm can wane. To help prevent this, walk your patients through an actual cleaning. Perhaps after they’ve purchased a piece of eyewear utilize a sample bottle to demonstrate how they should clean the lenses. Then ask them if they’d like to purchase a bottle. You may even drive the point home by having your patient try on a pair of eyewear that has dirty smudged lenses. Then clean the lenses and have them look through again. Readers Readers may actually be one of the easiest accessories to sell and that’s because many of your older patient base is already using
them. The trick is to sell patients on why they need to buy their readers through you—and not at the local pharmacy. To sell readers, consider having a section of your sales floor that is dedicated to readers. This will make them easy to find. Patients that are only in for a routine eye exam and not in the market for new frames might still be inclined to check out your selection of readers if you have them positioned near the waiting area. During the exam, find out if your patient wears readers (if you don’t already know) and ask if they’d like to see the selection you have to offer. Carry a mix of product in varying price points. Some patients might want to invest in a trendier or even brand name pair of reading glasses instead of the junky frames they got from the local Dollar Store or pharmacy. Readers Chains and Jewelry What used to be a grandmotherly accessory is now becoming trendy and it would behoove you to carry some examples of reader holders. Many of today’s reader chains look more like a piece of beautiful jewelry. Consider having some of these options on display near your readers so that your patients can see what’s available. In many cases, this is the type of item that patients might be interested in—they just don’t know it exists. If you have a patient purchasing a pair of readers, show them some of the chains and holders you have available and slip them on so that the patient can actually see how it looks. It looks much trendier than it once did when the only option was an unsightly metal chain. While all of these sales pitches do take a little bit of extra time, the messages can be weaved into your primary pitch. In some cases the patient might like the supporting accessories so much that it aids in the eyewear sale. Either way accessories are a relatively easy add-on sale that shouldn’t be ignored. ■
FRAME BOARD MANAGEMENT Ginny Johnson, LDO, ABOC
We are all on a mission and want to make a statement. I guess that’s why having a mission statement is one of the first steps to take when setting up your Plan-o-gram. Stay true to your mission statement by having the appropriate staff and product mix for your business culture. A Plan-o-gram helps you to better monitor the products you’re selling and the products that aren’t moving. If you are using a fly by the seat of your dispensary pants method then listen up. Eyeballing your inventory and ordering frames based only on what you like wasn’t mentioned in class as a smart business tool. Neither was basing your decision on which frame lines to carry depending on how good looking, cute, or hot the rep is. Asking your reps which frames are hot would be considered a smart move though. A Plan-o-gram ensures you have the appropriate mix by patient demographics. Who are your patients? Knowing this will determine what percentage of dispensary board space to devote to the various categories of children, men, women, mature, teens, young adults, sunglasses, sports and safety frames.
“B R I C K H OW S Be the one, the only one Built better than Amazon We work together everybody knows And this is how the story goes...” Recently I attended a CE course taught by Valerie Manso, a 38 year veteran of the optical industry, who knows how to capture an ECP audience to drive points home. Her Plan-o-gram course proves that she has been there, done that, succeeded, surpassed and her expertise is presented in a refreshing, down-toearth manner. A Plan-o-gram in my ECP mind translates into a blueprint for brick and mortar dispensary growth. I’d like to address how her course added value to my dispensing techniques and give her a nice appraisal. 28 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
Plan-o-grams can be designed using paper or plastic. For the paper route, keep an inventory sold sheet listing the sale date, frame model number, color, size, cost and category. Another paper trail would be to tag each frame and have a box for each frame vendor. When you sell a frame put the tag in the appropriate vendor’s box. For those practices with plastic to spend on their Plan-o-gram, Valerie applauds a web based tracking system. Valerie refers to frame inventory as “money on the walls.” Look at the cost of each and every frame displayed in your dispensary as a real estate investment $60, $78, $45, $120, $90. The faster you turn inventory, the less capital you have stagnant. Sounds like ECPs need to be flipping some real estate so we won’t be stuck subletting our space. Dispensary real estate thinking happens to be right up my alley. Let’s walk through some of my brick hows properties. Please note: I’m not receiving any type of funding, compensation or commission from anyone mentioned in this ad. Continued on page 30
