Insights From Our Editors

How Much Growth Was There in Plano Sunglasses at Independent Optical Shops Last Year?

Optical chains still have the upper hand when it comes to plano sunwear sales. Optical chains beat independent optical shops in plano sunglasses sales growth in the 12 months ending December 2012 compared to the same time frame the previous year, according to the Vision Council VisionWatch 2012 Plano Sunglasses Sales report. Sales of plano sunwear grew by 6.1 percent at optical chain stores, and by 5.8 percent at independent optical shops. Better department and specialty stores saw year-over-year growth of plano sunwear of 5.6 percent. Plano sunwear sales grew by 3.9 percent at sunwear specialty shops and grew by 2.6 percent at drug/grocery/mass/warehouse clubs. Interestingly, sporting goods stores saw negative growth in plano sunwear sales of -1.6 percent, and flea market/street vendors also saw negative growth of -2.8 percent.

Do you believe that every patient needs outdoor protective lenses? If you do, then here are four practical things that everyone in the practice should believe and actively make happen with patients.

1) Every plano patient needs sunglasses.
2) Every infant needs sunglasses.
3) Every patient with contact lenses needs sunglasses.
4) Every patient with a refractive condition needs sunglasses.

The benefits of sunglasses provide the reasons for believing those four concepts. The four benefits of sunglasses are protection, safety, comfort and style. Let’s consider each of these benefits.

Protection: Ninety percent of skin cancer occurs on the head and neck. Ten percent of skin cancer occurs on or around the eyes. UV protective lenses are as important as sunblock when exposed to the harmful UV rays from the sun. Add to this discussion the need to block UV and blue light because of their contribution to macular degeneration. Add to that the contribution of the sun’s light to cataract formation. Patients need protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

Safety: Studies have shown that people wearing polarized sunglasses see and react faster to situations than people wearing even wearing lenses that just darken. How much faster? When driving a car, the quicker reaction time allows the driver to stop a car about the width of a normal intersection faster. That’s significant.

Comfort: Bright sunlight is uncomfortable. Glare from the sun is uncomfortable. Polarized sunwear makes time in the sun significantly more comfortable.

Style: Let’s face it, sunglasses are a fashion item as well as providing protection and comfort. Sunglasses can be fun and make a definite fashion statement. Don’t forget that squinting in the sun when not wearing sunglasses contributes to crow’s feet wrinkles around the eyes. Want to look younger longer ? Wear sunglasses.

Your action plan this week is to review how sunglasses in general, and plano sunglasses specifically, are being utilized in your practice. Answer these five questions to discover what is going on in your practice.

1) Are sunglasses presented to every patient?
2) What is your percentage of sunglass sales to total lens sales?
3) What is your percentage of photochromic lenses to total lens sales?
4) Does the doctor prescribe sunglasses in the exam room?
5) Are sunglasses presented to patients before dress lenses?

Now that you know more about how your practice works, create a plan to make it better.

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And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.
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And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.