Optometric Management Tip # 309   -   Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Trying On Frames That Fit

Did you ever go into your optical area and try on a large number of frames that are on display? I don't mean just selecting a few styles that you might be interested in for your personal use, but rather trying on fifty or one hundred styles and looking at yourself in the mirror with each one. I do this once in awhile and I'm always shocked at how poorly some of the frames fit. Of course I realize that many frames are not optimally sized for my face, but I can easily look past that and see... I think frames that are out of standard alignment are found in our inventories for two reasons: 1) They are shipped that way from the distributor or manufacturer and staff members don't take the time to adjust them before placing them on display. 2) They are mishandled by patients who try them on. Whatever the reason, poor fitting frames on your displays are bad for business.

Effect on Sales

I'm sure it's pretty standard for opticians and technicians to inform patients that the fit and comfort aspects of a frame will be masterfully adjusted at the dispensing visit, and not to be concerned over that during the selection process. While true to a point, I've had many pairs of glasses that just never felt all that comfortable after I had my prescription lenses placed in it, no matter how much adjusting took place. And even though a staff member may provide valid reassurance, if a sample frame feels and looks poorly, it's likely to be rejected by the potential wearer.

Effect on Measurements

Making sure the frame fits and positions properly before measuring is a key element of good optical care. I train my staff to always make sure the frame is adjusted and in the preferred position on the face before measuring things like: In spite of all good intentions, however, I know staff members take shortcuts and don't always perform a perfect frame adjustment during the frame selection process. It's going to need to be adjusted again after coming back from the lab anyway.

This is another good reason to have frames in inventory in reasonably good alignment at all times. That way when measurements are taken with the frame right off the rack, the chances of error are reduced.

Staff Side Jobs

Checking and adjusting frames on display is one of many side jobs that are given to staff members in my practice. Most practices have some down time in the office when we are not delivering patient care, so side jobs are assigned to each employee and it's his or her responsibility to manage that task without being asked. The key is to give each side job to a specific individual. I don't say it's everyone's job to adjust frames on display because no one would be responsible and everyone would rely on the others to do it. If I give that job to employee A, I know where to go if I see that the standards are not being met.

Best wishes for continued success,

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