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Vol. 5 Issue 47

Features 6

Courtesy of McGee Group



RAVISHING REDS Spice up your frame boards with the hottest styles in red eyewear and sunwear. by ECP Staff


WINTERIZE YOUR PRACTICE Protect your patients from the winter sun with the latest in sunwear and snow goggles.


by Laura Miller


THE DANGERS OF UV Over a third of the public are completely unaware of the risks presented by ultraviolet light. by Anthony Record, RDO


DISPENSARY STRATEGIES Independent dispensers can still succeed with the appropriate strategy and organization. by Warren G. McDonald, PhD



CHARITABLE EYECARE The numerous optical charities now available allow ECPs to help those most in need of vision care. by Judy Canty, ABO/NCLE


EYEWITNESS MISTAKES There are hundreds of criminal cases in which false visual identification has affected the verdict. by Elmer Friedman, OD



Departments EDITOR/VIEW .....................................................................................................4 INDUSTRY PROFILE........................................................................................22 MOBILE OPTICIAN .........................................................................................26 DISPENSING OPTICIAN .................................................................................32 OD PERSPECTIVE ............................................................................................38 OPTICAL EMPLOYMENT................................................................................42 ADVERTISER INDEX .......................................................................................46 INDUSTRY QUICK ACCESS............................................................................47 LAST LOOK .......................................................................................................50



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Editor / view


by Jeff Smith

Eyeing Up Your Competition EFINING WHO YOUR COMPETITION is seems pretty simple for the average independent – it’s the other businesses in your area that are competing for the same customers. But are you really competing for the same customer as the major chains? Look at it from a demographic perspective: how many of your patients are simply seeking the cheapest prescription they can get? The least expensive eyewear? If those are the patients you’re competing for, then you are going to have a tough time surviving. Wouldn’t it be better to capture the patients who are looking for value, and who understand that quality, style, and personal attention are all part of the value equation.


The key to beating the competition is not to have any. If you are faced with a large discount chain, don’t try to keep up with them on price, simply out-flank them with outstanding service and unique products. Avoid offering identical products, which simply leads into a pricing war, since the patient has an easy comparison. Instead, offer different brands that feature unique styles or features. Don’t be afraid to price them fairly; remember, price is only one of several factors that determines value, and for many patients one of the easiest to overcome. Even if you are forced to offer many of the same products or services, the approach you take in how they are offered and presented can set you apart. After all, an exam is an exam ... right? Perhaps, but is your exam the same as the one offered at the big discounter down the street? Probably not, so it is your job to get the word out. Setting yourself apart is great, but it’s only half of the equation. The other half is making sure your potential patients know it. The very best advertisement is word of mouth and worth devoting significant resources to develop. Take maximum advantage whenever someone new walks in. If they are wearing glasses or contacts, they’ve certainly been to another ECP somewhere, and the fact that they are in your dispensary is a good sign they may be looking for something better or different. Pay attention to how they react when you approach them. A quick remark of, “I’m just looking” while they turn away is a clue that that person has experienced the sales pressure that is common in the larger discount retailers. Again, the key is to be different. Allow them time to walk around and get to know the dispensary. While it may be difficult to get them engaged in a conversation, it is well worth the effort. What can you do to limit competition? Give great service, don’t just mouth it. The large retailers have to limit their patient contact ... they simply cannot afford to spend time on a sale and follow-up; their survival depends on high volume. Basically, there are two ways of dealing with competition: attempt to beat them at their own game, or differentiate from the pack.


Publisher/Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Smith Production/Graphics Manager. . . . . . . . . . . Bruce S. Drob Director, Advertising Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . Lynnette Grande Contributing Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Judy Canty, Paul DiGiovanni, Gary Fore, Elmer Friedman, Lindsey Getz, Ginny Johnson, Jim Magay, Warren McDonald, Laura Miller, Anthony Record, Jason Smith, Carrie Wilson Technical Editor . . . . . . . . Brian A. Thomas, P.h.D, ABOM Internet Coordinator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terry Adler Opinions expressed in editorial submissions contributed to EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ are those of the individual writers exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ its staff, its advertisers, or its readership. EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ assume no responsibility toward independently contributed editorial submissions or any typographical errors, mistakes, misprints, or missing information within advertising copy.

ADVERTISING & SALES (215) 355-6444 • (800) 914-4322

EDITORIAL OFFICES 111 E. Pennsylvania Blvd. Feasterville, PA 19053 (215) 355-6444 • Fax (215) 355-7618 EyeCare Professional Magazine, ECP™ is published monthly by OptiCourier, Ltd. Delivered by Third Class Mail Volume 5 Number 47 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: Copyright © 2011 by OptiCourier Ltd. All Rights Reserved For Subscription Changes, email: Scan this barcode with your smartphone to go to our website.


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U L T I M A T E V I S I O N.



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1. Jee Vice A tribute to Jacky O, the Red Hot is a throwback to retro glamour. The oversized square frames are statement makers and come in a range of bold colors, shown here in red striped.

2. ICU Eyewear Etched daisy pattern frame with a two-tone rhinestone flower embellishment in true red from ICU Eyewear.


3. Zyloware Sophia Loren 1533 is a handcrafted zyl frame in a flattering oval shape. Austrian crystals on the endpiece give this frame an air of elegance. Spring hinges allow for added comfort and it easily accommodates progressive lenses. Available in size: 53-15-140.



4. Theo Spanish embroidery and an age-long tradition of leather working inspired the Hierro collection. Every hacienda has its own logo and these models have a metal brand mark. The model, Mercè combines an acetate front with metal springs. The decorative element forms a clear contrast with the solid red.



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5. McGee Group The new modern XOXO optical frames offer bold colors and the latest trends. Saucy is a full-rim metal frame with handmade acetate temples. This flirty frame has a rectangular eyeshape with wide temples featuring a 3D logo motif and inset rhinestone design.

6. Kaenon Sleek, clean and curved temples are adorned with polished jewel icons that identify this Kaenon Polarized original design, housing our patented SR-91 polarized lenses. Georgia is a fashion-driven piece that is at home on the beaches of California or the urban trend-center of New York.




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AYA Optical

Introducing the Ashley, a fashionable acetate and stainless steel frame available in colors: Black/Crystal, Red, Green, Brown, in size: 53-15-140. Partial proceeds from the sale of every pair are donated to the ONEXONE First Nations Nutritious Breakfast Program.

Best Image Optical

The “Static” frame, inspired by vintage design, is catered to men and women who love Retro-Chic eyewear. Made with Italian Zyl and designed with silver shields on the front, with “Static” you are able to accessorize a unique and sophisticated look without sacrificing any of the fun to be in red.


Clariti Eyewear

Clariti's KL 1263 from the Konishi Lite Collection comes in three colors, wine (shown), coffee, and olive. The delicate detailing on the temples add a feminine touch and the flexmemory plastic material ensures that the frames will be extremely comfortable, which is important because they will look so ravishing on you.

Trevi Coliseum Eyewear Clark 767 is a cutting edge semi rimless frame design, constructed of the highest quality Mazzucchelli Zyl. It features spring temples and adjustable nose pads for added comfort and durability backed by a two year warranty. These Italian made frames are available in 3 distinct colors, Red (shown) Black and Blue. Sold exclusively in North America by National Lens.

The Thirty Six – from the Era Collection – is simply perfect for anyone looking for vintage styling with a contemporary spin—not to mention a little bit of attitude and personality.

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Morel Eyewear

Mondottica USA introduces some fun new styles for the Anna Sui Eyewear Fall Collection: style AS177 semi rimless front with acetate temples available in red (as shown), brown and black. The Anna Sui eyewear collection is on trend and reflects the designer’s interest in distinctive, modern interpretations of retro shapes.

Messange Sun is a highly creative, retro concept that has fun with different eras. The temples are shaped like the wings of this delicate little bird, named messange and adorned with floral and lace, inspired by the romantic 1920’s; while the frame’s front evokes a 50’s, 60’s look. Zero G Eyewear

RUDY PROJECT – Technically Cool Eyewear

Rudy Project’s new wrap-style sunglass, the Hypermask, combines a cool look with incredibly lightweight eye protection. Combining the best in technology for sport with a fierce, determined look, the Hypermask is suitable for all types of activity, whether it be racing or just relaxing. Shown: Black Gloss Frame and Multilaser Red Lenses.

Studio Optyx Studio Optyx launches next generation of Monoqool in North America. The NXT material is back with style and class.

Designed in California and handcrafted in Japan from flat sheet titanium – Zero G Eyewear has become known in the industry for quality, durability, and style. The Park Slope pays homage to one of New York City’s most desirable neighborhoods, and takes inspiration from its modern yet retro vibe with a vivid red to gradient white front and beautifully textured acetate temples.



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SEIKO Launches New Wrap Tech Thin Lenses SEIKO Optical Products of America, a global leader in digital ophthalmic lens technology is offering a new product in the free-form single-vision lens category. New Wrap Tech Thin, in 1.67 index clear and polarized (gray & brown) lenses utilizes advanced SEIKO free-form technology to create lightweight and thin high-base lenses for wrap style eyewear. Michael J. Rybacki, Seiko’s Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing stated, “The demand for highly curved prescription frames in clear and sunglasses is increasing, as wearers look for high tech fashions along with comfort and advanced optics. Conventional high-base designs induce asymmetry, which can cause eye fatigue and visual discomfort. Our new Wrap Tech Thin lenses use a free-form panoramic, aspheric and asymmetric design that corrects power error and astigmatism, creating a 50mm wide ‘sweet spot’ of comfortable, natural vision centered at the fitting point. Advanced free-form

style-thinning technology is then incorporated to produce the thinnest lenses possible.” Wrap Tech Thin lenses are available clear & polarized (gray & brown) in 6.00 and 8.00 base curves in 1.67 high-index plastic, as well as in SEIKO Sportswear Transitions® SOLFX™ lenses featuring light green/gray G15 color tint indoors that changes to 85% sunglass shade outdoors when exposed to UV light. To accommodate larger frames, Wrap Tech Thin lenses are automatically decentered 5 or 10mm, giving the lens an effective diameter (ED) of 85mm. Mirror coatings and antireflective coatings are also available. For complete information on all of Seiko’s lens products, go to or call Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc. at 800-235-5367.



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The Fashionable ECP Laura Miller

The Hazy Shades of Winter The sun may be the last thing that comes to your patients’ minds when they think of winter.

S THEY GET READY for their work day, they need to remember their gloves, scarves, hats and layers of clothing. They are dealing with the trials of shoveling their driveways and scraping the ice off their cars. They are so preoccupied with the joys and tasks of cold weather, that they often don’t realize that they are constantly squinting while driving to work. They had left their sunglasses at home or somewhere at the beach at the end of the summer. Who needs shades for winter?