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In the land of Dispensaryville, our frames are temporary tenants, sales reps are real estate agents, ECPs are property managers and labs are prime vacation spots. Property managers and agents work together to stay on top of the current real estate market while construction work goes on at the lab so the tenants will have a fabulous vacation. Before you agree to list any of your property you need to be comfortable with the agents and tenants that you will be working with. For ECP advice, help, answers or opinions I usually start with www.optiboard.com. Although I may not be an Optiboard forum postaholic or jump on any of the debate wagons, I have chimed in when I knew I could offer first hand experience to fellow ECPs. In my opinion the benefits of having a paid subscription to the ECP Only forum are priceless. Trade shows also give you the opportunity to meet and network with agents and find out about new tenants. A couple of years ago I was managing some property for an owner who agreed to work with some tenants that I had never worked with before. Our new tenants arrived and they looked like they had been in a fight. They had dirty faces, lots of scuff marks and scratches and their arms were dangling. I called the agent and he promised to get the thugs out of our office ASAP. He asked me if I thought they had been in a wreck before they got there. I said it wasn’t the moving company’s fault since the packaging showed no signs of damage. After further review it was determined that a human error had been made and these tenants were in foreclosure and should not have been sent out to our neighborhood. Moving right along... Choosing the best tenants and agents for your practice is crucial. When you schedule closings every 8-16 weeks with your agents they will assist you in the decision making and should evict any tenants that simply aren’t working. We’d like to
believe that every tenant is going to pay rent or we wouldn’t have let them move in. If you need to evict a tenant without an agent present be sure the tenant leaves with the proper RA walking papers. There are agents who will offer to take other agent’s lazy tenants off your hands in exchange for housing theirs. That short sale may be the easy way out unless the new credit terms and contracts are unreasonable. Some property managers choose to avoid this whole process and instead work with remote agents who (free) rent to own. Sometimes you may need additional housing such as a 12 story complex for a new line of tenants that are moving in. Keep in mind that having at least 12 tenants from the same family better insures that their name leaves a legacy. No dogs allowed on the premises. Are you sure about that? Once I had a patient that specifically asked for dogs the first time I met her. She wanted to buy the ugliest frames we had that no one else would buy. Over the years she purchased 48 pairs of eyewear from me. No they weren’t all dogs and because of her I look at dogs in a different way. Not taking an interest in what your buyer is looking for can come back to bite you. Payment in full is required before tenants leave the property. If you decide to accept earnest deposit money to hold product then reasonable terms should be established. Promissory notes don’t pay the practice’s bills. After the debt is paid off then the tenants get to go on vacation for a week. They usually look great when they come back. Every once in awhile a tenant will go on vacation and we find out they had an accident. In this case you may have to resort to sending them back for an all expense paid vacation. Every day can be a buyer’s and seller’s market once you accept the fact that your dispensary is always going to be a fixer-upper. ■
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SECOND GLANCE Elmer Friedman, OD
Some of our presidents were great and some not so great. But all had visions of our country’s future. Their views covered new concepts involving the country’s progress regarding our economy, security, public welfare, foreign affairs and a copious helping of the many and varied issues that have been problematic to presidents throughout our history.
HAT MOST OF US LACK is the knowledge about a president’s vision behind his vision. What about their eyesight and how each dealt with their particular ocular problem? Resources can be found in publications by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Ken VanCleave of the Ameritas Group, as well as additional information gleaned from various links via the internet.
