Published in Non-Clinical

Empowering the Optical with the Patient Handoff

This is editorially independent content
4 min read

Review five tips for optometrists to master the optical handoff to increase practice revenue by boosting the in-office glasses capture rate.

Empowering the Optical with the Patient Handoff
Optical is a large contributor to most optometry offices’ revenue streams. A great doctor-to-optician handoff is key to capturing in-office glasses sales and maintaining a healthy bottom line.
Below are five tips to ensure an excellent optical handoff.

1. Always “prescribe” glasses

I’m sure you’ve already heard this, but the words you say matter! It may not seem like a big deal, but it's common knowledge that using the word “prescribe” instead of “recommend” makes a difference in whether your patient will follow through with a glasses purchase. When you prescribe certain glasses products, the patient perceives that the products are needed, whereas when they’re recommended, the glasses seem much more optional.

2. Use the same terminology

Again, words matter! When summarizing your personalized glasses prescriptions, it's essential that you and your staff are using the same words. Optometrists understand that a no-line bifocal, no-line trifocal, and progressive lens are all different names for the same product. However, our patients likely do not.
When the doctor prescribes a progressive, but the staff member is talking about a no-line bifocal, the patient gets confused. A confused patient can lose interest in purchasing glasses, so being consistent with terms cuts down on patient confusion and reinforces the products you have prescribed.

3. Provide a summary

Ideally, you’ve already told your patient what type of glasses you are prescribing during the exam. It’s still a good idea to summarize what you’ve said, no matter if you have a staff member with you in the exam room or not. This helps remind the patient what you have prescribed and primes them for purchasing in optical. It also guides your staff member on what lenses and frames to present.

4. Make it personal

It’s important to make sure the patient understands that there’s a reason you’re prescribing specific optical products. The easiest way to convey this is to pose the products as solutions to problems the patient brought up during the exam. This pertains to both lens and frame options.
For example, “I’m prescribing a progressive lens for Mr. Smith because he told me how he’s tired of taking on and off reading glasses,” or, “I’m prescribing hi-index lenses and this specific frame line because Mrs. Jones thinks her current glasses are too heavy and wants the lightest frames and thinnest lenses possible.”

5. Prescribe patients multiple pairs of glasses

Personalizing your prescriptions should easily lead to prescribing multiple pairs of glasses. Again, listening to your patient’s complaints should help guide these additional prescriptions. These glasses might help solve issues at school, work, and/or sports.
For example, “Mr. Smith loves to fish but is having trouble seeing the line to tie a knot. I’m prescribing him polarized progressive sun lenses. These lenses will allow Mr. Smith to see well at all distances and reduce glare the most for his days on the water.”


Even though the above points may seem pretty obvious, it's easy to skip over one or all of them, given all of the other information and tasks to convey and complete during a patient exam. However, it's important to master your optical handoff since it directly impacts office income.
Go back and evaluate your handoff if you’re struggling with your glasses capture rate. I’m confident that if you focus on these five areas, you’ll see a positive impact on your sales and, therefore, collections.
Alexandra Copeland, OD
About Alexandra Copeland, OD

Alexandra (Troy) Copeland, OD FAAO graduated from the ICO and completed a residency in low vision rehabilitation at Salus University.

She is the owner of Innovative Eye Care in Kalamazoo, Michigan where she provides both primary and low vision services to her patients. When not working, Alexandra enjoys visiting new restaurants, skiing, and reading.

Alexandra Copeland, OD
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