By Scot Morris, OD
Installing a measurement system is essential to making personalized ophthalmic lenses work in your practice. It greatly improves accuracy in fitting new eyewear, minimizes remakes, and projects a high-tech image to patients.
When my practice installed Visioffice personalized lens technology with the use of the in-office Essilor Visioffice system, we had three major goals: to provide the best possible premium lenses to patients, to upgrade our method of measuring the fit of lenses, and to reduce costly remakes on lenses due to antiquated measurement methods.
Visioffice System Allows Us To:
1) Take highly accurate measurements for personalized lenses.
2) Eliminate inaccurate, manual measurements.
3) Minimize costly remakes.
We were able to capitalize on the ability to prescribe and sell premium digital single-vision and progressive lenses which provide highly accurate measurements of eye and head movements, among other custom accommodations. The Visioffice system communicates the custom measurements taken in our office in a seamless digital transfer to the lab. Without this technology tool, a whole line of premium vision solutions would not be available to our patients, and equally important, a whole line of profitable products would not be available for us to sell to our patients.
Second, we have a very high-tech experience practice. It seemed odd that we would do digital prescriptions and provide patients the latest and greatest state of the art technology and then measure their PD with a mm stick and a marker. With the Visioffice system, which takes measurements digitally to determine custom prescriptions, that philosophy and perception has completely changed.
The third goal was to control the variability of optician measurements and subsequent remakes that we were getting.
Relatively Low-Level Investment
Acquiring the Visioffice system was a relatively low-level investment in terms of technology that has paid for itself many times over. Without this technology we were shut out of a whole line of products. Not only are we now able to prescribe premium progressives, but we have also found that we are much more successful at selling premium anti-glare and other extras, like clips. In our experience, people are not going to spend a couple hundred dollars on lenses and then do budget anti-glare and tinted lens. It just doesn’t work that way. Our optical finished up 28.6 percent last year, and we attribute that in large part of premium lens technology and to Visioffice.
Improved Remake Rate
I believe that Visioffice was instrumental in changing our remake rate from our previous unacceptable 8 percent, to our current 1.6 percent. Not only has this impacted our bottom line by decreasing the physical costs of the remakes; more importantly, it has completely changed patient perception of our quality and service.
Majority of Progressives Sold Personalized Lenses
We have completely altered our product offerings so now 82.4 percent of our progressives are digital premium lenses. Our average increase in profitability is $94 more than our non-digital lenses. Last year we did 556 premium PALs. That is an increase in profitability of $52,264 on just the progressive lens itself and doesn’t include the increased profitability of the higher-end frames and anti-glare that we were selling. With just these numbers I paid for this machine many, many times over.
Educate Patients on Benefits–Beginning in Exam Room
First, the process of communicating the advantages of personalized lenses has to start in the exam lane. I wear premium personalized PALs and so does much of the staff. They simply are better from my perspective and that translates in what I say, do and sell. We don’t position anything in our office on price. We position new products on the value and comfort they will bring our patients and how they will decrease eye strain, head movement, visual stress and physical stress.
We talk about how premium personalized lenses will provide a more comfortable visual solution and that the minimal increase in costs is well worth the comfort and quality of their vision. This is why we prescribe premium lenses. It is rare that patients complain about the price, especially because they were prescribed this visual solution. If you make it about price, everyone chooses cheap. If you make it about visual quality, people always want at least great, and most of the time, they want the best.
PRESENTING PERSONALIZED LENSES: The Patient-Doctor Conversation
“Mrs. Jones, I wear digital, personalized progressive lenses because they give me a better quality of vision without eye strain or visual distortion. I am prescribing the same type of lenses for you so you can enjoy clearer and more comfortable vision.”
That is all it takes. Why wouldn’t I want my patients to have the best? After all, it’s not up to me to decide what they can afford. It’s up to me to be their consultant and provide the best visual solution possible.
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Scot Morris, OD,of Eye Consultants of Colorado in Conifer, Colo., is an international speaker and educator on optometric subjects. He directs anophthalmic consulting service, Morris Education & Consulting Associates, as well as Ocular Technology Solutions, Inc. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.