As examples we can mention Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan, who was severely myopic and wore contact lenses at all functions. In order to read his notes he would remove one lens and created a monovision effect very successfully. All those aforementioned were presbyopic and needed glasses for near vision and had other problems associated with increased age. George Bush (the first one) was treated for a glaucoma condition, styes and had an unusual blink rate. William Taft was subject to recurrent blepharitis and was once bitten on the eye by a bug. Jimmy Carter had eye problems associated with a tear gas episode early in his life. Herbert Hoover was almost blind and profoundly deaf. Richard Nixon exhibited an eye blinking habit of unknown origin. James Buchanan, our 15th president, had an eye defect that forced him to tilt his head slightly forward and sideways when engaged in conversation. It coincidentally gave the impression of exceptional courtesy and attention to others. One of Buchanan’s eyelids twitched which led one of his biographers to
describe Buchanan as a “winking, fidgety little busybody.” Zachary Taylor kept his eyelids half closed to sharpen his vision. He was very myopic and closed one eye when reading to prevent double vision. A pair of glasses aided George Washington in preventing dissolution of his army. Washington had received an anonymous letter from a group of unhappy officers stating that if their demands were not met “they would retire to some unsettled country.” A meeting was held between the disaffected army leaders and Washington. As he took the letter from his pocket to share it with the group, he had trouble reading the lines. Pausing to put on his glasses, he said, “Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown gray in your service and now find myself growing blind.” The gesture seemed to affect the men greatly as they remembered past days of fighting for the American cause and leadership of Washington. When he left the meeting the officers expressed their confidence. A possible coup was averted. Who knew that Honest Abe Lincoln had a “lazy eye?” His left eye, according to photos and portraits taken during his lifetime, seemed to deviate up and out. This was especially noted when he was excited or fatigued. News reports during the hotly contested 1860 debates with Stephen Douglas describe Lincoln’s eye as “rolling wildly” as he spoke. Lincoln’s left eye was set slightly higher in his head than his right with his left eyelid drooped a little. When he was ten years old Abe was kicked in the head by a horse. It is felt that he suffered nerve Continued on page 34
32 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
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damage that led to a malfunction of his eyelid and the extra ocular apparatus. Lincoln suffered with diplopia, at times. In today’s day and age, we are sure that efforts would have been made to correct his muscle strabismus. But suppose if Lincoln were alive today and he reached the Oval office with his eye condition untreated? It is not hard to imagine the resulting eye fatigue, double vision and even some low grade behavior problems. The White House medical staff would probably insist upon corrective surgery. Do you think the president would pursue surgical intervention? Consider the fact that most people are hesitant to undergo anesthesia and prefer surgery only as a means of last resort. If we will follow our fanciful thinking to another level, how would Lincoln feel about adopting one of the many modern vision treatments to correct strabismus? Woodrow Wilson was shocked one morning in 1906 when he awoke to find that he was nearly blind in his right eye. This was seven years before he was elected the 27th president. He had suffered a retinal hemorrhage He was told by his ophthalmologist to rest the eye as much as possible. No other treatment was available at the time. It was determined that Wilson had high blood pressure which might have caused a central retinal vein occlusion. This blockage probably caused bleeding and damage contributing to his reduced vision. Eventually there was some improvement in his vision, although, Wilson complained his golf game was never again as good as before. By far the most interesting and dramatic case involves one of our most spirited presidents. Teddy Roosevelt was partially blind in his left eye and historians think he had a detached retina. This could have been caused by a blow to the head during one of his many boxing matches or from an earlier injury suffered during one of his adventurous forays. He relished vigorous pursuits. In addition to his boxing prowess he also enjoyed hunting wild game in foreign lands or leading his troops up San Juan Hill. His was the presidency of “The Big Stick,” trust busting and strong nationalism. He often prepared his speeches on small sheets of paper with large printing and spaces between the sentences to help him see the material during delivery of the speech. Thus the manuscripts were necessarily very thick.
On Oct. 14, 1912, he arrived at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin train station shortly after five o’clock. He made his way through the large crowd to a waiting automobile that whisked him away to a private dinner party. After dinner Teddy waved to his admirers, put on his topcoat with the speech stuffed in one of the pockets, and left to head for the Milwaukee auditorium for a campaign rally. As he prepared to step into his car, a man rushed forward and jammed a gun into the ex-president’s chest and fired. As two of Roosevelt’s friends seized the shooter, he was heard shouting “Any man looking for a third term should be shot.” Roosevelt seemed more stunned than injured but blood began staining his shirt. When Roosevelt removed his topcoat, it was clear what had happened.
