By Rebecca Soto, ABOC/NCLEC
Anyone can sell frames and lenses and ship them to the patient. But what about dispensing glasses? These skills and service are what sets opticians apart. Dispensing and adjustments are skills that are developed over time and with lots of practice. For glasses to be comfortable and for the eyewear to be worn as intended, the optician must have the skills and knowledge in frame adjusting.
When dispensing eyewear it can be confusing whether a visual problem is due to an optical error, a fitting issue, or if a patient needs to see the doctor for a refraction re-check. In many cases, a simple adjustment technique will solve many optical complaints. As opticians, we must be able to effectively “diagnose” the cause of the problems and effectively and efficiently correct them. Patients have many options to purchase eyewear. We want patients to see, feel, and understand the difference in purchasing from an optician versus online.
The following steps are what we teach students to properly dispense eyewear.
The first steps:
- Familiarize yourself with what is being dispensed
- Greet the patient and offer them a seat
- Do a quick visual inspection of the frame and lenses (Make sure it is bench aligned, clean, no marks, defects, stress fractures)
- Present the eyewear to the patient commenting on features and benefits
- Comment on the appearance (give a compliment)
- If the lenses are progressive, ask the patent if they are a first-time wearer (you may need to give patient first-time wearer training)
- Place the eyewear on the patient and ask them to look straight at you (This is a very important step.You are the professional and need to be in control of all adjustments.)
- Evaluate the initial fit and make mental notes of the necessary adjustments
- Look at the front of the frame
- Check temple spread (Temples should touch just above the root of the ear - no pressure along the shaft should exist)
- Check Pantoscopic angle (between 4-18 degrees)
- Check that lens distance from each eye is equal (check by having the patient tilt their chin down, observe the frame front from above)
- Next, look at the bridge of the frame and check nose pads for needed adjustments
- Nose pads should rest halfway between the crest of the nose and inner circle of the eye
- Pads should be perpendicular to the floor
- The full surface of the pad should rest uniformly on the nose
- Then, have the patient look first to the right and check the temple length behind the left ear, and then have them look to the left to check the length behind the right ear (Make note of where the bend is sculpted for maximum comfort).
- Important: A textbook temple bend is a 45-degree angle, but every patient is different
- Proper bend is just slightly past the top of the ear
- Heat temple and create a downward bend that should be parallel to the back of the ear
- Temple tips should be positioned against the side of the head
After you have completed all your adjustments, have a general conversation with the patient. Talk about the fit and the vision. Make sure to give first-time progressive wearers training on how to use the lenses. This is a great time to discuss what was purchased and the features and benefits of the products. Discuss any warranty the patient may have and offer your services for adjustment and cleaning in the future. This is a great time to remind patients to come in for a “tune-up” every once in a while. “Tune-up” can allow you to tighten any loose screws, make any necessary adjustments, and replace nose pads.
These services set dispensing opticians apart and are what you cannot get from ordering online. Customer service and patient care like this will bring patients back year after year.