The patient came in frowning. She was returning her glasses because the photochromic lenses didn’t darken. After stepping outside, I handed back the glasses with darkened lenses. I suggested that because the lenses take a few seconds to darken, and the rate of change was so subtle, she didn’t notice it. I expected a smile, but still frowning, she shook her head and told me she couldn’t see well with them. I asked her to describe the problem. “It just doesn’t feel right,” she answered. After verification and some adjustments and more questions, she finally said she didn’t like the frame.

Glasses are the most noticeable feature on a person’s face, making frame selection a very personal process. Combine that with hazy vision through dilated pupils, and we’re at risk for buyer’s remorse. Once the glasses are made, we’re in a predicament. We want a happy, satisfied patient, but not the expense of remaking glasses. A couple of things work occasionally in these situations. When the patient insists that we “gave her the wrong frame,” remind her of the value of the frame and why she liked it—color, shape, lightweight, etc. Or show her other frames she considered and ask which frame she remembers selecting. Sometimes after reviewing other options, the patient realizes that the glasses she has actually are the best choice and feels she is the one who made the decision. Validate that by reaffirming the frame’s features and benefits.

Prevention is the best solution. The longer the patient takes selecting a frame, the more likely they won’t like it later, leading to buyer’s remorse. Confusion results as the patient tries on many frames and may not remember their final choice. When the patient finds a frame they like, compare other choices to that one. Like the exam room mantra, “Which is better, one or two,” if a new favorite is chosen, compare others to that one. In doing so, the patient repeatedly tries on the favorite frame, making it more memorable.

Even better are apps like the ABS Smart Mirror for tablets. With this app, you can take pictures of the patient in different frames. The patient sees him or herself clearly and compares the pictures. E-mail the pictures to the patient confirming the choice and to share with family and friends. This adds fun to the process and can also take digital measurements. For more frame selection tips and information about the app, check out the CE “5 Reasons to Add a Smart Mirror App to Enhance the Eyewear Selling Process” at

Linda Conlin