“Who knew that Honest Abe Lincoln had a ‘lazy eye?’ His left eye, according to photos and portraits taken during his lifetime, seemed to deviate up and out.” The .32 caliber bullet had passed through the thick speech notes and lodged in his chest. If the speech had not been in his coat pocket, the bullet would have ripped straight into his heart. He demanded to be taken to the auditorium. He climbed to the podium in his blood spattered clothes and announced that he had been shot. Roosevelt showed off the bloody speech, unfolded it and, haltingly, began to speak. He made references to his manhood, his toughness and his dedication to the nation while disregarding his own safety. He declared, “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Since the assassination of Lincoln in 1865, the nation had suffered through two more slayings of our presidents: James Garfield and William McKinley. But for the inadvertent placement of a thick large print copy of his speech, Teddy would have been included in their number. The need for eyeglasses is now universally accepted. Who can deny the added enjoyment of daily life and the difference it made in the lives of some of our presidents. There is an old proverb that says, “You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” ■
Progressivelenses.com 34 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
LOW VISION ANGLE Mary Armstrong, ABOC
MAGNIFIED Power Up with the Low Down on Low Vision Aids
My Mother’s onset of Presbyopia coincided with my entry into opticianry. I was “on call” to her for reading numbers out of the phone book or any font less than 10 pt. in the newspaper. After a genetically fortunate, spectacle-free lifetime, she was adamant about not wearing eyeglasses. Finding this to be a deprecation of my occupation and in the spirit of my upbringing towards self-reliance, I brought her a 3”x 5” handheld 2X magnifier purchased from my work using my employee discount. The fatigue she experienced attempting to maintain a uniform focal distance from the unstable, unwieldy morning Free Press substrate reached an annoyance level equal to mine in nearly the same length of time. When she finally gave in, I’d married and moved out of state, thus missing the joy of performing that fitting. However, later on, I did have to provide problem-solving corrections for the optician who fit her with Kryptok’s while failing to supply monocular seg heights. You can run, when you can’t abide, but it’s temporary. She kept that magnifier close by for a very long time. Several years later, in the 70’s and 80’s, the suburban “Mom and Pop” dispensary where I worked was the only listing under “Magnifiers” in the Denver, Colorado Yellow Pages. Known as the “Mile Hi City”, “One Mile Closer to the Sun” (or “Fun” as I used to say, considering the number of phone inquiries we received), the altitude coupled with “Over 300 Sunny Days per Year” creates an environment rich with a lot more UV exposure than the average sea-level state capital. The aging retirement population with their UV-accelerated cataract growth was a magnet for ophthalmologists (more MD’s per capita than any 36 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
other US city) performing the new lens implant surgery. The post-op recovery time before a new Rx could be given was a gaping window of opportunity for providing magnifiers of all types and powers to patients desperate to continue reading in the interim. During this same era, ophthalmologists referred their patients to independent opticians for prescription eyewear. Medical doctors were not in the eyewear manufacturing business; it was considered professionally inappropriate (conflict of interest) and ODs were legally required to have entrances separate from adjacent retail dispensaries. Since my employer was an independent, not directly affiliated with optometrists because most had their own dispensaries, we worked mostly with MD vision prescriptions. However, today, with the emphasis on patient convenience and an increasing sense of valuing cooperation amongst the three “O’s”, the Opportunity and One-stop convenience shopping concepts present fourth and fifth “O” concepts in the eye care equation. Regardless of which “O” you are, if you haven’t stocked low vision aids previously, now would be a really good time to evaluate how you may be able to integrate them into your practice specialties mix to assist the growing percentage of aging patients requiring a variety of low vision solutions. It’s also an easy way to add an additional revenue stream. After providing hundreds of demonstrations and searching for models to fit certain patient-specific needs, my employer and I found that a core selection of five types comprised the largest percentage of sales; not a huge inventory investment, nor Continued on page 38
HOYA Distortion-Free Optics Voted “Best New Product” at Vision Expo East HOYA’S DISTORTION FREE OPTICS WAS VOTED “BEST NEW PRODUCT” BY THE SHOW ATTENDEES AT INTERNATIONAL VISION EXPO EAST IN MARCH. HOYA’s Distortion-Free Optics integrates four key components— lens materials, design, treatment and mounting system. In addition to eliminating the need for screws, wires or rims, the Avantek Mounting System offers superior durability in comparison to drill mounts, the company pointed out. “As an industry we struggle for the words to describe why one lens is better than another and we just keep using the word ‘better’,” said Barney Dougher, president of HOYA Vision Care. He pointed out, “HOYA Distortion Free Optics with the Avantek Mounting System is a complete Vision System which gives ECPs an opportunity for the first time to show the impact on lens design, based on the materials, AR treatment and mounting approach. It is not often ECPs can naturally steer the conversation to all of those factors, now they can.”
