In 2004, I wrote about dispensing progressives to the new, active progressive lens wearer. Over the last three years, new progressive wearers became
re-purchasers, adds increased and their needs and wants changed. It does-n't change the fact that there are still many new opportunities. The presbyopic market is booming with optical opportunities for growth all around
you. In fact, presbyopes defy every past stereotype that’s been printed.
Today’s presbyopes are hip to fashion and function and get the concept that “just one pair won’t work.” At the same time, new technology in lens designs and coatings have evolved to offer optical solutions
to visual/task-oriented problems for the active progressive wearer.
ADDRESSING THE MARKET—
WHO IS THIS “ACTIVE” PRESBYOPE?
Not the usually described over 45 year old dealing with presbyopia. The
active presbyope can be in their 40s, 50s, 60s or older and expects more
from their glasses than before. They are more active and are better informed
about eyewear options. They are interested in the new technologies that
have made improvements to lenses and frames and therefore expect more
from opticians and the dispensary.
Moreover, they are a major portion
of the market today and have very
First, discovering this presbyopes
needs is easier than one thinks. Create a mental script to ask the right
questions. In this way, each pair of
eyewear will meet a real need. To
understand the need, know the following about each patient.
- Today’s presbyope doesn’t fit a
mold—they are as varied as there
are patients in a practice.
- Be open to learn about work
and recreation or special activities.
- As in any other professional or
retail situation, patients crave personal attention.
- Make the time to answer all their questions.
- Every eyeglass wearer wants to look good.
- Know their eyewear needs to meet the way patients combine lifestyles,
i.e., academic, active, extreme sports, etc.
- Educate them about lens thinness, lightness, clarity and/or protection;
they will request eyewear with these benefits.
- Don’t assume that the eyewear purchased for everyday use will be
good enough for other tasks like night driving, recreation or “just” surfing the web.
As a result, it is critical that enough time is given to discuss the options
available and have crisp and clear descriptions ready.
PRESBYOPES HAVE CHANGED, CHANGE THE WAY YOU
SELL TO THEM
Throwaway The Mold
We live in an information explosion supplied by the media, the web and
a mobile population. As a result, older patients may be even more interested in new technology than younger patients. Since eyewear is transformed continually by the new introductions and technologies in frames
and lenses, understand each new product category and find the way to
make it part of the every patient’s options.
For example, polarized progressives are available in a number of colors.
Describe the color’s performance characteristics; brown vs. melanin vs. gray
vs. green, and the way each color affects vision and daily activities. Brown
alters color to warmer tones; melanin absorbs high-energy visible blue light,
gray lenses keep the colors patients see the same and green brightens and
enhance contrast. Brown enhances contrast and depth perception and provides better daytime acuity, for golf, especially in the older eye.
Speak To Them Personally
Aging changes eye sight. It creates new needs. Presbyopia, while part of
the normal aging process creates a variety of real problems for patients.
Those problems are specific to each individual. Patients will have a multitude of profiles that needs have to meet. These needs are work, task,
sports, recreation or lifestyle related; develop a “speak to me personally”
attitude so each patient has their real needs addressed.
Make Them Look Great
While meeting each patient’s personal vision, one must also meet his or
her fashion needs. In fact, fashion may drive the sale but the lens characteristics contribute greater to successful eyewear for presbyopes. For
example, if drilled rimless is the primary sale, this will require materials
such as polycarbonate to make the job successful. Look for progressives
with availability in a variety of materials so it is easy to offer the same
polycarbonate design in clear, photochromic and polarized. In this way,
fashion meets function and eyewear looks and performs great.
Offer Them The Best
Always offer the best first so each patient knows the opportunities. It’s then
easier for the patient to decide which option they’d prefer based on benefits
and budget. Don’t assume what a patient wants, always provide them with
choices, they will decide what appeals most and meets their value perspective.
DISCOVERING THE DISPENSING OPPORTUNITY
Separate the benefit categories for discussion with patients so decisions
can be made. They are:
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROGRESSIVE
Older progressives have evolved; use new designs since they provide better vision benefits to wearers. When patients switch from an older design
to a newer progressive, they typically experience noticeable improvement
in comfort. They benefit from increased reading area, variable inset and
corridor length as well as reductions in overall astigmatism and blur. All
in a lens that can be tuned for smaller fashion frames. In addition, the
range of new materials and treatments provide a variety of solutions that
makes it easy to dispense a second pair. As a result, everyone benefits,
the dispenser and especially the patient.
New designs reduce overall astigmatism and typically feature shorter
corridors. Earlier lens designs had lengthened corridors to reduce
peripheral blur. New computing power and techniques have created
designs that are softer overall and therefore reduce peripheral blur while
featuring shorter corridors. The results are clearer fields of peripheral
view. Newer designs have made reading easier, reduced the rotation
required by the eye for comfortable reading and improved overall patient satisfaction. Patients will only look as far down the corridor to read. This
means that younger presbyopes, those with a reserve of accommodation,
may read in the corridor. Therefore, reducing corridor length makes
these presbyopes more comfortable and does not sacrifice intermediate.
|Specific use or
- Do you wear your glasses all the
- Please describe where you will use
your progressives most?