If your patients live anywhere with daylight hours, you as an eye care professional need to inform them about winter sun protection. It doesn’t matter if your practice is in Detroit or Florida, the winter sun’s rays can do serious damage to your patients’ eyes. When the weather gets colder, most people are thinking of protecting their body from the cold. They may ignore their sunglasses completely or think the ones from summer will suffice. There is already enough to worry about with shoveling snow, so who needs an extra worry? This attitude could be dangerous since the winter sun sits lower in the sky and at a different angle in the cold months. Winter sun reflecting off snow is more blinding than summer sun bouncing off the water. Since the sun’s rays are not blazing hot, we tend to spend more time outdoors without eye protection. Ultraviolet A and B light can be very damaging to various layers of the eye. The glare off the ground not only inhibits vision but it sends the sun’s rays upward. If your patients spend any time outdoors, don’t lose this opportunity to warn them of this possible damage and winterize your practice with seasonal sunwear. Rapid Descent by Columbia Eyewear

Smith Optics – I/OS Bronze Fallen with Gold Sensor Mirror lens

Winter sunglasses need to wrap around your patient’s face and should be lighter in tint for changing light conditions. Here are some of the best! Ray-Ban’s Daddy-O is lightweight and shatter-proof. It has a nice wrap, comes in tortoise and black, and is Rx ready. They come polarized to block out the sun and are made for sports and comfort. For women, Oakley has its Flak Jacket performance shades that are ideal for winter sports. The frame is semi-rimless and light with side protection and an 8.75 base curve. It is sleek and offers interchangeable lenses for different sports. It also has multiple, removable nosepads to create the perfect fit in all conditions. Several colors are available. Columbia Eyewear’s Rapid Descent frame is a fantastic unisex frame for winter fun. It comes in four colors from metallic black to oxide blue and has a light wrap. The frame has adjustable nosepads for an ideal fit and has several lens colors to choose from. For fashionable and functional sun protection, Rudy Project makes the Ability. This ultra-lightweight frame (.90 oz.) is great for winter sports. It is feminine and sporty with its light white frame and Bi-chromic pink lenses. These light-colored lenses are perfect for cloudy days and dusk time. Continued on page 14



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leading the way in technology. They have a line of interchangeable optics where your patients can literally change their lens with a flip of a switch to enhance performance in certain light conditions. The company also offers choices in ventilation to personalize fog control.

Daddy-O by Ray-Ban

If winter sun protection is important for your patients’ typical winter days, it is doubly important for their winter sports. Whether they ski, snowboard, or are professional snow-bunnies, proper eyewear is just as important as their ski racks, snow boots and fashionable outfits, especially if they are in the mountains. Explain to your patients that temporary conditions such as snow-blindness can occur due to exposure from ultraviolet radiation or infra-red radiation. They should be wearing goggles that remove 100% of UV radiation up to 380 nanometers at the very least. To further protect their eyes, some goggles have a wrapped system for protection against infrared radiation (IR). Though IR may not be as harmful on normal days, it may be more intense at high altitudes in the daytime where conditions are far from normal. It is important to note that most plastic based lenses will not absorb infra-red radiation. Furthermore, infra-red radiation damage is immediate while ultra violet radiation damage is cumulative throughout life. Snow goggles should act as a seal around the face and be secured with elastic strapping. Try to stock some with double lenses or an anti-fog application. A visit to your office may be the last thing a skier thinks of before hitting the slopes, but you can increase winter optical sales if you offer better education and information than the resorts and ski shops. If you choose to make some extra profits and stock some goggles, here are some to consider:

For smaller faces, Spy Optics offers the Targa Mini. This goggle has a variety of colorful designs to get your patients noticed from any altitude. It has a dual lens technology and a patented anti-fog system. Most of the company’s goggles are designed to work with most helmets.

Targa Mini by Spy Optics

For your patients that wear prescription glasses, make sure the goggles they pick are large enough to fit over them. Their glasses should have nylon frames and polycarbonate lenses to minimize fog. You may also want to stock up on some anti-fog solution because eyeglasses fog up first before goggles. To many, sunglasses are an accessory that adds flair and personality to their unique style. During difficult financial times, many of your patients may choose to buy inexpensive shades from discount stores or forgo shades all together. Most of your patients will not think of sunglasses as sun protection for their eyes unless you explain it. Don’t let your patients think sun season is only from April to August. If you inform, they will buy! ■

Rudy Project has a variety of snow-goggles such as the Klonyx. The whitepearl frame with the Kayvon Red Double Lens is 100% effective at fighting UVA/UVB light. The racing red lens has a multi-layered coating to enhance visual depths and eliminate eye fatigue. Since 1965, Smith Optics has been known for making snow goggles. As a leader in snow goggle sales, they are


Klonyx by Rudy Project


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©2011 Intercast Europe S.r.l. All rights reserved. NXT is a registered trademark of Intercast Europe S.r.l. Trivex is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.


Unrivalled technology. Unrivalled performance vision. A prescription shouldn’t stand between your patients and an incredible visual experience of the world around them. And it won’t with NXT® Rx lenses featuring: ÊÊÊUÊ`Û>˜Vi`ʈ}…ÌÊ/À>˜Ã>̈œ˜Ê/iV…˜œœ}Þ ÊÊÊUÊ1Ìˆ“>ÌiÊ œ˜ÌÀ>ÃÌ]ʏ>ÀiÊ>˜`Ê Þ˜>“ˆVÊ Àˆ}…̘iÃÃÊ œ˜ÌÀœÃÊ ÊÊÊUÊ>`iÊ܈̅ÊՏÌÀ>‡ÊVi>À]Ê`ÕÀ>Li]ʏˆ}…ÌÜiˆ}…ÌÊTrivex® material Now you can offer the premium performance of NXT lenses in many customized lens `iÈ}˜ÃÊvÀœ“Ê >ÀÊ<iˆÃÃÊ6ˆÃˆœ˜°Ê Available in the complete range of NXT lens treatments to meet every sun lens need: ÊÊUÊ*œ>Àˆâi`ÊÊÊÊÊUÊ*…œÌœV…Àœ“ˆVÊÊÊÊÊUÊ*œ>Àˆâi`Ê«…œÌœV…Àœ“ˆVÊÊÊÊÊUʈÝi`Ê̈˜ÌÃÊÊÊÊÊUʈÀÀœÀÃ

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Managing Optician Anthony Record, ABO/NCLE, RDO

The UV Index that was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Weather Service has made many Americans aware of sunburn and skin cancer as it relates to sun exposure. It’s up to ECPs to communicate that pingueculae, pterygia, and photokeratitis can all be caused by not protecting the eye against ultraviolet rays. More serious ocular conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) are of paramount concern. If the fact that 35% of our patients are blissfully unaware of the dangers of UV exposure isn’t enough to cause concern, how about this one: 33% of Americans who wear prescription eyeglasses are unaware that sunglasses are even available in prescription form. How can that be? Most ECPs simply cannot believe that statistic. You have to remember that the reason why one in three people don’t know they can get prescription eyewear is that they are ECLs not ECPs – an ECL of course, being an Eye Care Lay Person! They simply do not have the knowledge and training that we do.

Recent surveys and statistics regarding sun protection, patient knowledge, and the actions of ECPs have caused me great concern. ONSIDER SOME of the following eye-opening (pun intended) findings: According to a 2010 Eye-Q Survey, 35% of American adults are completely unaware of the eye-health risks associated with spending too much time in the sun. That means that more than one in three of the patients who walk through our door are in need of some eye education. And I hate to say it, but the 35% who are aware of the dangers of UV exposure may not have ECPs to thank for that.



A year earlier, in a 2009 Eye-Q survey, it was determined that only 38% of prescription eyeglass wearers owned a second, separate pair of prescription sunglasses – again, just more than one in three. There are many reasons for this dismal statistic. Just how culpable are front-line ECPs? Consider these findings, compiled over the last few years by someone I believe to be a completely reliable source: me. It turns out that when it comes to this issue, there’s some good news and some bad news. Over the last few years as part of my continuing education class entitled Soak Up the Sun – Protecting Your Patients and Your Practice With Prescription Sunglasses, I have surveyed over a thousand dispensing opticians, ophthalmic technicians, and other front-line eyecare professionals. One of the questions I posed asked how they feel about prescription sunglasses. Do they think prescription sunglasses are simply an option, somewhat important, very important, or an absolute necessity? As you probably could predict, 94% of all polled ECPs responded by saying prescription sunglasses are an “absolute necessity.” That’s the good news.



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The bad news is revealed in the very next question I posed to the same ECPs in attendance, which sought to discover how often they took steps to actually present the opportunity for their patients to purchase what they themselves described as an “absolute necessity.” I asked the attendees a simple yes or no question: Do you ask every patient who purchases prescription eyeglasses about purchasing a second pair of prescription sunglasses? The results? Shockingly, only 29% of these frontline dispensers answered yes; 71% said no. What that reveals is a disappointing, yet undeniable disconnect. Almost everyone said sunglasses are a necessity not an option, yet less than a third even bring up sunglasses to their clientele. Obviously this is a great disservice to the people whom we are charged to protect. Additionally, that disconnect is a reason why many of those same opticians have low job satisfaction and suffer from job-related stress. After all, if we have a core value (the need for protective sun wear) and we don’t even bring it up to 71% of our patients, it tends to make us feel not-so-great about the jobs we do. Which leads to the last statistic and consideration. In the summer months, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., UV exposure accounts for nearly 70% of a person’s yearly dose of ultraviolet radiation. What kind of “person” is most likely to be out in the sun during those hours? Children. I believe children are the one demographic that eye care professionals are truly remiss in protecting their eyes with regard to UV radiation. Remember, 35% of our customer base is unaware of the ocular risks of UV exposure. Tim, an optician in Jacksonville, Florida, recently shared a disturbing story during a CE lecture. He told our class that on his afternoon drive home from work he routinely sees a young woman jogging in a westerly direction – into the setting sun. According to Jim she is always wearing sunglasses. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to the small

toddlers in the jogging stroller she pushes in front of her as she burns those pesky calories. Tim described how the kids are routinely squinting, turning away from the sun in obvious discomfort, and shading their eyes with their hands. The mother is obviously oblivious not only to their immediate discomfort, but also to the potential damage she is allowing to occur to the eyes of the kids she loves. Tim feels like he should stop and say something to her, and eventually I bet he will. Children should not be an afterthought when it comes to sunglasses – they should be a top priority. What kind of information can we share with the parents and guardians of the kids we’re trying to protect that might persuade them to invest in sunglasses for them? Begin with a brief explanation about UV exposure, the sun, and the damage they can cause. Remember, more than a third are unaware. Moreover, be sure to inform them that the underdeveloped juvenile eyes are more susceptible to the damage. If that doesn’t convince them, be sure to share the fact that whatever damage is done to the eyes by UV exposure (that causes cataracts, ARMD, etc.) it is cumulative – that is, the damage “adds up” from birth and can cause the premature development of the ocular maladies related to sun damage. And while most of us would like to see our juvenile patients with a second, separate pair of UV-protective, ideally polarized sunglasses, if the parent/guardian isn’t willing to purchase it, don’t give up. Consider Transitions lenses as a viable alternative to nothing at all. After all, it’s available in polycarbonate, it darkens in the sun, and offers UV protection. Additionally, with a pair of Transitions, parents and kids don’t have to worry about keeping track of a second pair, and they are acceptable in most school districts that restrict students from wearing sunglasses on campus – a win-win alternative to the second pair. ■