“In the past, it has been nearly impossible to make show-and-tell with lenses exciting for the patient, however our partnership with
HOYA has added a whole new dimension to the conversation.” said Bob Zider, founder and CEO of Avantek, “We have a great partner in HOYA, and our collective dedication to innovation and striving to give the patient the best available, is the driving force behind our early success.” Hoya Corporation is a global technology company traded on the Japanese stock exchange and a leading supplier of innovative and high-tech and health care products based upon its advanced optics technologies. Avantek is a privately owned company which specializes in bringing new technology to the optical industry. It was founded by The Beta Group.
storage space taker. All of them were much more affordably priced than a pair of eyeglasses which was befitting their temporary and/or ongoing occasional use. You will want to survey your clientele lifestyles preferences (which you need to do even for just eyewear) taking into account considerations like age, gender, income, hobbies, and purchase accordingly, wholesale. How about creating your own special assortment: a “Magnificent 7” Kit?, a convention/expo display or office showcase centerpiece – a Magnificents idea for a manufacturer’s rep, as well. The single most important aspect of mounting this offering in your business is the personal one-on-one consultant service you provide; try before you buy is not possible on the internet. Although currently there are plenty of recent lens power-selection improvements, generally speaking the higher the power, the smaller the lens diameter. Get prepared for the question nine-out-of-ten ask when they’ve located the strength lens that works for them: “Haven’t you got anything bigger?” They are applying shoe buying psychology to this purchase: “Do you have this style in a size larger?” Without getting into light wave theory, lens power is inversely proportional to diameter. For this article, I visited more than 25 magnifier catalog websites where you can buy hundreds of different styles online, but none are able to offer an illustration or photo of what the user is going to see, because those unique experiences will be different between every user and each device. What you don’t want to have happen is to spend a half hour showing a customer low vision solutions and then have them walk out to go buy it online. Offer them incentives to buy from you on the spot: a discount, multi-item discount, BOGO, or charge for your time, like taking a cafeteria PD; deduct the fee from the purchase price, for example. You should also focus on finding two or more different types for different tasks, just as you do for eyewear. As “one size fits all” doesn’t work for everyone, “one style does it all” is also untrue for eyewear and magnifiers. Even two or more of one model stationed conveniently in different locations is an advantage to your customer: one at home/one at work; one by the armchair/one in the car or purse. Develop your own campaign to get the word out. Market your new service on your website, and send direct mail announce-
38 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
ments to complimentary affiliates with a credit card-sized, promo magnifier included. Solicit involvement with your staff to participate in the exposure informing every customer, supported with table top displays, and encourage word of mouth. The decision to offer or expand low vision aids in your business is an excellent career enhancement opportunity to either initially develop one of your staff as the focal point, have the focal employee provide the training, or train all your staff at once. Getting everyone up to speed on the pathologies of conditions that create the demand for these aids is rudimentary to opticianry. Start with a session on the causes and symptoms of Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, Cataracts, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), and Diabetic Retinopathy. Another staff opportunity is community outreach. If you’ve ever considered retirement/nursing home visits to perform free adjustments, providing a selection of magnifiers fits right in. Not to overlook the hobbyists, stamps and coin collecting are the two top hobbies, neck-and-neck with doll houses. A friend whom I’d fit with eyewear, I also supplied with a magnifier for his elementary school age daughter to use in her school biology research. Another friend found two vintage paperweight magnifiers at a thrift store which I promptly presented to my grandchildren, an adjunct to the coin collecting hobby I’d started with them. At 50 cents each, they made a great gift idea, but you could package something similar in your own showcase: a flip-out lens attached to its own pocket carrying case displayed with coin and stamp albums. Magnifiers are magic conversation starters: “Now you see it. Now you don’t.” My “icebreaker/elevator pitch” began with one of the two pendant magnifier necklaces I used to wear on the job and off (one round in gold; one rectangular in white gold – each purchased from magnifier catalogs). People would first ask me if it was in fact a magnifier. Second question was always “Do you use it?” (before my hair turned gray). My reply, “Sure do. Change the point of view to learn something new!” Equal opportunity theatricks are available to the men on your team: Unless they want to attach a jeweler’s loop on their frame temple, sport a monocle on a retractable cord in their jacket lapel buttonhole. Magnificent. ■
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Maui Jim Maui Jim has announced that it opened offices in Hong Kong’s Coda Design Centre on April 1. Headed by Andrew Cheung, manAndrew Cheung aging director of Maui Jim Asia Limited, the company will offer a full complement of sales, distribution and marketing support services, as well as its complete portfolio of sunglasses, to opticians and optical stores throughout Asia. Cheung joined Maui Jim from Bushnell Performance Optics Asia Ltd., maker of Serengeti and Bolle eyewear brands.
