Optometric Management Tip # 127   -   Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Reusing Patientsí Own Frames

In keeping with last weekís tip on waivers, disclaimers and informed consents, Iíll share another office form with you this week. As I stated, too many of these are a big turn-off to patients, so pick your battles carefully and adopt these only if they present a significant problem in your practice. I try to balance the need to keep things simple and positive with my desire to inform patients in advance of things they need to know. I have found that telling people in advance about our policies on such things as payment of fees, insurance plans, and warranty coverage works very well. Itís always fair if itís known in advance.

Smaller offices can rely on a verbal statement, but with multiple technicians it can sometimes be hard to know if patients were really informed of a policy, or not.

We are always happy to re-use a patientís old frame, as long as itís in good condition and fits well. But there are a few technical issues about frame re-use that the average consumer is not aware of, and we must educate them. Our concern is the responsibility of breaking or damaging the patientís frame while in the process of placing new lenses into it. See the handout below for how we handle this.

We always inspect the frame first for defects or cracks, and we may decide that the frame is not in acceptable condition to accept new prescription lenses. In those rare cases, we show the patient the problem and decline to re-use it.

One final problem that exists when using the existing frame is that the patient may have to go without his or her primary eyeglasses while the frame is sent to the lab for new lenses. Since my office has an in-house surfacing and finishing lab, this is only a problem when a patient has a vision plan that requires the use of a vision plan lab.

As we point out defects in the old frame, the importance of a spare pair of glasses, and the sharing of responsibility of frame breakage, some patients change their mind and decide to select a new frame, which may be a smarter decision in some cases anyway.

Here is the handout we use whenever we place new lenses into a patientís own frame. A signed copy is kept in the patient record.
Policy for Placing New Lenses in Patientís Old Frame

We are happy to make new prescription lenses for your own frame if itís in good condition and fits your face properly. If we accept your frame for re-use, we pledge to use the utmost care in handling it. But in a small percentage of cases, the frame material will be worn or brittle to the point that it will not support a new pair of lenses.

Please be aware that older frame styles are often discontinued by the manufacturer and replacement parts are usually not available. This presents a problem if the frame breaks and canít be repaired.

If your frame breaks during our lens insertion process, the lenses initially made for that frame cannot be re-used for a different frame style. We will make new lenses at no additional charge for any new frame you choose, but the cost of the replacement frame will be at your expense.

I understand and accept this policy.

Patientís signature_____________________________ Date ___________

Best wishes for continued success,

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