The Dangers of UV Radiation If the eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, a “sunburn” called photokeratitis can occur. This condition may be painful and include symptoms such as red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. Photokeratitis is usually temporary and rarely causes permanent damage. But ongoing exposure to UV radiation can cause serious harm to the eyes and age them prematurely. Research has shown that exposure to small amounts of UV radiation over a period of many years increases the chance of developing cataracts, macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in adults – and eye cancer. Long-term exposure may also cause damage to the retina. To provide adequate protection for the eyes, the American Optometric Association recommends that sunglasses and protective contact lenses:

Block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation

Screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light

Sunglasses should be perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection and have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition

The AOA also urges parents to remember to protect infants’ and children’s eyes from the sun at all times. This is particularly important as kids tend to spend more time in the sun than adults. A good way to monitor eye health, maintain good vision, and keep up-to-date on the latest in UV protection is by scheduling yearly comprehensive eye exams with an eye doctor. For more information, go to



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The 21st Century Optician Warren G. McDonald, PhD Professor of Health Administration Reeves School of Business / Methodist University

Gaining a Competitive Advantage

we are on the right path, but in reality we may need substantial improvement to reach our full potential. It is kind of like the mother who thinks her son is a really good singer, but in reality he is anything but good. We must overcome this tendency and really gain a clear picture of what our target population feels about how we conduct our business. We need to know how we are perceived in the marketplace from their (not our) perspective. Are we seen as the first-line provider in our market, or are we somewhere back in the pack? Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses Our focus here is on several things: 1. Resources – what resources do we bring to the table to serve the needs of our target markets? I have seen many independent opticians sit and wonder what happened (myself included) when the typical referrals from ophthalmologists dried up many years ago with the advent of co-management. If you do not compete favorably with other providers in your market, you must try to find some niche to fill that allows you to maximize your resources. Few seem to grasp this concept well.

NO ORGANIZATION IS PERFECT. We must all recognize there are things we do well and some things we may need to improve upon. It is important to recognize both, and if we can accomplish that task, we set ourselves on the path to gaining a competitive advantage in our markets. To develop a clear understanding of our strengths and weaknesses requires a systematic process based on objective analysis, with the key word being objective. Often that is difficult to accomplish, because we naturally want to think 18 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | NOVEMBER 2011

2. Competencies – are we up to date with the current trends in the field? I often hear supposed experts discuss the ills of new development in the industry. “By golly,” they say, “those new-fangled things are not nearly as good as my old school technology.” If Henry Ford felt the way many of our “experts” do, then we would all be driving horses and buggies. Embracing new technology and modes of practice are important in the turbulent eye care marketplace, and we must develop the competencies to provide those products or services. 3. Capabilities – do we have the capability within the organization to successfully compete? Are we capable of delivering excellent products and services that allow us



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to stand out in the marketplace? There are a million questions regarding our capabilities, and simply we must understand what our parameters for success are, and remain within the limitations of those parameters. For example, don’t promise things you may not be able to deliver on time. It is better to over-achieve than under-achieve. 4. Context – all the above items, our capabilities, our competencies and our resources must be matched with the market we serve. If we provide things not valued, then we will not succeed no matter what. We must fit contextually within the marketplace. Evaluating Competitive Relevance Our organizational strengths must be measured according to several things. First, do we provide value? I read a US Air magazine on a long flight some years back and saw a quote that stuck with me. It said that people who fly on airplanes are more concerned about a safe flight than a cheap fare. As a very frequent flyer, I can attest to the truth of that statement. The second component of our market relevance is one that concerns me. Often we all sell the same or similar products and offer the same or very similar services. This second component is “rareness.” How many of our competitors provide exactly the same services and sell the same frames we do? You must find something that only you bring to the table. That is not just product related, and it may be excellence in service, but it must be something. The third is termed imitability. Can we be imitated? In our case, it is often simple to build an office that looks similar to all the others. What do you bring to the table that makes it difficult for you to be imitated? It can be a number of things, including your sparkling personality, but patients and customers still want to make certain they are receiving maximum value for what they are getting! Finally, we come to sustainability. Often we see great horses come out of the shoot with tremendous speed, but quickly sputter. When you achieve a certain level of excellence, you must be able to sustain it to continue to meet the needs of your established patient base. It is easy to lose a patient if we do not maintain the level of service that they have come to expect.

The Value Chain As is probably evident to you by now, I place great emphasis on value. Often we focus on price, which may be a mistake. Patients want their health care provider to be a good value, not necessarily the cheapest available. Think about it, would you go to the “cheapest” surgeon? Of course not! Now think about where you fit on the “value chain” in your market? There are several components of the “value chain” you should consider. First are the pre- and point-of-sale activities. When someone enters your office are they greeted immediately by a friendly person who appears to appreciate them? During the visit, are the services provided in an efficient manner, or did they have to wait excessively? This component of the chain should include marketing activities that brought them in. If you offered a special, was it available? The service aspect provides value to your patients. Second are the after-service activities. Are they checked out effectively and efficiently? Do you bill them and/or their insurance provider quickly and correctly? Did you use the opportunity to market to their family members or offer additional services to the patient? Many times they will not be aware of additional services if you do not inform them, and right after a successful visit is a great time to place a new idea in their mind. In the optical world, the after-service activities such as frame adjustment can be as important as the initial point-ofservice activities. Third are our support services. Did the lab get the job out on time? Did the techs appropriately handle the patient during the visit? There are a number of support issues that provide the important support mechanisms that can make us or break us. In larger organizations we also would discuss organizational structure and other strategic resources such as IT and human resource functions, but this article is directed towards the smaller independent, and we will eliminate those for the purposes of the intended target audience. Next month we look at our relationship with our environment. We will develop an understanding of external analysis, and combined with the internal view gain a clearer understanding of how to gain that competitive advantage we all seek. ■



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Tura Inc., a member of The Eschenbach Group, has announced a series of executive leadership changes. Scott Sennett has joined the company as president and CEO. John Weir, in preparation for his retirement, Scott Sennett will remain in an advisory role through the end of the year. Keith Kamalich has been promoted to executive vice president.

OneSight, a non-profit charity dedicated to providing healthy vision, eyewear and sun protection, named Dr. Jason Singh to the newly created post of senior director, North America. In this role he is responsible for Dr. Jason Singh leading all OneSight charitable programs coordinated by North America, including fundraising, operations and planning/execution of global, regional and vision van clinics.

Sennett was most recently president of the Oxford Apparel Group, now a division of LF USA, a subsidiary of Li & Fung Limited. Sennett, whose appointment became effective Oct. 3, will have responsibility for the general John Weir management of the company including strategic planning, brand management, marketing, inventory, design, product development and new business development.

Gunnar Optiks Gunnar Optiks has hired Bjorn Jonsson as vice president of international sales. Jonsson’s prior experience includes senior executive roles with brands such as Oakley and Boost Mobile, where he led all international sales and marketing efforts. He currently serves as a professor of marketing at Vanguard University and as a board member for Dynamic Air Engineering.

Will Be Missed... Sutherlin Optical’s Kim Scheidler Kim Steven Scheidler, director of education at Sutherlin Optical, passed away Oct. 14. He was 58 years-old and lived in Blue Springs, Mo. He had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack the previous week, was treated and released, but then had a fatal heart attack the following day. After a lengthy career as a dispenser and consultant, Kim had a 21 year career at Sutherlin Optical, where he was one of the first in the industry to serve as a director of education. He trained countless ECPs and their staffs, advancing their knowledge of new product innovations, dispensing tips and tricks, proper use of tools, how to manage their dispensary, ABO and paraoptometric certification, etc. A memorial service in Scheidler’s honor was held in Blue Springs on Oct. 17. Contributions in memory of Scheidler may be made to Wayside Waifs.

Luzerne Becomes First Independent Lab to Install Hoya Free-Form Technology

Luzerne is a family owned and operated business and has been servicing the eyecare industry nationally, as well as internationally since 1973.

Luzerne Optical Laboratories and Hoya Lens of America announced that Luzerne Optical is the first independently-owned optical laboratory to install Hoya Free-Form equipment in its facility.

Safigel Launches a 90-Pack for its Hyaluronate-gel (HA) Daily Disposable

Luzerne, based in Wilkes-Barre, PA, has been digitally processing lenses in-house since 2009. Now with Hoya Free-Form technology, the lab can offer customers more options for their patients. Hoya’s iQ lens series uses aspheric and atoric curves on the back side of the lens to offer enhanced visual acuity, reduced distortion and wider fields of vision. “As an independently owned lab, we feel it’s important to offer our customers a wide range of quality products,” said owners Neil and John Dougherty. “We believe in Hoya lens technology and are confident our in-house processing of the iQ lens series will provide the quality and quick turn-time our eyecare professionals need.” Luzerne Optical Laboratories, Ltd. is the largest independently owned, single location wholesale optical laboratory in the U.S. 20 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | NOVEMBER 2011

Safigel™ is launching a 90-Pack for its hyaluronate-gel (HA) daily disposable. In 2010 Safigel introduced its FDA-Approved daily disposable in a 30-Pack made available exclusively to ECPs directly through its office in Chicago as well as through distributor partners across the U.S. Safigel contact lenses offer patients’ bio-mimetic moisture right in the matrix of the lens that eliminates the need for inconvenient rewetting drops during the day. This benefits today’s lifestyles that require long working hours, extended times in front of the computer, and changing air quality conditions both indoors and out – with increasing complaints of dry eye from patients. For more information, go to



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Interview with


EyeCare Professional’s Paul DiGiovanni, LDO, speaking with Dale Parmenteri, Vice-President and part owner of BALESTER OPTICAL COMPANY. EyeCare Professional: Please provide a brief overview of the history of Balester Optical. Dale Parmenteri: Balester Optical is family owned and was started in 1934 by current President Heather Balester’s grandfather. The company was sold and briefly operated as one of the labs under the umbrella of the Itek corporation in the 1970’s until Heather’s father Fred J. Balester and uncle James Balester repurchased the company in 1979. We operate one location in Wilkes-Barre, PA, serving much of the East Coast with the majority of our business coming from Virginia to Massachusetts where we have sales consultants. ECP: What is Balester’s overall philosophy to customer relationships (i.e. building and enhancing customer practices through education)? DP: We are committed to providing the newest technologies available in the industry including in-house digital lens processing, 5 axis lens edging, and multiple in-house brands of No Glare (AR) treatments. In addition, we maintain an experienced sales force that is ABO certified in an effort to build relationships with our eye care practitioners, helping them manage and grow their practices through education, staff training and benchmarking. This combined with excellent customer service is our daily goal. ECP: Please explain in detail the Balester Advanced lens. DP: We currently process all Essilor and Shamir digital lens designs in-house. These in-house designs and the designs we distribute from Zeiss and Hoya are great and we encourage all our ECPs to recommend them from the exam chair. However, many of these designs have


