When we know the details, we provide patients with the expertise they want
I’m often surprised at the answer I get when I ask other optometrists what brand of progressive lenses they prescribe. Usually, they say something along the lines of, “I don’t recommend any lens in particular. I let the optical staff decide that type of thing.” I often follow up by asking what type of lens they wear, for which the respondent typically also doesn’t have an answer. Why wouldn’t the person in the office who knows the most about lenses and optics know answers to basic questions like this?
There are reasons waiters get asked for recommendations from the menu, that golf pros get asked which driver they use and oncologists get asked for chemotherapy preferences: The advice and expertise of the professional is beyond valuable — it’s what the consumer came to the office for.
When the doctor assesses the patient’s visual needs and provides specific recommendations, the patient gets the doctor’s expert advice on the best way to solve the vision problem(s).
Here are three steps to get up to speed on lens technology to improve prescribing skills and patient recommendations.
1 SELECT THE LENS BRAND FOR THE OFFICE
Several excellent lens companies have extensive lens portfolios. To decide which to offer, we should evaluate the products from each portfolio, meet with the local representatives, develop a relationship with their labs and access inside customer service representatives who can address issues that come up with the lab work.
2 LEARN THE DETAILS OF THAT BRAND’S LENS PRODUCTS
Among the details we should garner for each lens portfolio:
Single vision lenses. While it may not seem apparent to many doctors, there are differences in single vision lenses. Let’s meet with the lens representatives and study the manufacturer’s websites to learn the nuances of their lens designs. Let’s be informed on spherical vs. aspheric lenses, aberration-controlled optics and enhanced single vision lenses.
Progressive lenses. Each major lens manufacturer has many different lens designs to accommodate various patient needs. Let’s learn how computer progressive lenses are different than all-purpose progressive lenses and the little tricks we can do to improve lens performance. An example: Overplussing a computer progressive by 0.25 D in the distance portion of the lens with an accompanying decrease of add power by 0.50 D.
Lens materials. Let’s gather advice on the best refractive index to use for each patient to minimize lens weight and thickness. This is of great importance to patients, due to comfort.
Lens treatments. Let’s gather specifics about these, so we can speak intelligently and specifically to patients about the importance of blocking glare, UV and high-energy blue violet light for our brand recommendations.
3 WEAR THE LENSES THAT WE PRESCRIBE
Following this step allows us to speak from experience when we talk with patients about the one or more lenses we are recommending. Then, we should spend time with our patients sharing our personal knowledge.
PUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE INTO PRACTICE
You’ll find that your patients will appreciate your ability to craft a solution to maximize their vision. Additionally, they’ll be less likely to seek glasses elsewhere, with the end result being that revenue per patient increases dramatically. OM