A friend who is an experienced optician told me about an educational seminar he recently attended. It was one of those deals sponsored by a lens company where a sales consultant comes to a hotel meeting room and gives an hourlong talk about a new product, with drinks and dinner afterward.

In this case, the rep talked about a new, digitally designed and manufactured progressive lens. As expected, he dutifully ran down the key features and benefits of the lens. But instead of describing the product using the language of ophthalmic optics, he lapsed into “marketing-ese.” At the end of the evening, my friend asked the rep to explain some of the marketing terminology he had used, but the rep could offer no clearer explanation.

Now, marketing terms have their place, especially when used in advertising or promotional literature. When used judiciously, they can make an otherwise dull-sounding product come alive. And I respect optical marketing professionals whose job it is to explain complex, technical subjects to the rest of us. They are the vital link between the R&D people and the market.

As lens products become increasingly sophisticated, though, I’ve noticed that lens manufacturers are relying more on marketing-ese to describe their attributes to both eye care professionals and consumers. However, a seminar for eye care professionals requires a more academic approach, and educators should not shy away from using scientific or technical terms for fear of losing their audience. In other words, they don’t need to dumb down their message.

If eye care professionals are going to prescribe and dispense technically advanced products, they need more straight talk and less marketing-ese from lens manufacturers.

—Andrew Karp