Balester’s Crizal AR Coating System.

high royalty and click fees associated with their brands making them unaffordable to the masses. Offering private label designs like our Balester Advanced and Ultimate allows us to provide a fully compensated digital lens design in-house, priced where conventional progressive lens are, so everyone can be offered digital. In addition, it allows us to provide digital single vision lenses priced at a point so the doctor and staff can start the next generation off with digital lenses to compliment their digital life styles with iPads, iPhones, Droids etc. Both of our designs are compensated and can incorporate vertex distance and pantoscopic tilt into our lens processing software. The Balester Advanced is aimed more at the emerging or younger presbyope, providing a wider distance field, while the Ultimate is designed for the more mature progressive patients with a longer intermediate corridor and reading area. Both have a fitting range from 14 mm to 25 mm. The bottom line with digital lenses is their ability to take into account the patients eye movements throughout the lens prior to processing the lens and then digitally customizing that lens to lessen the power and axis changes throughout the lens, providing wider fields of vision and removing the unwanted distortion that patients accommodated in conventional designs. ECP: What can you tell us about your company’s “second pair” program? DP: We have a four part practice management program our reps work through with our ECPs. First is capture rate assessment and benchmarking the practice, second is recommending and dispensing second pairs, improving the bottom line and lastly, growing revenue. In reference to second pairs, we teach our ECPs to focus on dispensing second pairs and the techniques to be more successful in doing so. We also provide a 25% Continued on page 24



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BALESTER ADVANCED ™ — an in-house digital lens from Balester. When Performance and Price are most important and Brand is of less concern! A

BALESTER ADVANCED ™ design lens with User Power optimization recalculates the design for the user’s eye movement


10 OFF

any Crizal Brand AR when applied to any Balester digital progressive lens design

Compensated vs. Conventional Viewing through the Optical Center of a Conventional Lens

Errors in a Conventional Lens

The Effects of Compensated Power ©

IOT 2009

2.00 + 1.00 Axis 90

2.00 + 1.00 Axis 90

2.50 + 1.30 Axis 98

2.04 + 1.03 Axis 91 2.00 + 1.00 Axis 90 2.02 + 1.01 Axis 90

2.20 + 1.10 Axis 91

Power Ranges – Different Materials

These ranges are general guidelines. These ranges represent combined power limits. Cylinders -12 to -5.00 all products. Adds are currently available from +1.00 to +3.50. Ranges include all Polarized, Transitions and Photochromics. Wrap capability only available on Base Curves 4 through 8.



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invoice discount on second pair polarized SV, ST and PALs in addition to a 25% invoice discount on 2nd pair PALs with one of our in-house No Glare (AR) brands applied. We offer this so the ECP can pass some of this through and increase the number of second pair lenses and frames sold. It is increasingly important that the staff focus on this in the challenging economic environment. ECP: What is the total number of jobs that Balester produces per day? Uncut vs. finished. DP: Our yearly average is 870 jobs per day and 52% are uncut. ECP: What is your approximate turn around time? DP: Our uncuts average 2 days in-house including AR. 43% of our jobs receive AR currently. Cut and edged work averaged 3.7 days in-house last month. ECP: What are some of the featured brands that Balester handles and is able to offer competitive pricing on? DP: We take pride in our ability to distribute the Varilux, Shamir, Transitions, Zeiss, Hoya, Kodak, Definity, NuPolar, Xperio etc. brands and value our vendor relationships as well. ECP: What new lab equipment and/or technology has been put in place in the past year or two to help improve the overall service offered to your customers?

Balester’s new Schneider digital lens processing system.

DP: We currently have our second robotic Schneider digital lens processing system coming in later this month and recently installed our first 5 axis robotic lens edger to improve our wraps, goggles and drilled work. We now have three robotic systems in both our surfacing and finishing departments improving our accuracy and turnaround time. 24 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | NOVEMBER 2011

ECP: Please explain some of the advantages of dealing with Balester including in-office training provided by your ABO certified opticians? DP: I am ABO certified and require all the reps to perform online education until they are certified as well. It’s an important part of our overall strategy to service our ECPs the best we can. If their practices are not healthy and thriving, we aren’t healthy and thriving. ECP: What do you think the ECP should be focused on going forward in this evolving industry? DP: The industry is changing in many ways. Technology is giving us the flexibility of customizing the lens to each patient, while frame brands offer an increasing variety of choices for consumers as well. ECPs will have to educate themselves and their staff to be able to properly explain, demonstrate and position these lens and frame technologies in their practices. I believe as the industry changes, the lab consultant will become more important, particularly on the lens side. Your lab rep should be able to offer much more than product. Benchmarking and staff training are as important as the products prescribed. A commitment from the lab to the ECP to help practice build as well as manufacturing the end pair of eyeglasses will be important to both the lab and ECP relationship. This relationship will also exist in an environment where third party insurance is involved with most eyewear purchased. The lab to ECP relationship will also require a general understanding of third party insurance and the ECP will need help evaluating which plans he or she should take or decline. The practice of accepting any insurance can be costly and harmful to the bottom line of the practice. All of the above constitutes practice management and the industry can’t afford to neglect this area any longer. Our technologies are changing and so are the skills to deliver them to the patient. My advice to the ECP is to look for partners that will provide ongoing help in adapting to the ever changing optical landscape. ■ Dale Parmenteri is Vice-President and part owner of Balester Optical Company, in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Dale attended Wilkes University where he received his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, minoring in Finance, Information Systems and Social Sciences. He began his career at Balester Optical in 1983 and is currently responsible for marketing and operations of the lab. Dale resides in the Wilkes-Barre area with his wife Ellen and son Matthew. He served on the OLA Board and Member Advisory Board for a total of 10 years and continues on the nominating committee. In addition, he continues as an active member of the Vision Council AR Committee.



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The Mobile Optician Ginny Johnson, LDO, ABOC

What’s the most popular lab gripe that I constantly hear from ECPs (drum roll please)? ECP: The lab should have called us. Me: Why? ECP: Because the lenses should have been here by now. When I hear this come out of an ECP’s mouth I have to laugh. Laughter may seem inappropriate to you so let me try to explain. I am picturing in my head a huge building with hundreds of job trays being processed and someone yelling out to a robot to call the account and let them know there has been a breakage. The robot frowns. Hundreds of miles away a practice phone rings and the voice on the line says, “Warning, warning, danger, danger, the lenses for pt. Jones did not meet ANSI standards. We are very sorry. We are working overtime to make you happy. Thank you for your business. Good bye.” Still not laughing? It’s better than the robot making a human error and not calling at all.

Labs Labs Labs Yeah (they’re gonna get you) Labs Labs Labs Yeah (they won’t forget you) I’M A FIRM BELIEVER in using humor as a memory tool. The more you can make someone laugh, the less likely they are to forget you. Laughing is a free form way to reduce stress, sadness, and even anger. Speaking of freeform, have you laughed with (not at) your optical lab lately? Let’s block off a few minutes today to do so. Apart from labs we are basically plano. Together we should be crystal clear with our expectations of each other from the beginning of the relationship. Before you open a new lab account and sign on the dotted line, leave no room for guessing. Find out the contact names and roles of the key people you will be dealing with. Keep your lab reps’ cell phone numbers handy. Don’t hold back on asking questions or expressing concerns. The lab’s welcome kit should answer your questions, except for the unusual situations that surface from time to time. 26 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | NOVEMBER 2011

Lab delays, breakages, redos, Rx changes, optician errors are all part of the ebb and flow of doing business. We should work together on having the best method for tracking lab orders. Being the middleman or woman between the patient and the lab is a tough spot to be in sometimes. I’ll admit I have played rock, paper, scissors with staff to see who will make the call to a patient regarding a delay in their order. Some labs will send a daily fax to update you on the whereabouts of each patient’s order. That can be very helpful if you know the lab’s lingo. If you don’t, then ask them to send you a Job Status/Station Definitions sheet to reference. Here are a few examples: JOB – patient’s lab order FTC – frame to come FOBO – frame on back order MOUNTING – frame and lens components are put together SURF OUT – lenses are leaving surfacing dept to go to mark up and blocking for edging



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DRILLDONE – mounting lenses into rimless style frames is complete All labs are not created equal, so communication by email or phone may be the way to stay in touch. You can also find out the status of your lab orders on VisionWeb. Hopefully your patient’s job status is never SNAKE BIT. That’s the job that has been remade so many times that everyone is in the hole. If you work with labs that aren’t local then you probably have been exposed to eyewear packaging on steroids. That’s the delivery of one complete pair of Rx eyeglasses in a box that a medium size pizza could fit in. The eyeglasses are delicately wrapped in tissue, styrofoam, cardboard with a rubberband around them in a sealed ziplock bag. The manufacturer’s demo lenses, cleaning cloths and important notices are included. It is a recycler’s paradise on the days when multiple pairs are delivered. What do you do with the excess packaging supplies that you accumulate from labs? Send us an email with your creative recycling ideas to Sorry but returning it to the lab is not creative enough. Doesn’t it feel great knowing that you are on the forefront of advanced vision technology? I don’t know about you but I am an inventor. I know just what I want in a pair of lenses for a particular patient. I put the order through the electronic ordering process, receive confirmation and stack the job tray on top of the other job trays ordered from the same lab. The problem is

that the lab doesn’t always go for my inventions. Mainly when the lenses that I have ordered don’t even exist. Shame on me for not going to the lens guru first. Who has time to keep up with the ever changing list of progressive addition lenses (PALs)? Tony does! His website is the best resource on the web to find accurate, complete and up to date information on all brands of PALs. Stay tuned because Tony will be expanding his website in the coming months. Most practices have more than one lab that they work with. You may have one lab that specializes in drill mounts, one that you trust with difficult Rxs, and one that makes your safety eyewear. The one thing that all of your labs should have in common is an attitude of we got your back. Labs aren’t looking for lab hoppers. At the same time it’s no fun for ECPs to feel like they need to kick a lab to the curb. I’m not on the payroll of any specific lab. Nor did anyone put anything in my luggage without my consent. I know that ECPs can carry around lab baggage from time to time. Just remember to be careful about how you unload it. After all, the lab that you despise and stopped using may be working on your patient’s lenses right now. What!? It’s no joke that labs work together all of the time to do what it takes to get the job done. Funny how we forget that from time to time. I’m just glad the lab doesn’t forget. Oh yeah and if you don’t practice humor I guess you don’t ever have to worry about dying laughing. ■



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Optical Philanthropy Judy Canty, ABO/NCLE

The Opportunity to Give AS WE ENTER THE SEASON of thanks and giving, pause a few moments to consider how you can ensure that someone else can see and enjoy the holidays.

