Optometric Management Tip # 11   -   Wednesday, April 03, 2002
Reusing a Patientís Frame

We all have patients who want their new prescription lenses to be placed into their present frame. While my staff will inform these patients of some of the benefits of new frame materials and features, and even mention style considerations - we are also caring and accommodating to patient's wishes. If we inspect the old frame and find it in good condition, we are happy to make new lenses for it. We even go the extra mile to make this process easy for patients by using our patternless edger in the office or by using a remote trace and transmit device to an outside lab.

But problems do arise, and since we are handling a patient's personal property, I developed an office policy for re-using frames. Whenever we accept a lens prescription order that re-uses a patient's own frame, our technician has the patient sign an informational handout. We place one copy in the file and give the patient a copy. I don't generally like having patients sign waivers and informed consents, so we use them very sparingly in my practice, but this is one occasion when I think it's warranted.

This handout explains the potential problems of re-using an old frame and describes the limit of our liability. The policy is fair because it is explained in advance.

The wording of our patient handout is printed here. Feel free to use it or adapt it to meet your needs.

Policy for Ordering New Lenses
for a Patient's Old Frame

* We cannot be responsible for frame breakage when we re-use a patient's old frame to manufacture and insert new lenses.

* We will use the utmost care if we accept a patient's frame, but in a small percentage of cases the frame parts or material will be worn or brittle to the point that it will not support a new lens.

* Older frames are often discontinued by the manufacturer and replacement parts are generally not available. Placing new lenses into an old frame may create a pair of glasses that cannot be repaired later.

* If a patient's frame breaks during our handling, we will make new lenses at no charge for whatever frame the patient chooses, but the purchase of the new frame is the patient's expense.

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Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management