- How much time do you spend reading
versus seeing far away?
- How much will you use these lenses at
work and at the computer?
- Will you wear these lenses while driving?
- Do you have a pair of prescription
- What activities do you do outdoors?
- Wow, do you really jump out of planes?
- Describe PALs that are good for general purpose (Comfort, Outlook, SOLAOne, Panamic) as
well as instances where they will seem inadequate. Other lenses are available and have
been designed specifically for computer use, for example…
- If these PALs are for only reading, consider large near lenses (Illumina, SOLAMax, Comfort,
GP Wide, Zeiss Top) as well as fitting higher than pupil center.
- Daytime driving really requires sunglasses. For best vision and protection, recommend polarized lenses. Demonstrate how polarized lenses work. (Vision-Ease SunRx, Younger NuPolar)
- Night time driving requires the clearest lenses possible—especially for our senior
patients. They really appreciate AR lenses. Look to the newest improvements in AR.
Essilor Crizal Alize, SOLA Teflon, HOYA Super HiVision, Zeiss Carat Advantage)
- Gray sunlenses reduce the brightness outdoors and colors don’t change as you look
through the lenses but in this case I recommend a brown polarized lens for golf
since it will make the greens brighter, enhance contrast and depth perception especially towards the end of the day (Brown C lenses or Melanin)
- I’m sure that you’ve noticed the
thickness of your lenses and/or the
weight of your glasses, let me
escribe thinner and lighter eyewear.
- Want a smaller frame like you’ve seen
on so many of your friends…?
- Would you also like to consider wrap
sunglasses in prescription, they really
work best for bicycle riding. They’re
edgy, look hip and offer the best
protection for your eyes.
- What activities do you do outdoors?
- Wow, do you really jump out of planes?
- We use polycarbonate lens materials since they provide a number of wearer
benefits. They’ll make your lenses about 25 percent thinner and lighter. Also, all
the coatings that make lenses more scratch resistant and clearer can be made
part of the lenses…and they provide 100 percent UV protection.
- I love that small frame on you; it’s edgy and quite provocative. We’ll order a progressive whose design provides reading higher up in small frames so you look
good and see well. (Varilux Ellipse, HOYA Summit cd, Vision-Ease Outlook,
SOLAMax, AO Compact, etc.)
- Order an 8 base lens and include prism for the frame’s tilt around the vertical
- 0.25▲ Base In for powers (horizontally) under ±2.50D
- 0.50▲ Base In for powers ±2.50D and above
Don’t be concerned using the minimum fitting heights recommended by
the manufacturers. However, consider the following: Low-add patients,
plus and minus Rx’s, usually have easier times with short corridor progressives and smaller frames. These patients still have some reserve of
accommodation so they rarely have problems reading. High-add wearers, for whom there is no accommodation, and especially hyperopes,
benefit from all the height available so if the frame is “just okay” in size,
consider a larger frame.
Is Wide Always Required?
Typically, wide near zones create a greater gradient of blur surrounding
the near. Some patients prefer softer designs with less peripheral blur and
a slower gradient of astigmatism. These lenses have a slightly narrower
field of distinct vision. Therefore, understand the preferences of patients
and provide the appropriate lens accordingly.
Wonder whether a sensitive patient will adapt? Patients that tell you
they cannot read a book or newspaper while riding as a passenger in a
car because they get nauseous are disturbed by the magnification
changes seen in the lens periphery. Rather than not try progressives use a
softer design lens that allows them reduced blur and an easier adaptation (Vision-Ease Outlook, Varilux Physio, SOLAOne, Zeiss GT2, etc).
Wider reading area designs have increased peripheral blur as tradeoffs.
Use Progressives Available in Multiple Materials
The choice of the right progressive design requires an understanding of
the patient’s visual preferences and habits. The frame also determines the
lens design choice. Making that choice takes time. Consider the availability of that design in the variety of lens materials and treatments (such
as polycarbonate polarized and photochromic) so patients wearing second pairs can enjoy the advantages of that same design in all the eyewear
they purchase and won’t have to adapt to a new design.
Materials, design and treatments determine overall lens thinness, lightness and special performance. Consider each of the following when
matching a patient’s lifestyle needs to available materials. Review and use
the descriptions of the following materials and treatments.
- The standard from which all other materials are generally compared
- Excellent overall characteristics of lightness, clarity (abbe), impact and versatility
(can be tinted, hard and/or AR coated)
- Absorbs ~90 percent UV but can be dip
dyed for 100 percent UV attenuation
- Up to 25 percent thinner and lighter than
hard resin so better looking and more comfortable to wear
- Virtually unbreakable, so perfect for eye-wear that will be used for recreation, sports
or on the job where eyewear needs to provide extra protection. A separate pair of
safety glasses may also be required.
