By Preston Fassel
The old saying may go that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but these days, they’re a lot more than that. When it comes to interacting with one another, they’re the window to everything. In a world in which over half the human face has become obscured by necessary PPE, we’re even more reliant than ever on eyes as a source of social cues. Sure, we always used to look one another in the eye as a means of polite conversation, but we also paid attention to mouths, to cheeks, to subtle social cues that came from the whole face. Now, our only means of gauging another person comes exclusively from focusing on their eyes. “I’ve learned to smile with my eyes more,” said a popular tweet this summer, enumerating the number of changes people have had to make in a post-COVID, post-mask-mandatory world. What does that mean for us? That—for those who wear them—glasses are now more important than they’ve ever been as a means of personal expression and conveying certain aspects about the wearer. If your eyes are all you have to individuate and express yourself, then the frames around them don’t just need to be good—they need to be perfect.
This is the time to begin accentuating glasses as an expression of the wearer’s individuality, and maybe get a new or additional pair that really drives that home. Have some of your patients been on the fence about particularly bold or daring frames in the past? Now’s the time to sell them on it. What better way to stand out in the crowd when everyone is wearing the same generic black face coverings or hospital masks? Keep in mind, though, that we’re also living in a time of great economic uncertainty— “bold” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “expensive.” While more daring frame styles may be one of the defining features of many luxury lines, many manufacturers offer unique, colorful, and original frame designs to let wearers feel cool and stand out from the crowd while sticking to a budget. At the same time, some of your patients who already have “fun” fames may find themselves in need of something a bit more practical. I myself know many essential workers whose jobs went from “stressful” to “extremely stressful” as a result of COVID. Many of my old patients in the medical field, for example, would choose “fun and funky” frames to lighten their interactions with their patients. With many medical settings having turned into life-and-death situations now, many of those same people are turning to simple, practical, and durable frames that are lightweight and comfortable for prolonged rotations (on that note, perhaps consider discounts, sales, and promotions aimed at the medical field, and stock up on some titanium and memory metal frames to offer them).
This is also the time when those few stragglers who haven’t yet adopted AR need to be (re?)educated on its purpose and benefits. If people needed to see one another’s eyes before, they need to see one another’s eyes now. Again, price appropriately. If patients are able and willing to pay for higher-end AR treatments, by all means encourage them, but also have budget options available for those patients whose financial futures are up in the air due to COVID. If your practice doesn’t already actively promote anti-fog treatments, this may be a time to consider making them a standard part of your team’s sales pitch. So, too, should lens cleaners and cloths--- anything in the name of keeping the patient’s eyes clear and unobstructed from view to others.
Our industry was already in an uncertain time before COVID, and world events have only made our situation more dire. Like countries that have begun the process of recovery, we can not only adapt but survive, thrive, and return.
Become better at communicating the advantages and benefits of each kind of frame to customers with our CE, Why You Should Know How Frames Are Made, at 2020mag.com/ce.