Insights From Our Editors

Patients’ View of Eyewear: Style Accessory or Medical Necessity?

Oct. 7, 2015

Your optical may need to do a better job presenting eyewear as a style, as well as a vision aid, findings from The Vision Council’s 2015 Fashion vs. Function Study suggest. A large majority of eyeglass users/buyers (84.6 percent) view eyeglasses primarily as a medical necessity. U.S. adults over the age of 55, and those who recently went to an ECP for an exam, had this view. Over 12 percent of eyeglass users view glasses as both a medical necessity and fashionable accessory.

Our patients want more than just a pair of glasses that make them see better. They want to look good, too. No, I take that back, they don’t want to just look good in their new glasses, they want to look awesome in their new glasses.

Every year there are fashion trends that burst on the scene, which our optical staffs need to keep track of. Here are four fashion trends, synthesized from Coastal.com’s The Look, that should have been noticed by your optical staff for this year:

For their 2015 collections, Libertine, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang all “showed the influence of the Rave culture of the early 90’s. Shiny black acetate frames, as well as colorful frames, pick up the spirit of the era.”

For 2015, Calvin Klein Collection, Rodarte and Narcisco Rodriguez all took a different approach. Their approach was more fluid. “Strong silhouettes devolving into fluid shapes, using blue tones of dark navy and azure,” catch this idea.

For 2015, Altuzarra, Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg, “drew inspiration from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.” Did everyone notice that cat-eye frames are back?

“Hugo Boss, Anna Sui and Versus Versace looked to the decadence of the 1970’s. Metal detailing, deep color tones and creative adornments” all help capture this idea.

Click HERE for more information, and photos, of these fashions.

The frame selection process in today’s world for the savvy practice is more than just making sure the frame fits. Here are three things your frame stylists should be doing with every patient.

1) Making sure the frame color enhances the patient’s skin tones and “current” hair color. We are a fan of the “seasons” approach to this–are you a winter, spring, summer or fall? This system is easy to communicate to patients.

2) Making sure the frame shape is appropriate for the patient. There are many excellent resources available to help with this task, including digital overlays that can go over the patient’s face.

3) Making sure the frame design matches the patient’s approach to life. It’s helpful here to group frames into three categories: conservative, contemporary and fashion-forward.

With experience and confidence, this process does not need to take any longer than any other frame selection process, but it will make a dramatic difference in the end result. Let’s put it this way: do you want a satisfied patient or a raving fan? We want raving fans!

As your frame stylist goes through the frame selection process, make sure they are communicating with the patient how each step is helping design the best frame for them. Going the extra step in frame selection, and communicating that effectively to the patient, is one of the ways that you can win a patient for life.

Take this week to review your frame selection process in your office. Make sure your frame stylists are aware of current fashion trends, as well as able to handle the three steps above.

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