O.D. to O.D.



MAYBE IT is just me, but suddenly, eyewear is virtually everywhere: It is in every magazine I pick up, every social media page I visit, roadside billboards and, of course, in our offices. When I walk into any public place, one of the first things I do is check out what frames people wear. Bad habit — maybe. Competitive analysis —absolutely!


In past columns, I have referred to the optical as the lost art and the lost profit center. In this column I want to revisit that theme from another angle: What makes your retail eyewear center (no one outside the industry calls it an optical, so let’s call it what it is) different from everyone else’s? Take a walk “up front,” and see what you have. Is there a good selection? Is there anything you, your spouse, your kids or your parents would want to wear?

Next set of questions: Do you want to shop there? Is it fun? Does it educate you about options, or are your consumers just supposed “to know” what to look for in the frames and lenses that you sell in your retail eyewear center?


Here is the reality of this discussion. The best form of vision care is still vision wear, and we, as optometrists, are uniquely qualified to educate, promote and sell just such eyewear. Yes, the optical is the major profit center of most practices, but is it truly generating the profit that it should, while at the same time providing great products that enable our eyewear consumers to look good, feel good and see good?

More importantly, as in any retail setting, what makes our health care consumers want to purchase this eyewear from us vs. the dozens, if not hundreds, of choices or outlets available to them? In essence, the future of our retail business starts RIGHT NOW. What are you going to do about it?


This issue talks about foundational concepts that are often overlooked or undervalued when it comes to one’s optical. It, in part, discusses understanding your inventory and how to use retail concepts (after all, the optical is 100% a retail business) to improve your business.

The issue also contains a piece on changing your mind-set as to how many pairs of glasses someone really needs. (Think along the lines of how many pairs of shoes you own.) In addition, the magazine talks about how to get the most from your vendor partnerships to improve your optical, as well as other parts of your business. And let’s not forget how we got to this spot in the first place — the prescription. (Note: I didn’t say refraction because anyone can get one of those.) How do you write a prescription?

Please read on and keep a “to-do” list next to you. Then, take the first step toward building a better eyewear retail center. OM.