- Perfect for rimless eyewear
- Absorbs all UV
- Up to 25 percent thinner and lighter than
hard resin so better looking and more
comfortable to wear
- Provides a clear peripheral field of view
due to the higher abbe value when
patients are sensitive or the Rx is high
- Absorbs all UV
|Ultra High Index
- Up to 40 percent thinner and lighter than
standard hard resin lenses so looks
exceptional in frames
- Available with all the premium treatments like photochromics and anti-reflective coatings
- Absorbs all UV
- Eliminates distracting glare from the lens
- Improves vision especially at night by
- Patients eyes are seen more clearly because
there is no reflection on the lenses
- Changes density indoors and out
- Extremely comfortable to wear as it changes
density based on available light
- Protects from discomforting and disabling
• Absorbs all UV
- Available in gray and brown sunlens densities,
other colors for cosmetics
- Absorbs all blinding glare so reflections off flat
surfaces are eliminated
- Safersunlens because it allows to see through
blinding glare in situations where good vision
- Absorbs all UV
- Specialty performance brown color
- Enhances contrast, reds and greens and adds
vibrancy to objects viewed
- Absorbs high-energy visible wavelengths, i.e., 380
to 500nm, which has been implicated in the
appearance of sun induced cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
- This synthetic melanin is added to lenses to
mimic melanin in the skin that absorbs UV and
the high-energy visible light
- A melanin lens is meant to absorb these wavelengths protecting the cornea, lens and retina
from the damaging effects of sunlight that are
- Synthetic melanin in lenses replaces the normally depleted melanin in the body that occurs
with aging and protects the eye
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD…
…DISPENSING TIPS FOR THE ACTIVE PRESBYOPE:
So… Sell by lifestyle
Since patients have such a variety of activities and hobbies. It is not
unusual for presbyopes to invest thousands of dollars on a hobby. A tri-athlete, for example, will spend up to $500 on custom breakaway shoes
and $4,000 on a custom bike. The same is true for eyewear. High-performance eyewear is also a key to best performance, yet this pair of high-performance eyewear will not be the only pair of glasses or sunglasses the
athlete owns. An athlete understands the advantages of the right equipment.
Each patient deserves the highest performing pair of glasses for every
activity whether it’s for TV, the office, yard work or an afternoon fishing,
so take the time to understand a patient’s passions and meet that need
All patients should have at least two pair of glasses. In this way, each
task during the day will probably be performed using a pair of glasses
best suited to the task.
Two Pair Benefits the Patient, You and the Business
For example, a pair of photochromic progressives, as everyday general-purpose lenses, provides daily comfort indoors and out. Combine this
with a pair of polarized progressives as sunglasses and driving lenses and
the patient will have the best eyewear for outdoors and driving.
When patients experience the benefits of prescription sunwear, they
begin to understand the importance and opportunity of eyewear tuned
to a particular need. It’s then easier to describe and suggest glasses for use
at the computer or in the office. A pair of Rx swim goggles becomes a
possibility and lastly, the dispenser becomes a more credible professional
in the eyes of the consumer.
With the average eyeglass wearer in the US owning only about 1 pair of
glasses and the repurchase cycle at just about two years, it is important to
have patients understand the opportunity the right eyewear provides.
Increased sales also benefit the business but it is more important than just
increased revenue. Most presbyopic patients really do need at least two
pair of glasses and rarely regret their purchase. In fact,
your patients will be generally grateful for the advice and suggestions
regarding extra eyewear. As a result, patients are happier and this creates
loyalty as well as customers that recommend your office to others.
Make It Part of the Process
If a dispenser makes it standard practice to discuss the advantages of two
pairs of progressives, then two-pair sales become the rule rather than the
exception. Create a script that describes the importance of indoor and
outdoor lenses and how a one pair attempt is a compromise. Once
patients understand the opportunities and the benefits, they’ll be able to
make their own educated decision. Try it for a month and measure the
Know Your Patients
Spend time with each patient to best understand their needs and describe
the progressive, its material choices and treatments that make the lens a
customized and essential product for them.
Embarrassed about the Cost?
It’s easy to be embarrassed when suggesting a patient spends $500,
$1,000, $1,500 on eyewear since it may not be personally affordable.
However, the DVD or digital camera salesperson never thinks whether
the customer can afford the product—it’s for the customer to decide.
Think benefits, performance and the convenience that eyewear provides a
wearer everyday. It’s a small cost when one considers that pair of glasses
will be worn for almost two to three years continuously.
Catering to active progressive lens wearers can be a rewarding and successful venture. Armed with a genuine commitment to helping people see
well, along with knowledge of new advances in lenses and coating technologies, we can’t go wrong. Let’s keep presbyopia within arms reach.