That’s right, you read that right, “Your Patient Needs to See Your Brain.” Today’s consumer is more concerned with ease of purchase and low price than ever before. What can we all do in order to give our patients a fair picture of their purchasing options? Show the patient your brain! Show them that you are well trained and ready to help offer solutions to their visual needs; show them your expertise in frame styling and in product selection based on the patient’s individual needs; and last and certainly not least, show them that you are there for them after the purchase to provide service for when real life happens.

I believe opticians have never been people to shout from the rooftops about our value. We don’t talk about “who” we are and what we do (which is why when we say “optician” people think we deliver babies).

Start upping your game. Take continuing education classes on subjects you aren’t 100 percent comfortable with so you can discuss complex optical situations with your patient with ease. Remember, in this field we are teachers as much as we are optical professionals. We’ve got to educate our patients about their options which means we must know the differences in products and why one product might work better for your particular patient’s needs than another. And don’t forget about educating your patient on why working with a professional is in their best interest.

Call your lab; ask about the products and find out the differences in each. Try the different lenses yourself to see what you personally think of them. Turn to the many social media optical forums to ask other optical professionals what their experience has been with these specific products. But have solutions ready and don’t be afraid to research something for your patient; again, this is something other offices in your area may not do, and the Internet can’t and won’t do.

The patient should understand that you know what their struggles are and are interested in providing them solutions personally tailored to their needs, you’re not just taking a measurement and sending them on their way. Which also means that we should be directing frame selection, review prescription, ask them about lifestyle factors, needs, wants, comfort cues, fit cues, allergies or sensitivities to materials and throw all that information into the hopper of our big old brains and select frames for them based on those parameters. Don’t wait to start demonstrating your value to your patients. Start right now.

–Johnna Dukes, ABOC