How can you, the eye care professional, help? You can volunteer through any number of charitable and/or volunteer organizations.

According to the United Nations World Health Organization: • 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 264 million have low vision. • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries. • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment; cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle-income and lowincome countries. • 80% of all visual impairment can be avoided or cured. • About 65% of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and older. • An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired and of this number, 12 million are visually impaired due to refractive error and 1.4 million are irreversibly blind. While these facts may tug at a few heart strings, ponder these numbers much closer to home: • 10 million of those visually impaired are in the United States and that number is projected to double within the next 30 years. • In 2010, Remote Area Medical ( provided 10,721 eye exams and 7,756 pairs of eyeglasses in the United States during camps in areas including Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and California.


LIONS CLUBS INTERNATIONAL: Arguably the most wellknown volunteer service organization, Lions Clubs collect and recycle millions of eyeglasses every year, making it one of their most popular activities. Lions Clubs International operates 18 eyeglass recycling centers in the US and around the world. It costs Lions less than $0.08 to provide a pair of recycled eyeglasses. Volunteer Lions prepare eyeglasses for distribution, ship large quantities of prepared eyeglasses to humanitarian teams and supply Lions permanent clinics with an inventory of prepared eyeglasses. While “Gift of Sight” programs are most visible during the holidays, the need continues the year round and your local Lions accept donated eyeglasses (and sometimes hearing aids) all year. To find the nearest Lions Club, visit their website at EYE-GIVE FOUNDATION: Founded in 2010 by Optovue Incorporated, the Eye-Give Foundation arranges or provides donations of advanced technology to various sight-saving charities and organizations around the world. Located in Fremont, California, Optovue manufactures advanced imaging tools for use in the eye care industry. To learn more about Optovue and the Eye-Give Foundation, visit their website at VISION SPRING: Founded in 2007 as the Scojo Foundation, VisionSpring uses a micro-lending business model, allowing poor people in developing or underserved countries to sell eyewear to others in their areas. With more than 610,000 pair of Continued on page 30



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FREE TransitionsÂŽ lens upgrade on any KODAK Progressive Lens from FEA* 1SPNPUJPOQFSJPE/PWFNCFSUISPVHI%FDFNCFS 

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Kodak and the Kodak trade dress are trademarks of Kodak, used under license by Signet Armorlite, Inc. CleAR is a trademark of Signet Armorlite, Inc. Transitions and the swirl are UHJLVWHUHGWUDGHPDUNVRI7UDQVLWLRQV2SWLFDO,QF3KRWRFKURPLFSHUIRUPDQFHLVLQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFHGE\WHPSHUDWXUH89H[SRVXUHDQGOHQVPDWHULDOÂ&#x2039;6LJQHW$UPRUOLWH,QF



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eyeglasses sold, VisionSpring estimates the positive economic impact to be millions of dollars through job creation and increased productivity. To understand the scope of this entrepreneurial organization, visit their website at ORBIS INTERNATIONAL: Among its many international programs, Orbis International operates the Flying Eye Hospital, staffed from a pool of more than 500 medical professionals and utilizing volunteer pilots from FedEx and United Airlines. Its first mission took off in 1982 and has since visited 85 countries and performed millions of vision saving operations. Orbis International has field offices in several countries and provides education and care to needy patients worldwide. Spend some time watching video and slide presentations at their website VOLUNTEER OPTOMETRIC SERVICES TO HUMANITY (VOSH/INTERNATIONAL): Established in 1971, VOSH is a non-governmental (NGO), non-sectarian, apolitical organization dedicated to the provision of eye and vision services for those who are below poverty level and without access to local eyecare. VOSH has 32 regional chapters and 29 student chapters in the US, Canada, Honduras, India, Africa, South America and the Netherlands. Members include optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians and lay volunteers dedicated to its mission to eliminate avoidable blindness. The chapters average between 80 and 90 missions annually, serving more than 100,000 people in need. VOSH also operates disaster clinics in areas devastated by natural and man-made disasters. Learn more about VOSH at their website FRAMES FOR THE WORLD /A National Vision, Inc. Foundation: One of the newest players in the field, Frames for the World was established in September 2010 by National Vision. According to Reade Fahs, CEO of National Vision, “In our business life we devote ourselves to bringing low cost eyewear to cost conscious consumers throughout the United States. In our philanthropic life, we try to use our understanding of manufacturing and the optical supply chain as well as our many connections throughout the worldwide optical industry to help make affordable new eyeglasses available to poorer people in the developing world.”

Frames for the World acts as an intermediary in the process of providing low cost eyewear, by managing frame donations to ensure the frames were going to those with the greatest need. The organization works with non-profit eye hospitals in Latin America. Learn more about this new player at their website PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA: PBA was founded in 1908 and is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to preventing blindness and saving sight. Prevent Blindness America trains and certifies adult and children’s vision screeners and screening instructors through the only national program of its kind, providing 20,000 vision screening personnel with the skills necessary to help people in their communities. They support groundbreaking vision research and advocate at the local, state and national levels in an effort to improve our nation’s health policies. Find more information on how you can participate at These are just a small representation of the hundreds of ways that you can give back to your community, your country and the world at large. Whether you choose to participate from the comfort of your home through financial contributions or by actively joining an organization, the fact is that you will never regret your participation. The average American will spend in excess of $350.00 on Black Friday. If Lions Clubs International can supply a pair of life altering eyeglasses for $0.08, surely you can spare a bit of pocket change or a few hours of your time to help give the gift of sight. ■ “Everybody can be great—because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” —MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. 30 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |NOVEMBER 2011



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Baby Boomers Worry about Eye Health but Skip Regular Exams, Says Survey

The National Eye Institute estimates that over the next 30 years, the number of Americans that experience eye health issues will double because of aging baby boomers. Still, although boomers worry about vision loss almost as much as heart disease and cancer, that anxiety does not translate into regular eye exams. In addition, very few are aware that there are some important nutrients that help maintain eye health. According to a new survey released by the Ocular Nutrition Society, 55 percent of baby boomers worry about vision loss compared with 60 percent who worry about heart disease and 62 percent who worry about cancer. However, there is a disconnect between the anxiety of possible disease occurring and what they do to address it. For example, while 78 percent of survey respondents ranked vision as the most important of the five senses, only 43 percent visited their eye doctor once a year. In addition, most were unaware of the nutritional supplements that can help prevent eye maladies. A full two thirds of respondents were not aware that lutein plays a key role in eye health, nearly 9 out of 10 did not know that zeaxanthin is a key nutrient for eye health, and more than half were unaware that omega-3s are important for eye health. “We wanted to gain an understanding of how active boomers are about maintaining their eyes as they age and what they know about overall eye health,” said Jeffrey Anshel, OD, FAAO, president, Ocular Nutrition Society. “If people are at risk for heart disease they typically make lifestyle modifications. This survey revealed low awareness of essential nutrients and highlights the need for greater education on the lifestyle modifications that baby boomers should be incorporating into their daily lives, including proper nutrition, to safeguard eye health as they age.” This Eye on the Boomer telephone survey of a national random sample of 1,001 Americans aged 45 to 65 was conducted by KRC Research, an independent marketing research organization. The survey was supported by an educational grant from Bausch + Lomb, which provides the Ocuvite line of ocular nutrition products. NOVEMBER 2011 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL| 31



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Dispensing Optician Lindsey Getz

Expand your Reach

F WE’RE BEING HONEST, most of us would admit that we like dealing with people who are like us. It’s just easier. We understand what they want because it’s what we want too. While that may be the easier route, it’s not smart business. With consumer demographics changing, it’s always important to be reaching new customer groups—and that means marketing to people who are different than us.


This may mean stepping out of our comfort zone and that’s not always easy to do. But it’s something that Kelly McDonald, president of McDonald Marketing and author of How to Market to People not like you has become an expert in. What started as a hot topic in her professional speaking career—a topic she was continually asked to speak on—lead to a publisher seeking her out for a book deal. No matter what industry, all business owners want to know how they can expand their reach. Branching Out If you have trouble reaching customer groups that aren’t like you, you’re not alone. It’s common for people to connect best with people like themselves, says McDonald. “It’s because the only frame of reference you have is your own,” she adds. “Whether it’s experience or values—conscious or unconscious—we all see the world a certain way and it’s easier to relate to those who see it the way we do. It’s hard to truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes, yet the very best marketing does just that—it gets in the head of someone else.”

Today’s world has continued to diversify and the customers that walk through your door aren’t typically “like you.” That requires learning to meet the needs of all kinds of groups. McDonald offers a few of her best tips to make that happen.

Gender Differences While these are generalities and there will always be exceptions, McDonald says that one of the biggest shopping differences between men and women is that women tend to love choices while men want things simplified. “There’s a reason why men only have three colors of suits—black, gray and navy—and that’s because they want to walk in and pick Kelly McDonald out a suit and be done with it,” says McDonald. “But women love choices and we feel empowered when we see all of our options.” In order to cater to these needs, McDonald suggests letting women take the time to try on all the frames. Your female customer likely won’t need as much guidance—though she may value some opinions.“Women want to try on every frame in the store and will feel really good when they make a decision because they’ll know they looked at all the options and chose what they really wanted,” says McDonald. Men, on the other hand, may prefer you to narrow it down for them. “Pick out a handful of frames and tell them it’s what’s selling the most or what most men their age gravitate toward,” suggests McDonald. “They’ll be so appreciative that you’ve narrowed the selection as most men feel overwhelmed when Continued on page 34




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they have too many choices. They prefer to keep decision making simple.” Racial Diversity Consumer demographics data tells us that today’s consumers are more diversified than ever. According to McDonald, the Census has shown that one in three people in the US is not white. That equates to understanding what customers of varying ethnicities are looking for in their eyecare experience. Speaking again in generalities, Hispanics typically have a wider bridge versus Asians who may have a small bridge. That makes a huge difference in the kind of frame they need, says McDonald. “It’s not just coming up with some marketing campaign that’s going to reach a different population—it’s about actually understanding fundamental differences in how their glasses fit,” she says. It’s also important to be sensitive to different groups’ needs. McDonald says that data shows Hispanic families tend to be larger. And it’s not uncommon for a mother to bring all of her children with her to do her day’s errands. “That’s important because it means having ample seating in your waiting area,” says McDonald. “We often hear retailers say that their waiting area has two or three chairs. That’s not going to be enough for large families that may come in together.” Generational Gaps Besides gender and race, age is also an important factor as the generations all have their own wants and needs. McDonald says that Gen Y (also called the Millennial generation) tends to care about fashion. “Style is going to play a huge role in their selection process,” she says. “Many in this generation would be willing to eat bologna sandwiches all month in order to afford those $500 frames. This generation typically finds a way to pay for what they really want.”


