Published in Non-Clinical

4 Ways Optometrists Can Help Their Opticians Succeed

This is editorially independent content
3 min read

I’m an optician at a practice that, on average, sells 150 pairs of glasses a month.

Of those glasses sold;
  • about 55% include photochromic lenses
  • about 86% include no glare lenses

True story.

How do we do it? Well, we don’t our OD does, but I’ll tell you his secrets.

1. He prescribes from the exam room

The key word is "prescribes."
He does not recommend; he prescribes the best lens solution for the patient.
So, what’s best for the patient? A lens that helps them see the best they can, of course. In our office, this means removing glare and reflections to help them see 20% clearer while protecting their eyes from UV and harmful blue light, in a lens free of blur and distortion.
See how our OD provides a clinical reason for the lens solution?
When an optician recommends AR, Transitions, HD lenses, and so on, it often seems as though she is hard selling. If an optician is filling the OD’s prescription, that perception completely changes; those lens features become needs, not wants, and the optician doesn’t appear to be selling the patient a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need.

2. The OD passes the baton to the optician in the exam room

Once the optician enters the exam room, here’s how things go down.
First, the OD prescribes his lens solution to the patient in front of the optician.
Second, the OD discusses his lens solution with the optician in front of the patient.
Third, the OD says something like “Miss Smith, this is our Optician, Christina, she is very knowledgeable, and she will do everything she can to take my lens solution and help you get some glasses that will fit into your budget.”
Just like that, the patient headed out to optical confident in the optician’s knowledge and reassured that she wouldn't try to sell him a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need.

3. The OD writes his prescribed lens solutions down

We use a “Visual Treatment Plan” that lays out the OD’s lens solutions for each pair of glasses he has prescribed to the patient.
This allows the optician to visually review the OD’s prescribed lens solution with the patient as she is demonstrating the features. At the risk of repeating myself, this once again assures the patient that I am not just selling them a bunch of stuff they don’t need.
Do you see a theme?

4. The OD never discusses the cost of anything

Our OD never, ever discusses prices.
The closest he comes is to assure the patient that the optician will work with their budget. Leaving the money talk out of the exam room keeps the focus on the clinical reasons for the lens solution.
This can be difficult for some ODs because sometimes they have to play dumb. But, I promise, if the optometrist leaves all discussions of money up to the opticians, it will show that their concern is only with the health of the patient’s eyes and not the size of their pocketbooks.
Thus, the prescribed lens solutions will hold more value, and, you guessed it, the patient won’t feel like the optician is just trying to sell him a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need.

This is just the beginning of a longer conversation around doctor-driven dispensing. Let's chat in the comments!

Christina Bonsall
About Christina Bonsall

With over 10 years of marketing, public relations, and sales experience in the beauty industry, Christina joined VisionArts Eyecare Center in Fulton, MO as the marketing coordinator and an optician in September of 2013. She's also a change agent for Transitions Optical and a writer for Covalent Careers.

Christina Bonsall
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