As readers of L&T know, there’s no shortage of innovation in the spectacle lens field. Enterprising lens manufacturers continue to develop new designs, materials and treatments that enhance patients’ vision, comfort and style while generating healthy revenues for eyecare practices. I’d go so far as to say we’re living in the Golden Age of Lenses.

Unfortunately, some eyecare professionals treat spectacle lenses as commodities, to the detriment of their patients as well as themselves. Dr. Mike Cohen addresses this issue in a recent edition of his e-mail newsletter, “OD2OD.” As Dr. Cohen points out, “A recent survey showed that consumers of eyewear believe that spectacles are medical devices. It is us—we ECPs, who have pushed these medical devices in the direction of commoditization. That’s right, it’s not the consumer—it is us, and we do it every time we fail to treat an ophthalmic lens with the same sense of importance that we give to medications and contact lenses. We do it every time we write a basic numerical Rx without recommending the best lens product, lens treatments and lens material for that patient.

“Do eyeglass frames take precedence over lenses?” asks Dr. Cohen. “Not in medical importance, not in patient retention and not in providing professional guidance. You sell frames, you prescribe lenses.”

Well put, Dr. Cohen. Prescribing is the key word when it comes to lenses. If a practitioner would prefer not to prescribe a specific brand, then they should at least specify the type of lens design, material and treatment the patient needs. It is consistent with employing a “best practice” approach to patient care.

—Andrew Karp