McDonald says that younger generations also care about convenience and that may mean re-evaluating the way you communicate with them. “They don’t want you to call them when their glasses are ready—they’d rather you text them,” she says. “If email and texting are something you’re behind on, you may be missing an opportunity to reach a whole generation that prefers those modes of communication.” When it comes to older generations including Boomers and Seniors, McDonald says that fashion is still a consideration, but functionality is also going to be really important. “These are the generations that truly need those glasses in order to be able to see well,” she says. “They’re using them on a daily basis so functionality becomes much more critical—but they still want to look good, too.” High Potential Prospects While it can be a challenge to begin recognizing some of the changes that may need to be implemented in your practice in order to expand your reach, it’s one that can pay off. But McDonald says that the biggest mistake business owners make in trying to reach new customer is something she calls “spray and pray.” “It’s when the business doesn’t define their market space but just sprays their message as broadly as possible and prays it will work,” she explains. “You can have the most amazing dog food in the world and offer a great deal, but it means nothing if the consumers receiving your message don’t have a dog. You have to make sure you’re reaching people that care about your product or service. Small business owners try to be all things to all people but you’re better off focusing on the high potential prospects—that is the people you really need to reach to grow the most.” ■



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Young Males are Most Popular Users of Action Sports Sunglasses, VC Report Says Ownership and usage of action sports sunglasses is most popular among men under the age of 45 participating in motocross riding, snow skiing and snowboarding/tubing activities, according to a recent VisionWatch study by the Vision Council. In an effort to gauge the popularity and use of action sports sunwear, in August the Vision Council interviewed 8,221 sunglass purchasers, 46 percent of whom had participated in an action sports activity in the past year. The ensuing Vision Council report titled Vision Watch 2011 Action Sports Sunglass Report revealed the following trends. When asked what their favorite action sport brand was, the majority, some 47 percent, said “they did not know.” However, of those that did insert a brand, Oakley was by far the most popular brand with 23 percent of respondents saying it was their favorite action sports sunglass. The second most popular brand cited was Ray Ban with 8 percent of respondents naming it as their go to brand. Ownership of action sports sunglasses was highest among the same group that participation in action sports activates was highest—young males. Overall, 12 percent of respondents said they had purchased or owned action sports sunglasses. Among those under the age of 45, some 17 percent said they owned action sports sunglasses. Ownership was also higher among the higher income

group with 15 percent saying they owned versus 10 percent saying they owned among the lower income group. The most common sports to wear action sports sunglasses or goggles during were motocross riding (37 percent), followed by snow skiing (31 percent), and snowboarding/tubing (30 percent). Surprisingly, while fishing was the most common form of action sports, it was one of the least common sports to wear action sports sunglasses. As for income, region and education level, action sports participation was fairly well distributed among both higher and lower income households, according to the report. When it came to purchasing trends, the most common places to buy action sports sunglasses were chain sporting goods retailers (18 percent) and local sporting goods retailers near the sporting activity (14 percent). Chains were especially popular among men, older consumers, more affluent consumers, and those in the Northeast. Online retailers were also a popular place to purchase action sports sunglasses with 15 percent turning to the internet to make a purchase. Among specific retail locations, Oakley’s The O Store was the most popular place to purchase action sports sunglasses.



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Second Glance Elmer Friedman, OD

Eyewitness Misidentification and Vision Limits York’s Yankee Stadium and being able to recognize someone in the box seats behind home plate.

There is an old saying, “Seeing is believing.” I’ll reply with an old song title: “It ain’t necessarily so.” There is a growing list of psychologists and vision experts that strongly maintain that the vision, memory and testimony of eyewitnesses in both civil and criminal cases may be fallible. This is substantiated by hundreds of peer reviewed socialscientific publications that have commented on the recent rise of exonerations based on DNA evidence. False identification of an innocent suspect as the perpetrator of a crime is the single greatest cause of wrongful conviction in the U.S. Recently the media has headlined a number of misidentification cases into stunning accounts of local and national interest. Experts agree that it is easier to identify suspects when viewing them at a close distance. The greater the distance from a suspect, the more details that are lost. Even at a distance of ten feet, details concerning a person’s eyelashes are lost. At 200 feet, details of a person’s eyes cannot be distinguished. At 500 feet, a person’s head is a big blur. The smaller the object or the further the distance that the details are observed, the greater the chance of blurring and misidentification. When witnesses say they viewed something at 120 feet, for example, experts can take a picture of the scene and will know just how much to blur it to match it at that distance. Identifying a person from 450 feet is the equivalent of sitting in the center field bleachers at New 36 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL |NOVEMBER 2011

A stumbling block lies in misleading or lack of pre identification instructions. In traditional procedures, eyewitnesses are presented with one or more live or photograph line ups that include a suspect and non suspect “fillers.” If not provided with instructions to the contrary, the witness may assume that the perpetrator is in the lineup and that the witness must identify one of the lineup members as the perpetrator or that the lineup depends on their immediately making a successful identification. Therefore witnesses often make “relative judgments” choosing the individual who looks most like the perpetrator when compared to the other lineup members rather then the person who actually committed the crime. The problem is exacerbated when the witness strives to make an identification at all costs. Differences may occur when the administrator of an identification procedure knows the identity of the suspect and may innocently cue the witness through facial expressions and gestures as to the correct answer and undermine the ability of the witness to make an independent identification from memory. If fillers in a lineup are not chosen who look somewhat like the suspect, that suspect tends to stand out. For instance, if the suspect is bald, has an unusual hairstyle, has tattoos, is of a different race, or has other distinguishing features that cause the suspect to look significantly unlike the fillers, the witness may be unconsciously led to pick the suspect under suspicion. After an identification procedure, law enforcement officials sometimes make statements that inflate the witness’ confidence in his/her identification. An administrator may compliment a witness as having done a good job because they identified the same suspect as another witness. This may lead a witness to depend on an overconfident memory rather then to reinforcing comments or clues. Members of a line up or photo array are traditionally presented to a witness simultaneously rather than once at a time.



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Recent media revelations and investigations have shown that far too many suspects identified in simultaneous presentations have been proven to be not guilty of the respective crime. Modern methods of video I.D., DNA and other scientific supportive knowledge have pointed to the sequential (individual) line up or photo as the method of choice for obtaining accurate witness identification. This is a checkpoint for witnesses who tend to identify the individual who looks most like the perpetrator by comparing each line up member with their independent memories of the perpetrator’s appearance. Other factors that influence the observation of the witness include memory gaps, stress or trauma and the degree of attention that the witness paid to the event. Eyewitness memory is not a transcript or video record. Memory is an imprecise interpretive reconstruction of events subject to contamination in both its initial encoding and subsequent retrieval. Accurate memory of an event decreases over time. During memory recall, individuals often unconsciously fill in memory gaps with information from other memories, knowledge or assumptions. Examiners call this “unconscious transference.” Individuals tend to recall information best under conditions of low to moderate stress. Experiments reveal that under those ideal conditions witnesses correctly identified the perpetrator 62-76 percent of the time. But those exposed to a high stress scenario could only do so 30-34 percent of the time. Another contributing factor is the presence of a weapon because it tends to draw attention away from the perpetrator’s appearance to the weapon itself. Eyewitness identifications of individuals of different races other than the witness are, on average, less accurate than identification of individuals of the same race. This observation may contribute to the disproportionate number of the wrongfully convicted who are minorities compared to the prison population as a whole. In his book, “Judging Innocence,” Brandon Garrett writes that 73% of individuals wrongfully convicted of rape and exonerated between 1989 and 2007 were black or Hispanic. A study by Wells (et al) in 1998 examined 40 cases where DNA exonerated wrongfully convicted people. In 90% of the cases, mistaken eyewitness identification played a major role. Huff, in 1987, studied 500 wrongful convictions and concluded that mistaken eyewitness identification occurred in 60% of the cases. This is an amazingly high number since eyewitness identification is important in only 5% of all trials. There are other estimator variables as identified by the Texas Innocence Network. They include: • Age of the witness counts. The identifications by children and the elderly tend to be less accurate than those of adults.

the crime, the difficulty of identifying the perpetrator increases. • With all things being equal, the longer the witness is exposed to the perpetrator, the more accurate the information will be. • Identification of males by females or females by males tend to be less accurate than identifications by same sexes. • When a witness views an individual in a different location away from the scene of the crime, it will be more difficult to identify him/her. • The illumination or lay out of the crime scene can affect the witness ability to perceive, and therefore recall the identity of the perpetrator. Dr. Paul Michel is an eyewitness expert specializing in eyewitness identification and eyewitness testimony regarding false identification and threat assessment. He is experienced as a doctor of optometry and a specialist police investigator who is qualified to give expert testimony and opinions on eyewitness identification. He feels that when false eyewitness identification is given, the results can be devastating. False identification may occur if the eyewitness is either confused or is deliberately dishonest. Honest confusion can occur when the vision is imperfect and reveals the fallibility of a human sense organ. Some eyewitnesses have been known to report that which is impossible for the human eye to visualize because there are finite limitations to human visual acuity. Yet, unbelievably, they are convinced that they have seen things beyond their capability. However, under the right conditions vision eyewitness identification can be very accurate. Conditions that limit vision skills, in addition to those already mentioned by Dr. Michel include: movement, time constraints, distance and eye disease. Police investigators, generally, don’t understand the significance of the visual environment under which witnesses made their identification. After all, they are police investigators and not vision experts. Insofar as lighting differences are concerned, Dr. Michel recommends that when videos or photos of the crime scene or suspects are provided the precise lighting level and patterns of lighting may be a major factor in determining the validity of the eye witness identification and therefore, should be documented. There are some situations where identification is likely to be more accurate. For instance, if the suspect is someone previously known to the victim or eye witness, then a high level of accuracy is more probable. As more research is completed in the field of eye witness identification, no doubt more standards will be available to guide police officers during the questioning procedures of potential eye witnesses. ■

• If a large number of people were present at the scene of NOVEMBER 2011 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL| 37



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OD Perspective Jason Smith, OD, MS

When is the Time to Take Away the Car Keys from your Parents and Grandparents? A Personal and Professional Dilemma

They may not be able to drive. They may need hearing aids. Their glasses or contact lenses may not provide 20/20 corrected vision. They may be diabetic, hypertensive, have osteoporosis, be confused, be suffering from Alzheimer’s, or have had a stroke or a heart attack. They may be suffering from physical or mental limitations if they have survived a stroke or a heart attack. They may be in chronic pain. They may have needed surgical procedures for a pacemaker, a catheter, or a knee or hip replacement.

AS THE BABY BOOMERS are now reaching middle age, many have found themselves taking care of their parents at home. The original baby boomers have grown up and are now grandparents. These baby boomers are children of the Vietnam Era, Kent State, Woodstock, peace marches, President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and love, peace, and happiness. I am among this generation.

Most have had cataract surgery or are in need of cataract surgery. Many will suffer from age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. The numerous problems encountered have medical, financial/economic, social, personal, and family ramifications. The scope of the multiple problems that are encountered on a day-to-day basis may affect the health of the caregiver. I know this personally from first-hand experience. I have seen these aging patients in my optometric practice for 20 years. I am also the staff optometrist at many nursing homes. In addition, I care for my 88 year old father at home who is a retired optometrist.

