O.D. to O.D.

Like any aspect of business, you have to pay attention to your optical for it to be lucrative.

o.d. to o.d.

What Do You See When You Look at Your Optical?

Like any aspect of business, you have to pay attention to your optical for it to be lucrative.

Chief Optometric Editor

Between undergrad and graduate school, I took a year off and got a job as an optician. I learned a lot about optics, lens manufacturing, fashion and, most of all, human psychology.

I often think about that time and how it has created an interesting foundation for what I do now and how I think today. Even though I speak a great deal about ocular disease and technology, I always remember that my roots, and our roots as a profession, are centered primarily around our ability to provide eyewear.

Giving it more thought

When was the last time you thought about your optical? I mean really thought about it. It can be one of the most fascinating segments of your office, not to mention the most profitable. Of course, like anything in business, you have to pay attention to it for it to be lucrative.

In most practices, the optical accounts for more than 50% of total business sales. If this doesn’t apply to your practice, you either have a specialty practice, or maybe you need to take a better look at what your optical is doing for you and what you are doing for it.

A good place to start is with one of the key business rules, “If you focus on it, it will grow.” If you want your retail optical sales to grow so that they account for 50% of your sales, you may want to spend a commensurate amount of time on this business.

You may be thinking, “How could I ever spend 50% of my time on my optical? I have to see patients.” Or, “I can’t think of how to spend that much time on my optical.” If this was one of your mental comments, let’s start simple, and dedicate 50% more time on thinking about how to grow your optical. This month’s issue of OM can help.

Inspiring action

I want to direct you to what I feel are a few of the “must-read” articles of this issue:

▸ What Image are you Presenting in Your Optical? (page 18.) Here, Jay Binkowitz, president of business management consulting company GPN, discusses the importance of first impressions and creating the modern optical dispensary.

▸ A Bolt From the Blue (page 30). Coralie Barrau, Ph.D., a researcher from Paris, talks about the effect of blue light on the human retina and the currently available protective products. This is ground-breaking stuff that will radically change our prescribing patterns for decades to come.

▸ No Passion for Fashion? (page 22). Luxottica’s vice president of marketing, Milena Cavicchioli, illustrates the importance of optical brands and what they mean to our practices.

▸ Industry interviews (pages 52/66). Essilor’s Howard Purcell discusses dispensing devices, and Luxottica’s Holly Rush answers questions about the challenges and opportunities facing optometry.

Action step

After you are done with my column, take a tour of your optical. Look around. Are you happy with what you see? Would you buy glasses there? If not, it’s time to get to work (after you read this month’s magazine of course.) OM