Insights From Our Editors

Market Opportunity: Offer a Variety of Sports Lens Tints

June 22, 2016

You have the opportunity to offer patients a greater array of colors for their sport sunglass lenses. Patients have a diversity of taste in this area, The Vision Council’s 2015 Sports Sunglass Report suggest. The color gray was the most popular color, used by almost 20 percent of recent sport sunglass purchasers, especially among mountain sports participants. Gray was followed by the colors blue (17.0 percent) and brown (16.5 percent). Brown was more popular among mountain sports at 17.9 percent and blue was more common for road sports participants (19.5 percent). For winter sports, the color amber was the most common choice.

Less than 15 percent of respondents of The Vision Council’s 2015 Sports Sunglass Report said they purchased sunglasses or goggles specifically to be used for sports activities. Almost 81 percent said they had participated in at least one sports activity in the past year. This data says there is a marketing opportunity here to help patients.
Start with your pre-exam lifestyle history. Ask if patients have done any of the following activities in the past year:
Aerobic Fitness: walking, running, biking, dance

Ball Sports: baseball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, golf, tennis

Extreme Sports: skateboarding, rock climbing, BMX Riding or ATV Riding

Martial Arts: karate, judo, tae kwon do, capoeira

Mountain Sports: mountain bike riding, rock climbing, hiking

Outdoor Sports: camping, gardening, motorcycling

Road Sports: road bicycle riding, Moto Cross and/or Rally cross

Shooting Sports: hunting, target shooting

Water Sports: swimming, scuba, surfing, jet skiing, water skiing, water polo, wakeboarding, fishing/angling

Winter Sports: snowboarding, snow skiing, snowmobiling, cross-country or downhill skiing

For each of these activities, there are visual “pain points” such as squinting, changing environment, contrast issues, comfort, clarity, light protection and safety. Even though there are optical solutions for each of the visual pain points, most patients are unaware of how you can help improve their quality of life when participating in sporting activities.

Just as there are different sports, there are different visual requirements needed in each sport, therefore, you need to know what to prescribe for patients involved in different sporting activities. There is no need to recreate the wheel. Your next step is to enlist your optical laboratory to help you with information about lenses for sports.
Beyond your optical lab, there are other resources. Here are resources that are easily available to you:

The American Optometric Association has very helpful information in their Sports and Vision Guidebooks.

Using tints to enhance vision during a sporting activity is important. Essilor’s Xperio web site has a nice tool to show the new lens colors available. Clicking the right or left arrows on the web site shows the range of possibilities. Note also the marketing messages at the bottom of the screen for “Protection against UV,” “Eliminate glare,” “Resist scratches” and “Clean easily.” These are messages patients respond to positively.

Oakley has helpful information on its web site under the “Sports” tab.

Transitions has a helpful survey tool for patients on its web site.

Ray-Ban has a “Virtual Mirror” on its web site that lets patients see what they would look like in different products. Expect to see more companies incorporate this feature on their web site in the future.

Your next step is to use these tools in the exam room and optical to help patients understand how you can improve their quality of life. This requires planning with your entire team how to make the best presentation to patients in your office. Here are the three most important questions you need answered all based around the primary question: How do you guide the patient to the desired result you want for them?
1) What messages do you put in each location in your office to preset your patients to purchase?
2) What scripts does each staff member say?
3) How do you close the deal?
You’ve got your work cut out for you this week. Don’t put this off. Attack this issue and help your patients to improve their quality of life while engaged in sports activities, and at the same time, grow your practice.

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