As a group, we are now facing personal and family challenges that were never thought about years ago. As our parents and our grandparents age, we are watching the aging process affect their muscles, bones and joints, senses of hearing, smell, and sight, and the mind as well. These aging loved ones are more dependent on medications to function properly than in their youth and their doctors’ appointments continue to increase. Many of these needed medications help a patient to survive and to maintain health, but may cause side effects. If this aging population is lucky, they may be able to have their independence to enjoy a productive life as they enter their retirement or “golden” years.

One common problem that many ECPs have encountered is driving problems among the elderly population. It becomes a more profound problem when that elderly person is your parent or grandparent. You are now put in the position of becoming the “parent of the parent.” How do you say to your mother or father that they cannot drive any longer? As an eye care professional, how and when do you become involved with this decision in order to protect the public? It is not easy to maintain your professional standards when the patient is a loved one, yet it is mandatory.

Those people who are not as fortunate will have their independence affected in many ways like being homebound. They may have their mobility affected by being in a wheelchair.

These decisions place you and the patient, or the parent or grandparent, in positions of conflict that have never existed before. The loss of independence for an elderly person is enormous. Their acceptance of that loss is slow to arrive. As the


Continued on page 40



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The theme for SECO 2012 isn’t just Education, it’s Education Plus. Our goal at SECO this year is to present the best CE experience in the eye care industry by emphasizing future trends and technology in order to help you stay ahead of the curve by providing information on what optometric practices may look like in the next decade and beyond. SECO 2012 will offer nearly 400 hours of continuing education with 16 hours of -9,,Special Session continuing education included in the registration fee. Special Sessions present additional topics of interest in a unique format to a large audience. Topics such as “Current Quandaries in Glaucoma,” an expert panel discussion on new topics such as best primary therapy and best methods to assess IOP; and “What Lies Ahead”—emphasizing procedures that might become commonplace in a primary eye care practice.


SECO 2012 features Optometry’s Marketplace at SECO™, one of the largest exhibit halls in optometry. With 70,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, Optometry’s Marketplace™ features nearly 300 industry-leading companies showcasing new trends and the most recent product introductions, as well as breakthrough technologies and services. The exhibitors in Optometry’s Marketplace™ have what every eye care professional needs for a successful practice.


SECO 2012 will offer the opportunity for attendees to participate in more than 50 social and affiliate events. Whether it’s an alumni event, company meeting, networking function, or one of SECO’s popular events, attendees will have something fun and entertaining to do almost every night.



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caregiver to an elderly parent or grandparent, you must now drive the affected party to all of their appointments. This includes lunches, meetings, social events, and the now more numerous doctors’ appointments. If you are working, this can affect your job. If you have children, it will affect the time you can spend with your children. The sacrifice is huge. But the alternative to do nothing and to let a risky patient, parent, or grandparent drive can have life-threatening and financial consequences. Whose name is the car in? Who pays for the insurance? Who is liable in the case of an accident? What about the harm they may do themselves or others?

equipment to properly evaluate visual acuity. Drivers licensed under the third condition must pass a driving test, may not drive on freeways, may be limited to driving within a specific geographic area, and may have the license suspended if involved in one at-fault crash or receives two violations during a 1-year period. Telescopic lenses may not be used to meet the standards. The horizontal visual field requirement is at least 120 degrees (combined) in the horizontal meridian, excepting the normal blind spots. A person may be adequately sighted in one eye and still meet the requirements, however, the license will be restricted to vehicles with outside mirrors that provide a view of the highway for a distance of 200 feet to the rear.”

Taking a pre-emptive action may prevent you or your loved one from having a picture of an accident on the front page of the The American Medical Association ( has newspaper for a situation that will affect all parties and many a good resource called the “Physician’s Guide to Assessing and families forever. And I can promise you that most people Counseling Older Drivers.” The guidebook has plenty of will not give up the car keys quietly. Doctors, lawyers, and other information about assessing a patient’s driving ability. The family members may need to intercede. It can become guide includes medications and medical conditions that impair complicated. In Pennsylvania, licensed physicians and mobility, vision, hearing, reflexes and judgment, tips on having optometrists play a vital role in ensuring the the conversation with patients and caregivers, advice on how to safety of the roadways. avoid isolation and Pennsylvania has required dependence when driving by law that physicians and is no longer to your mother optometrists report to the sensible or safe, discussion Pennsylvania Department of a doctor’s ethical or father that they cannot drive any longer? of Transportation those responsibilities, and statedrivers under their care As an eye care professional, how and when do by-state guidelines for whose driving skills may you become involved with this decision in order reporting drivers to the be affected by a medically state department of related condition or a to protect the public?” motor vehicles, which has visual disability. the ultimate say in who remains on the road. An excellent website, requirements.html, provides a list of vision screening and The lessons of the guidebook include the great difficulties standards for a license to drive for every state. Pennsylvania physicians and ECPs have at this sensitive moment, and how requirements are as follows. much easier it would be if the decision did not involve them. Physicians and ECPs must wrestle with laws that vary by state “Vision is screened only at original licensure (unless drivers are on a variety of issues including, how elderly drivers are assessed randomly selected for random reexamination). Applicants who differently than younger ones, whether it is mandatory or fail to meet the 20/40 acuity standard are referred to their eye care optional for doctors and ECPs to report their concerns, how specialist, who must complete a form which the applicants bring doctors and ECPs are supposed to go about it and strike the back to the licensing center. A person who must wear corrective right balance between confidentiality and safety, and whether lenses to meet the standard is restricted to driving with corrective they risk legal liability if they alert the state authorities or if they lenses. Individuals with visual acuity poorer than 20/40 with both keep silent and an accident occurs. eyes may drive with a daylight-only restriction if one of the following conditions is met: (1) the combined vision has been In short, they provide some guidelines to assist the ECP with corrected to 20/60 or better; (2) the combined vision is less than this moral, ethical and professional decision making process. 20/60 but at least 20/70 , and recommendation is obtained from a This is a topic that will have potentially profound ramifications licensed optometrist or licensed physician who has equipment to for all involved regardless of what decision is made or not properly evaluate visual acuity; (3) the combined vision is less made. However, with these guidelines the ECP will hopefully than 20/70 but at least 20/100 , and recommendation is obtained make the decision that is best for all concerned. ■ from a licensed optometrist or licensed physician who has





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Optical Employment Mary Armstrong, ABOC

Expand your Optical Toolbox If the solar powered protestors are absorbing additional UV as they block spots on the sidewalks or public spaces in the financial district of your town, you have several new opportunities. You can view a global map on YouTube where “Occupy Wall Street” events have begun occurring since August. There are as many agendas as individuals, but not all these folks are out of work. Many come and go around their employment schedules.

IF YOU’RE AN ECP, you can suggest the need for additional sunwear protection. With plenty of time for discussions of a myriad of topics, it’s a quick glance between vision benefits coverage to jobs, before the weather changes, the temperature drops and the masses thin out to the persistent hardcore. It’s also a good time to update your resume, assess your marketability and reflect on your career options, expectations and possible changes driven by external economic forces or internal desires. In tandem with human resources’ challenges are the relentless developments in optically-related technologies, four of which will be spotlighted later on. When you were a little kid and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, I bet you didn’t answer “Optician.” There’s a little more response variety since parents have been participating in the “Take your Dad/Mom to School Day,” but the common answers were and usually still are Fireman, Policeman, Pilot, Teacher and Doctor. For the focus of this essay, I suggest that the degree and caliber of specialty expertise required in Ophthalmology and Optometry be acknowledged with respect and gratitude at this time. Then for the next few paragraphs I’d like to confine the focus to the “Third O”, Opticianry, which comes with a “Third Eye.” You have the power to raise the lid to reveal the Fields of Vision that are the components of the space before you. Think about how YOU got into the business of optics. I worked for a total of five years for a sole proprietor career optician who was a bombardier in WWII; if he could do the math to hit the target, he could calculate prescriptions and measurements. Another major retail chain optical manager painted prosthetic eyes; she used to make up little stories about what the recipient’s life might be like: “This guy stayed up a little too late last night.”

I went into a price house to buy some Barnes-Hind wetting solution for my hard contact lenses; one of the opticians said the other employee was leaving and invited me to apply. You have to use your own product to be successful. Consider discharged vets with their training in sighting & firing using rifle scopes, infrared goggles, satellite surveillance, computer operations. (See Iris/Retina Global Security Identification on the next page). It’s all about reinventing yourself with “Transferable Skills.” The depth, breadth and diversity of Opticianry rival the skills required to run any small business. If you’re feeling insecure about the possibility of being let go, which bulleted activities (on the following page) could you add to your arsenal to make you more valuable where you are or use to gain entry into another position with a change in primary duties? Which of the following is your current area of expertise, of newer interest to you, or would you prefer to stop doing altogether? If you’re the employer, which are most important for a position you’re attempting to fill? Continued on page 44




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• Reception • Accessories: cases, solutions, cleaners, neck chains • Appointment Setting • Sales • Marketing • Frame Styling • Consulting • Customer Service • Problem solving • Psychology • Lens surfacing • Eyewear fabrication • Dispensing, repairs and adjustments • Contact lens fitting • Quality Assurance • Quality Control • Lens verification/final inspections • Government guideline adherence • Inventory/supply chain management • Purchasing • Accounting • Computer data entry – patient records/job orders • Insurance claims processing • Correspondence/reports • Manufacturer’s Rep • Human Resources • Low vision aids – magnifiers • Website maintenance Secondarily: Knowledge about manufacture and use of cameras, binoculars, telescopes, microscopes all provide foundations of understanding to build on. More and more optical courses are being added to college curriculums; ABO Certification and obtaining your annual Continuing Education Credits is essential for a career in Opticianry, especially in those states requiring licensing. Formal Education and/or experience in any of the bulleted items above can qualify you for entry into optical and related businesses, as well. Your credentials increase your professional standing thereby increasing customer satisfaction. People are looking for quality and reassurance when purchasing healthcare services; more so, than with expenditures that do not directly affect their bodies proper. Then there are the new optically-spawned products developed by employees with some optically-overlapping skills. Dyslexie, a typeface to increase the accuracy of reading by those suffering from dyslexia was developed at the Netherlands’University of Twente and there’s a two-minute video included in this link:


