By Maryann Santos, ABOM/NCLEC

Let’s face it, the optical industry is competitive. We all compete for patients’ time and attention. What you carry in your dispensary will draw patients in and keep them coming back. There is more to this process than displaying the latest and greatest ophthalmic frames. There’s work to be done to set yourself apart from others vying to fill the patient’s Rx! Begin by evaluating your mission. The mission of your practice’s optical dispensary must be more than selling eyewear. Your mission is to provide patients with eyewear that is comfortable, fits well and provides the best possible vision. This is achievable with the best products to meet the needs of your unique patient base.

View your optical dispensary from the patient’s vantage point. Enter through the front door to your office, and look around as if you were a patient. It can be a difficult project for some. You must completely remove bias and set down any defenses. If you cannot do this, ask a trusted colleague or friend to be a mystery shopper for you. Begin by exploring your frame boards, and don’t forget to see if there are dust, smudges and things out of place. Ask yourself the following:

  • I have a balanced inventory? Am I heavy in plastic frames and light on metals?
  • Do I need to rearrange the frame boards?
  • I s the office cluttered?
  • Am I showcasing certain collections?
  • Are your collections sectioned by brand, material, frame style or is there some disorder?
  • Do I need to introduce ophthalmic frame materials that would benefit my patient base?

There are many ways for patients to order eyeglasses. They can order their eyewear at the office where they were examined, take their prescription and go elsewhere, or take a chance and order them online. If offices carry the right mix of ophthalmic frames and pair that with opticians who know the materials and how to fit them, we have a better chance of keeping our patients. Additionally, successful opticians need to differentiate through dispensary expertise, strong communication skills (both in-person and online) and a robust inventory that meets the needs of your patient base. Let’s take one of the bullet points above and explore how to create a dispensary that not only attracts patients but keeps them loyal.

Look at your frame boards. Do the boards represent a good balance of materials? Well-balanced frame boards include sunglasses and ophthalmics, plastics, full metals, semi-rimless, full-rimless, unique materials and titanium. Moreover, all of these categories need to be in a variety of shapes, styles and colors.

A well-balanced frame inventory must have a collection of titanium frames. Patients always look for lightweight and comfortable frames. Titanium is unique because it is corrosion-resistant, durable and highly flexible. Titanium eyewear is known for its robustness, lightness and elasticity. Charmant Eyewear has an extensive collection of ophthalmic frames made of Japanese titanium. Charmant has a deep passion for titanium eyewear as they pioneered with their Charmant Titanium Perfection, upholding and continually improving upon this very popular line. Line Art titanium frames by Charmant are extremely lightweight, dainty and incredibly flexible and strong. These rimless frames are inspired and designed with music in mind. Lines called Dolce, Duo and Quintet remind us of their musical inspiration. The designs represent delicate strands that can be seen as a musical staff. Subtle, delicate, graceful. These frames are incredibly light, yet strong.

Charmant Eyewear can provide your practice with a titanium collection that spans generations, genders and tastes. Not only do they have a product that stands the test of time, but they also employ frame representatives who know their product and their customer (you) inside and out!

Many of us neglect to review a vendor’s website. Frame buyers can be missing out on pearls of information that can be brought back into our office in the form of descriptors we can share with our patients. Examine the website before you meet with your frame representative. It helps the frame buying process to explore the website and become familiar with the frame lines, digging deeper into their brands and collections. When your Charmant frame representative steps into your office with the titanium collection, you have the opportunity to handle and try on these beautiful, lightweight frames. Remarkably, your frame boards will have spaces ready and waiting to be filled with the latest titanium collection!

Learn more about the unique titanium alloys developed and produced by Charmant, their features and benefits, complexities associated with the manufacturing of titanium frames, and more with our CE, “The Many Material Benefits of Titanium Frames” at