Appalachian College of Optometry Currently in the development stages, the Appalachian College of Optometry has named Brian D. Looney, OD, as its founding president. Looney is the president of Looney Eyecare with offices in Virginia and W.Va. He graduated with honors in 1996 with a doctorate of optometry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Optometry. The optometry school is currently working toward accreditation to offer a four-year doctorate of optometry degree and is projected to admit its first students in 2014.
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LAST LOOK Jim Magay, RDO
Vision Expo Diary Friday morning at the show took a while to get going. Exhibitors were hopeful of a BIG Saturday however. This is probably why we got so much accomplished that day. We were able to spend quality time with old pals and made some new friends as well.
Neighborhood was uninspiring, needed to walk fairly far to get to much of anything worth seeing – like the Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave. We enjoyed that, great shops and food – including a delicious lobster roll and clam chowder – no, not the red stuff, but real New England clam chowder. Also good cheap eats at the Dallas BBQ 261 8th Avenue; their ribs are great, a big noisy, good-humored place full of really happy people!
THE GALLERIA AND THE UNDERGROUND seemed bright and cheerful – a pleasant place to be while the main floor was starting to pick up. As if to make up for the slow start, the big vendor booth’s soundtracks were relentlessly loud. After all these years someone should tell them to tone it down. We were dropped off by a cabbie at the extreme left hand side of the Javit’s Center. He didn’t want to go an extra block to get us near the lower set of doors, you know – where the buses pick up and drop off – so we hiked past covered up glass to find an entrance amidst jersey barriers and construction debris. Speaking of buses – when you stay at one of the official hotels of the event – don’t you expect the shuttles would come somewhere near your hotel? In our case the nearest pick up and drop off point was nearly a mile from the place. Actually a half-mile from the Javit’s. Walk a mile to ride a half-mile – interesting concept. The hotel, The Hampton Inn Chelsea Manhattan 108 West 24th Street – was clean, breakfast was adequate (the coffee was excellent), and one of the two elevators was broken. Rooms were tiny but clean. Tiny hallways and noisy neighbors coming and going – like 3:30 AM! Also someone’s dog crying rather loudly at all hours, thought coyotes were invading! 46 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | MAY 2012
Saturday we decided to get down to Battery Park and take the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty – after checking out the security line (1/4 mile long – no exaggeration!) and realizing I had a money clip with a knife blade in it in my pocket – we decided to take the Grey Line’s little ferry (a one hour trip) instead of the one that lets you out at the statue and Ellis Island. No security line! We waited over an hour to embark, and then the strangest thing happened. We were formed into a loose column and literally marched across the street to a waiting bus. We were then driven to another docking facility where we boarded a very crowded ferry for our ride. Chilly to say the least but it was fun and we had good sightseeing trip. Well, space grows short; we found a huge flea market in a parking garage across from our hotel (every weekend on Saturday and Sunday – 112 W. 25th St. near Sixth Ave.) And dined that night at the legendary L’Veau D’Or up on 129 E 60th St. The last two activities were fun and really “made” our trip. Hope the Javit’s construction is finished for next year – and I think we’ll be a lot more careful picking our hotel as well. ■
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May 2012 Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine. A Business to Business publication that is distributed to decision makers and participants...
Published on May 2, 2012
May 2012 Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine. A Business to Business publication that is distributed to decision makers and participants...