By Mark Mattison-Shupnick, ABOM
It’s Vision Expo month. What can you expect? For eyewear, that means new frame styles, material combinations and the artistry that helps create new trends, or better meet the trends already here. But it’s the lenses that I personally seek out to better understand their new technologies. Why? Frame change is more visible; lens change requires the customer and their experience with the lens. So that means you must understand the technology to more easily translate the benefits to patients.
Progressive lens technology improvements have also driven the creation of better single vision so let’s concentrate first on progressives. My suggestion, don’t be intimidated by technology. If you are the patients’ trusted advisor, then you’re the one (doctor or optician) who should be the first to recommend what’s new to your patients. Patients when selecting glasses are customers so provide well-explained options, not what you think they can afford. Please don’t live in your patient’s pocket. Also, and I know that it is hard, don’t assume your own feelings about what is affordable. What if a salesperson told you that they didn’t think an item was for you because you probably couldn’t afford it? Wouldn’t you feel angry and incensed?
When prescribing or recommending the best of options, no one is ever insulted. But they will be offended if you don’t. Your patients depend on you to fit them with lenses that will provide the best visual experience based on their lifestyle. When your patient has vision insurance coverage that should support your recommendation of the best, not guide your recommendation. In fact, vision insurance can cover all the basics and help a patient get exactly what is best for them; without it they couldn’t.
No change to the prescription or they loved last year’s technology—that means they’re ready for what’s new. Don’t base your recommendation on what you’ve dispensed to them last year—technology has changed and so have their preferences. No new prescription, their glasses are about 2.5 years old—new ones are in order. What would your reaction be to the salesperson who suggested an outdated smartphone? Provide patients with the best care and practices thrive; but who really benefits? The patient does. And that translates to increased trust, higher patient retention and more referrals. Make care always personalized; it increases trust, and that is the true strength of a practice.