OCT 2016

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Your monthly guide to staff training outside the box

Eyes / Lenses / Fitting Lenses / Free-Form / Frames / Sunwear / Patient Solutions/ In-office / Standards

SUNWEAR Winter’s Coming

It’s October—winter’s coming and that means seasons change, great colors and the gray of winter. No worries, your patients have that vacation planned—what should they know about winter sunwear? How can you help them make a variety of the best choices for everyone in their family?

—Mark Mattison-Shupnick


Want to feel calm and focused? Sunlight stimulates the brain to produce serotonin. Like melatonin, serotonin is the other chemical produced by long wavelength blue light (460 to 500 nm). Serotonin is a hormone that helps synchronize cells throughout the body working as a neurotransmitter, assisting the neural pathways to move messaging. It is also mood boosting, i.e., it helps a person feel calm and focused. It’s popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. Now doesn’t that sound like a vacation?.
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According to the Outdoor Foundation Participation Report for 2015, 48.4 percent of the U.S. population over age 6 participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2014, and the average number of outdoor excursions was 83.4. Personal health and fitness are more than a rage; they are a lifestyle choice and driving force in many peoples’ lives. Your customers have gone to great expense to have all the right equipment, but their everyday glasses don’t provide the optics, protection or comfort necessary for a spectacular game. Consumers are spending a good amount of money on peripheral gear for their sports.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the average outdoor enthusiast spends $465 annually on products related to their primary sport. They are ready to spend their money on accessories that will help them perform at a higher level. As an eyecare professional, you have an opportunity to improve their game, protect their eyes and take the enjoyment of their sports to the next level. At the same time, you will experience more professional satisfaction and grow a new niche for your business.

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What are the reasons that patients wear photochromic lenses? In a Hoya commissioned study completed by Millard Brown, a company who works with 90 percent of the world’s leading brands to help define brand purpose and engage consumers, they found these answers to the question, “Why do you wear photochromics?”

Half of the respondents cited sunlight sensitivity, glare reduction and UV protection while in one pair of glasses. This shows that protection from the sun and convenience drives a purchase. Did you know that our sensitivity to glare almost doubles every decade of life? This doesn’t mean that a pair of quality polarized sunglasses isn’t needed, it suggests that this meets the patient’s needs when only one pair of glasses may be possible. They might prefer two pairs. It also suggests that this is the perfect solution for clear eyewear since they meet so many more of the ways that patients wear their glasses.

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Whether you are an athlete or just a casual sunglass wearer, high wrap frames are in demand. Big sunglasses with a steep curve that hug the lenses close to the face are the sunglasses of choice for many outdoor enthusiasts, including cycling, volleyball, shooting, running, hiking, sailing, fishing and boating. Even casual sunglass wearers benefit from a large fitting frame including lots of eye and face coverage.

Curve is the word: The base curve of the lens is the biggest issue with high wrap frames. High wrap frames often require an 8-base lens. The combination of steep curves quickly results in thick lenses from even minor corrections, especially because high-wrap frames typically have large lenses.

Seeing the solution: With the advent of digital free-form lens technology, the ability to compensate base curve and periphery prescription lenses in high wrap frames that they may not have been able to get before. Lenses are available in a variety of materials and colors for any occasion or sport and offer a broad range of prescriptions (typically in the range of -6.00 to +4.00 and cyl up to 3.00 diopters; talk to your lab).

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Sunglass styles are as varied as the places for a vacation so stock your dispensary accordingly.

Aviator frames: One of the most iconic styles and perhaps the first modern sunglass frame. The aviator frame is a large, semi-teardrop or semi-squared frame supported by a brow bar that runs across the top of the lenses. The frame has some soft curvature to the edges, providing some wrap without completely curving around the sides of the patient’s face.

Wraps: Perhaps the most efficient style, wraps curve completely around the sides of the patient’s face, completely blocking off their eyes from the sun. A good fitting pair of wraps make excellent sport glasses in addition to general-purpose sunglasses.

Wayfarers and browlines: Two of the iconic American sunglass styles. They veer toward the dressier end of the spectrum. Because of its bulk and general durability, the Wayfarer-inspired shape is considered a slightly more casual frame, while the browlines’ nosepads and origins as an ophthalmic put it on the more formal side of the spectrum.

P3s: Something that’s been coming back into fashion of late, as the softer edges provide a more feminine alternative to the sharp angles that have been popular in frames over the past few years.

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A helpful chart might be the Solar Protection Index (SPI) for sunglasses that really handle the vacation environment. The Index categorizes the darkness of the lenses and recommends use based on environmental conditions. As you can see, the protection index has five categories in which light absorption increases as the category numbers increase. It starts at Category 0, when there is very little light absorption and is used for safety lenses and for cosmetic or fashion purposes. Category 1, which allows from 80 percent to 63 percent transmission, is for indoor and cloudy days. Category 2 reduces light transmission from 63 to 18 percent and is for standard illumination. When it gets very sunny, as is the case at seaside or the mountains, suggest Category 3, which lets only 18 to 8 percent of light through. Last is Category 4, which allows from 8 percent to 3 percent of light and is used when there is intense illumination (i.e., high altitude trekking). Category 4 is not suitable at all for driving.

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that there are 100,000 eye injuries due to sports each year. Roughly 40 to 45 percent will go to the emergency room; that’s one person every 13 minutes. One in three will be a kid. An astonishing 13,500 individuals will be blind as a result of their injury.

Based on the injury, approximately 90 percent could have been prevented had the athletes been wearing eye protection. Ninety percent…! So what can you do to help? To begin with, get to know your patients and their families. What activities do they participate in? If they mention sports with fast-flying objects, such as balls, paintball pellets and pucks, or with sticks and racquets, take note. Also listen for contact sports, such as basketball, soccer and football, where fingers and elbows can poke the eye. Even fishing, in many instances a rather calm sport, runs the risk of eye injury due to fishhooks.

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