Often a personal experience, a trauma or condition with a close friend or family member with a need is the motivation for choosing a profession for which a person feels an affinity, or maybe they use or need the service themselves. Understanding vision pathologies/tropias and possessing the communication skills to explain them to a patient/customer is essential to assisting them in making choices to restore them to their fullest possible vision potential, even if you don’t treat, perform surgeries or prescribe/ administer drugs. Cataract Lens Implants and Lasik Surgery questions are probably part of your everyday explanations. You also need to be knowledgeable about resources outside your practice to which you can refer them. Even a background in color, light theory and design is applicable to optics, such as explaining color dispersion in polycarbonate lenses or lens-edge thickness treatments. VisionSim is a mobile app education/forensic tool: Prosthetics started as an art form in 1952 for Robert Levy, OD: This practice recently became one of the first ocularists to fit a Magnetic Prosthesis. Iris/Retina Security Identification has been in use for several years and new applications are being activated as they are developed: biometrics-eye_scan Employers hire potential. Good employees are not hired; they are trained. No one’s irreplaceable, but if you’ve ever been the in-house “go to” guru, you know the great self-confidence bolster that gives. I recommend you become expert at one work aspect that really interests you. Let others be really good at the things they really like, especially if they hold no magic for you. My older daughter responded to my grandson’s inquiry about whether or not she did some particular task by saying, “I suck at that. I don’t do things I suck at.” You needn’t be a manager to access your resources, collaborate and delegate. It’s your responsibility to set the parameters of relationships that affect you. So if you’re asked to speak to the tenth bullet on your job description that you cannot perform as well as the other nine, your back is up against a wall and you’re at risk of being on the street, an effective extricator is: “I can’t know everything. When you know everything, get back to me.” It’s also up to you to exercise some situational judgment about whether to verbalize it or just think it for your own benefit. The hardest part is delivering that message with a smile and without a blink or a wink. ■



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Definitions Hydrophobic is water repellent coating. (Easy Clean) Oleophobic is oil repellent coating. (resists finger prints and smudges) Anti-Static is dust repellent – eliminates stat charges in the lens that attract dust. Reflex color is the residual reflective color of the coated lenses. All coated lenses reflect some color. Depending on how it was done, the residual color is controlled (usually in the green or blue wave length of light)

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9:42 AM

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Advertiser Index PAGE #


Balester Optical



CNS Frame Displays






FEA Industries

29, 45


Robertson Optical

Grimes Optical



Rudy Project USA

i-see optical







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My Vision Express



19, 43, 46




Jee Vice

National Lens Nellerk Contact Lens Cases





Norwood Vision Group






Optometry Giving Sight PPG Industries



Precision Optical Group



INSIDE BACK COVER 800-929-2765



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US Optical



Vision Systems




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X-Cel Optical







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America’s Leading Discount Lens Distributor

Phone: 1.866.923.5600 • Fax: 1.866.923.5601 •

Finished Ophthalmic Lenses LENS TYPE CR-39, 70 MM – 1.49 Uncoated Polycarbonate, 65/70MM – Tintable Polycarbonate, 65/70MM – AR Coated

PRICE PER PAIR $1.20 $3.20 $7.00

LENS TYPE PRICE PER PAIR Mid Index, 70/75 MM – 1.56 AR Coated $4.40 High Index, 70/75 MM – 1.61 AR Coated $7.00 Super Hi Index Aspheric, 70/75 MM – 1.67 AR Coated $18.00








Bausch & Lomb

1 to 5

6 to 10

11 & over


1 to 5

6 to 10

11 & over


25.95 13.95 9.25 28.95

25.75 12.95 8.95 28.75

23.95 10.95 8.75 27.95


18.95 24.50 16.15 16.15 21.95 14.95 37.95 22.95

17.95 22.50 13.95 13.95 20.95 12.95 37.50 21.00

15.45 20.50 11.75 11.75 19.95 12.25 36.50 19.25

Johnson & Johnson

1 to 5

6 to 10

11 & over


47.95 20.50 15.00 18.25 22.50

47.25 20.25 14.75 17.75 21.75

46.75 19.50 13.95 17.50 21.25



1 to 5

6 to 10

11 & over


26.74 41.25 38.95 CALL 38.90 14.75 33.40 16.25

24.74 39.95 37.95 CALL 37.90 12.95 32.95 15.95

23.74 38.75 35.95 CALL 36.95 10.95 29.95 15.50






We’ll meet or beat any competitors price on stock lenses.


Please call for a full product and price list.



11:12 AM

Page 47




NOW AVAILABLE: Shamir Digitals

OPTOGENICS is a Full Service Surfacing and Digital Lab

UPS Shipping Overnight Saturday Delivery = NO Extra Charge

Orders Received & Shipped Overnight VSP & VCP & VBA Approved

To advertise please call 800.914.4322, or visit 800.678.4225 • Fax: 800.343.3925




11:14 AM

Page 48




The Premier Laboratory for

To advertise please call 800.914.4322, or visit

In House Digital FreeForm Lenses

Asia Pacific Trading Co. Inc. Wholesale of Sunglasses & Optical Frames

SALES REPS WANTED Experienced, Independent sales reps, for a high fashion optical frames & sunglasses line • •

Good Commissions Many Territories Available

Please e-mail:

FOR SALE Optical Dynamics Q2100 lens caster system. . . . . $500000 Optical Dynamics lens casting monomer . . 50% .OFF . . . . . . $25485

WHEN SKILLED HANDS using state of the art technology come together the result is precision bench work. We pride ourselves in producing edge work that is light years ahead of our competition.

(800) 221-4170

Click, click, click,

Ultra Optic Mini II scratch coater . .excellent . . . . .condition . . . . . . $799500

your lens order is done.

Chemalux AR coater (model 150A) . . . . . . . . . . . $850000

Use one website to order all of your stock lenses electronically. With no usage or ordering fees!

Contact: Dr Malcolm Kelly Jr 49 South 2nd Street, Oxford, PA 19363 Ph: 610-932-9356 Email:

Green Bay, WI 54308 800-678-4266/Fax 920-965-3203




11:16 AM

Page 49




Soothe with Balester Optical is a full service independent family-owned wholesale optical laboratory. We maintain an in-house Digital Processing center and 3 anti-reflective coating systems.

WEBSITE • Videos

the bio-lens that brings WHDUVWRSDWLHQWV·H\HV

Balester Optical provides expert objective advice & consultation regarding the best lens for each Rx.

request info & sample promo code EFIA

We pride ourselves on using the most up-to-date technologies in the industry!

ECP Guarantee: sold through your office, NOT online.

Toll Free: 1-800-233-8373 Fax: 1-800-548-3487

• Invoice Lookup • On-line Ordering • Real time job tracking • Account Statements and balances • Technical & Processing Information And more....... Print too small?

We sell PALs.


Tel: 800-327-2002 Fax: 800-955-7770 is the leading provider of optical frame displays for ophthalmic dispensing professionals. Products include optical eyewear and sunglass displays in addition to lockable, rotating, standing, wall mount and slatwall frame displays. Call 877.274.9300 for info and catalog.

Edgers Briot Accura CX RC . . . . . . . $13,950 Essilor Gamma RC . . . . . . . $12,950 Essilor Kappa RC . . . . . . . . . $17,950 Safety bevels and Grooves!

Instruments Reichert Keratometer . . . . . . . . $595 Chart Projectors starting at . . . . . $395 Marco Radiuscope . . . . . . . . . . $695 Optical Finish Equipment and Supplies

Grimes Optical Equipment Co. 800-749-8427

Drivewear lenses uniquely combine two of the most advanced technologies found in the industry today: Transitions™ Photochromic Technology and NuPolar® polarization. Drivewear is the first polarized photochromic lens to darken behind the windshield of a car.

National Lens America’s Leading Discount Contact Lens Distributor Phone 1-866-923-5600 Fax 1-866-923-5601

HELP WANTED FRAME SALES Independent sales representatives needed for a High Fashion Italian Frame Line — TreviColiseum distributed by National Lens offers three distinct collections at moderate prices. If you’re highly motivated, experienced and have a following we would like to talk to you.

Rudy is Sport RX. Rudy Project is Italian for cutting edge technology and innovations in plano & RX eyewear/sunwear. Increase your sales to athletes!

Preview our Collections at

Contact us. or 888-860-7597

Please email your letter of interest to or Call 954.730.9244 x221

A case with a double lock & your name imprinted on it!



12¢ per unit Printed!


Fax: 607-748-2273

To advertise please call 800.914.4322, or visit




3:08 PM

Page 50

Last Look Jim Magay, RDO

MY FIRST APPLE COMPUTER WAS PURCHASED LONG BEFORE iPHONES AND iPADS BECAME POPULAR AND IT COMBINED THE NOVEL CAPABILITY OF DISPLAYING AND PRINTING IN COLOR. t was internet capable in a very slooow dial up sort of way. Apple called it an Apple IIGS and it was introduced in 1986 (while the original Mac was still a black and white machine), and my kids and I called it wonderful.


It was a forerunner of what we take for granted today. The sound chip meant that it was great for games and music while the color capability; well, we used Print Shop software and an Apple GraphicWriter III printer to turn out colorful birthday banners, graphical newsletters for my son’s crew team, letters to patients, etc, etc. Of course, with the shadow of the Mac behind it, the GS was left in the dust during the early 90’s in the Darwinian way of the computer world. Lets see, I’ve owned 10 or more Macs since then, ranging from the original Mac Plus, pizza box Centris’s, Mac Pro desktops (several) and iMacs in assorted colors; of course, today I dote on my sleek MacBook Pro and Optimeyes Software on an older iMac to run our store software – simple and effective, alas – no longer supported though (must look into MacPractice!). My friends and I were so thoroughly taken by the Apple experience, 4 or 5 of us used to take a day or two off to trek to Boston or Manhattan to attend MacWorld, the Vision Expo for all things Mac. In those days Steve Jobs would give the keynote just 50 | EYECAREPROFESSIONAL | NOVEMBER 2011

like in recent years, always attired in a black turtleneck and faded jeans (did he own a suit?) with longer hair of course. We looked at him with; not so much awe, as respect. His involvement in all details of Apple products have been well documented so I won’t rehash – except to say, whenever a new Apple product would come home (more frequently than Mrs. Magay would like), even the packaging was special – the boxes were very tough to throw out, they looked so good. The arguments about Mac vs. PC were in full throat and endless – in retrospect the discussions were a lot like schoolyard arguments about the Red Sox vs. the Yankees, or Ford being better than Chevrolet! My young pal Chris Tashjian and I still get into fun, but heated disputes, about the relative merits of Macs versus PCs. Seinfeld even got into the act with Jerry always having the latest Mac in his apartment (I particularly admired the 20th Anniversary Model in the 1997-98 season of the show) while poor hapless George always made do with a generic PC in the corner of his desk. So rest in peace Steve – your accomplishments and life were game changing and certainly you had a great influence on my life and work. ■



11:40 AM

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Keeping up with 5FDIOPMPHZ




Transitions is a registered trademark of Transitions Optical, Inc. Kodak and the Kodak trade dress are trademarks of Kodak, used under license by Signet Armorlite, Inc. ©2011 Signet Armorlite, Inc.

Viva International Group

Tel: 800-345-VIVA, Fax: 800-VIVA-FAX


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November 2011 Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine  

November 2011 Issue of EyeCare Professional Magazine. A Business to Business publication that is distributed to decision makers and particip...