By Sabrina Shively, OD,
Kyle Shively, OD,
and Andrew Gonzalez, Optical Manager
June 24, 2020
Rebuilding practice finances after the COVID-19 shutdown will require all of our best resources. For our practice, one of those “best resources” is the Spark Mi Up optical measuring system from Shamir, which we added to our optical late last year. The technology offers super-precise measuring capability for digitally created custom lenses, enables social distancing and wows our patients with a cutting-edge approach to eyewear.
Impressively, the system comes in a turnkey setup with everything included to run out-of-the-box, so my staff and I were able to put the technology into use immediately after it arrived.
Perfect for the “New Normal”
Since COVID, we have implemented a small book of safety protocols in our practice. PD and pupillometer measurements would have required my staff to get within a foot of our patients. Thankfully, we were already equipped with the Spark Mi Up prior to COVID, and so I have had no worries about my opticians maintaining social distance while taking optical measurements.
The Spark Mi UP setup is such that the optician and patient are about 6 feet from one another with the device between them. Perfect! Furthermore, nothing touches the patient other than the frame of their choosing, so no disinfecting greasy nose pads or PD sticks.
The Spark Mi Up technology is comprised of a mirror that has technology that captures reflective points on the frame and lens at a few different angles, so integrative software can then compute and display measurements for each patient on a laptop computer. The technology enables laser-precision in the creation of eyewear.
There are fail-safe mechanisms in the technology’s software to ensure the acquired image is of proper quality, and it will also allow for the optician to manually manipulate measurements if necessary. We rarely find we have to manually change the measurements, though. The convenience of this image is you have a snapshot of all measurements at once, which leaves out the guesswork for the lab in interpreting how a frame should function with a given prescription on each individual patient. These measurements are truly custom, like a suit is by a tailor.
Practice-Differentiating, State-of-the-Art Technology
We were looking for something that would complement our state-of-the-art practice. We had the advanced equipment and technology to evaluate a patient’s ocular health and provide them with their most accurate prescription, but we lacked these same type of advancements in our optical. The only two measurements we routinely took were pupil distance and seg height, but we knew that when recommending today’s digital lenses, those measurements were not nearly enough to provide the patient with the best visual experience possible.
We looked at other digital eyewear measuring devices, but they were just too clunky and unreliable. Those other devices also seemed gimmicky if I were in the patient’s shoes. Spark Mi Up was too simple, sleek and sophisticated to not give it a try; it made pupillometers and PD sticks look like a thing from the distant past. And, in a time when selfies abound, a clean mirror in the center of our optical that captures digital images and then computes all angles and sizes, just seemed like the right answer for the total patient experience in our lovely dispensary.
Huge Value-Add to the Practice
This technology’s greatest value to our practice is how it enables us to give our patients the most sophisticated piece of eyewear–a product that would be hard to find anywhere else in our market. The eyewear Spark Mi Up provides our patients with is the kind of practice-differentiator that will stay in their minds, creating long-term, loyal patients who are likely to refer friends and family to us.
In addition to the practice-branding benefits of Spark Mi Up, the technology allows us to focus our patient care and sales efforts even more so on digital lenses. It also gives us a wonderful tool in educating our patients on what sets digital lenses apart from conventional lenses.
We use the Spark Mi Up system on nearly every patient. Our office sees about 20-30 patients a day. I cannot tell you how many patients have told us that the eyewear created with Spark Mi Up is the best pair of glasses they have ever had. That for us made the Spark Mi Up device worth every dime. We have many patients who come in and specifically request measurements with Spark Mi Up.
An Impressive New Focal Point for Your Optical
This piece of technology sits in the center of our dispensary, on it’s own platform with a connected laptop. In front of the platform we have an elegant gold Chiavari chair for patients to sit while their image is being taken. We have gone out of our way to make the Spark Mi Up system a focal point for patients.
Nearly all patients are currently being measured with the Spark Mi Up, even if they are not electing for digital lens designs. This allows for them to still be honored in the gold Chiavari chair, and then we can show patients all the measurements that will be accounted for in the design of their lenses. An added benefit of the technology is that by saving the patient’s image to their file we won’t have any confusion as to the frame they selected should that ever be a concern for the patient.
Spark Mi Up allows us to provide an impressive patient experience from frame selection, to the accuracy and simplicity of optical measurements, all through to dispensing the completed eyewear.
Sending the Right Message to Our Patients
First and foremost, Spark Mi Up sends the message to our patients that we want to give them the best technology available. But secondly, and probably equally important, it projects the idea that we are still a growing practice that rejects stagnancy, and that we aren’t afraid to try new things. Spark Mi Up is the kind of advanced optical technology today’s patients expect–and will return to your office again and again to continue experiencing.