By Linda Conlin, ABOC/NCLEC

The Thanksgiving leftovers are gone, and now our attention is almost completely on holiday shopping. But before looking forward to getting the best parking space in the mall or free shipping, think back to your Thanksgiving table. When you looked around at family and friends, how many were wearing out of date eyewear? You’ve known them for years. You can make a good guess.

One person at my family’s table said to me, “You’re in the business. How come I can see better without my glasses? Something must be wrong with them.” When I asked when he had his last eye exam and glasses, he said it was about five years ago. Rather than neglect my overladen dinner plate, I explained briefly that sometimes vision gets better with age, and that he really should have an eye exam. “Gee, I hate to spend the money,” he said. “Please pass the Brussels sprouts.”

As you make your holiday shopping lists, consider how unique and useful the gift of eyewear is. Many practices offer gift certificates in almost any denomination. If your practice doesn’t, you really should. It requires a little extra bookkeeping, but it’s a boost for your cash flow. You can design your own inexpensively with free online templates or on sites like Vistaprint® and Staples®. Be sure to have clear policies on gift certificate returns, and that the purchaser and recipient are aware of them. Let your patients know you offer gift certificates through social media, in office signage and mentioning it to patients coming into the office. What’s more, Essilor and Transitions® have partnered with participating offices for a BOGO and rebate, so gift givers can get an even bigger bang for the buck.

Groupon is another way to encourage eyewear gift giving, and it’s economical for the giver. A quick site search for “eye exam and glasses” in my area yielded six results. As with gift certificates, you have to let people know it’s available. An email blast, newsletter, and your web page can help get the word out. Don’t be surprised to hear, “What a great idea!” from your patients who didn’t want to get grandpa another sweater.

While you’re at it, give yourself the gift of education. Pro to Pro is offering a year end CE sale. You can take three CE courses for only $25! Go to Select from ABO and NCLE accredited courses on contact lenses, lens material and design, dispensing skills and more. Then enter the code CEHOLIDAYSALE at checkout. Make sure it’s on your holiday to-do list and check it twice. It’s our holiday gift to you. Happy learning!