INDEPENDENT OPTICIANS TEND TO PROVIDE REAL HEALTH CARE SEVICE
Optical Dispensary is like a Pharmacy or Health Clinic. It
is a Health Care Facility where prescription eyewear is designed,
custom fitted and serviced with skill and excellence. Today's
retail optical model works very well for reaching sales goals
and marketing one-size-fits-all merchandise. But Opticianry
is ultimately defined by how well the eyewear makes contact
with the Patient, not by the number of customers served. Skilled
professionals use dispensing procedures whereby they can anticipate
adverse visual and frame-fitting issues with direct hands-on-the-patient
eyewear design and frame fitting skills before the Patient
has to endure them, thereby avoiding the necessity and inconvenience
of return visits and-or possible re-do's, or worse, refunds,
and the adverse notoriety that comes thereafter. When the
eye care industry as a whole returns to this yesteryears practice
as their dominant paradigm, consumers will return to their
brick-and-mortar dispensaries for their eyewear purchases.
Unfortunately, as things stand, consumers have very little
reason NOT to make their eyewear
purchases online, and the eye care industry as a whole
has nobody to blame but themselves.
Independent Eye Care Professionals tend to be more caring
and experienced, are more flexible with their policies, and
are inclined to put service ahead of sales. Click
here to see Common Complaints and Causes. Click
here to find a skilled Optician in your area. Click
here if you want your name added to our mailing list.
expect Opticians to be more Healthcare Providers than Merchants.
What kind of professional health care delivery would you expect to find at this online store?
the last time you saw or heard a retail optical
store promote the custom fitting of eyewear? Could this
be because they don't know how to custom-fit eyewear?
Could it be that the staff only knows how to sell glasses?
WHERE ARE WE HEADING?
Do you see the forthcoming Google Glass in your future as an Optician? Are you prepared to personalize similar high-tech frame ware as prescription eyewear? Send us your thoughts here.
THE GOOGLE GLASS
See what it does.
dispensing is a soon-to-be lost art. If the trend to
the narrower and strictly retail approach to ophthalmic services
a) The marketing of ready-to-wear, over-the-counter and Web-source eyewear
will continue to flourish; b) Hands-on-the-patient dispensing
skills and services
will disappear; c) Patients will continue to suffer from substandard
service; and d) Prescription eyewear will continue to be delivered
by an ever
increasing number of unskilled dispensers. The fact is that
many of today's
eyewear dispensers require major improvements in their skills
without which they will become increasingly irrelevant in
the eyecare industry.
While Independent Optician's are focused mostly on doing everything
the consumer, too many retailers are rigidly fixated on profit
and reducing costs.
As a consumer, by whom would you rather be served?" See
our Code of Ethics.
See also The Coming Humanization
of The American Economy.
PLACING FRAME DIRECTLY ON PATIENT IS A CRUCIAL STEP
placing the eyewear directly on the Patient, the Optician
can imprint a better sense of how the frame fits the Patient,
whether too tight or loose, and what adjustments are needed.
The Optician then knows in lieu of asking how the frame fits."
mission is to re-humanize the delivery of
prescription eyewear. -- OpticiansForChange.com
portion of the Opticians' Generation Gap is explicable due
to the current focus on Dispenser training by way of on-the-job
apprenticeship programs, some of which are devoid of adequate
Full Discovery Lifestyle Interview training, and absent any Hands-on-the-Patient assessment, design and adjustment of prescription eyewear
as practiced by skilled Opticians. But this gap is equally
a result of today's over-zealous emphasis on the retail paradigm
whereby latter generation Dispensers especially tend to become
more skilled at parroting slogans, giving testimonials about
sales prowess, and answering questions about company policy,
sales goals and promotions from company executives, all of
which afford them no experience in conducting a lifestyle
interview or effectively assessing, designing, and then fitting
prescription eyewear directly on the Patient. Unfortunately
some aspiring Dispensers tend to become merchants, peddling
ready-made, over-the-counter merchandise, not skilled Opticians,
dispensing customized prescription eyewear.
Surgeon must train for years in actual hands-on practice,
in residency, before being considered to be a qualified Surgeon.
Why don't we require residency for those dispensing eyewear?"
the eyes of some Consumers the up
close and personal aspect of dispensing eyewear has become
an exotic and unfamiliar craft, and the art has devolved to
such an extent that many Consumers (even many Dispensers)
now actually think that a hand-fitted frame is inferior to
an off-the-board frame. For example, some Patients, having
never seen or experienced a hands-on-the-Patient customized
frame fitting, have been known to request that the skull
conforming adjustments, having been applied by a skilled Optician
of the hands-on-school, be removed from temple ends because
"they don't look straight, flat and normal like other
people's glasses." Unfortunately, the "other people's
glasses" were more than likely never customized.
Board of Opticianry approved and Florida
State Board accredited hours for
Intermediate and Advanced Level Opticians in Hands-on-the-Patient
are currently being offered under the sponsorship of POF,
the Professional Opticians of
Florida. Click or Call 800-528-0413 Ext 354 to arrange for a Training Session.
HANDS-ON-THE-PATIENT DELIVERY DEFINED
"Dentists, Manicurists and Hairstylists make direct, tactile contact with the
consumer. Likewise, Opticians must make direct contact with
Hands-on-the-Patient Opticians, can determine by sense of touch how a
frame feels even in lieu of asking the Patient. Only an eyeglass merchant
routinely hands over prescription
glasses with no hands-on assessment,
nor the appropriate ‘touch-and-feel’
required to custom fit the eyewear."
DISPENSING is herein defined as those activities performed
by a skilled Dispensing Optician, which include a) the fullest
discovery and maximum consideration of the Patient's visual
needs, b) the assistance and advice to the Patient regarding
the appropriate choice of lens design and frame
selection, c) the duplicating, measuring, inspecting,
and verifying of prescription lenses, and d) any subsequent x-y-z plane alignment followed
by the more personalized
adjustments of the frame, including the Final
Fitting. See Optical
"Opticians are Eyewear Professionals. Opticianry
is ultimately defined by how well the eyewear makes
contact with the Patient, not by the number of Customers served.
For the truly skilled Optician, the standard of care must
customized design and hands-on fitting of eyewear on each
DELIVERY is herein defined as those procedures, which involve eyewear adjustments performed
by a skilled Dispensing Optician, which specifically include
visual and 'touch and feel,'
Hands-on-the-Patient, tactile assessment of the frame, while
it is in-place, on-the-face of the Patient, in order to determine
any misalignment, and b) any subsequent multi-dimensional
Hands-on-the-Patient, tactile, 'touch and feel' handcrafting
that is required to refit, align, adjust, reshape, bend, stretch,
twist and sculpt the components of the frame in order to personalize
the eyewear for maximum visual comfort and wear-ability. See
MORE POINTS TO PONDER
is no right or wrong way to dispense
eyewear. There is only the Patient's way.
Using the sense of touch the Optician can
know what the Patient is unable to express.
are the chances of today's eyewear consumers getting a
customized fitting of their prescription eyewear? If you
answered this question correctly, you know why they buy online.
Handcrafted multi-dimensional adjustments, including tactile,
'touch and feel' procedures
such as reshaping the temple ends to make direct
and full, caressing-without-pressing contact with the mastoid area behind the ears,
while simultaneously avoiding direct contact with the pressure-sensitive
ears, is one
of the single most important considerations for long-term
comfort and wear-ability.
is an art and craft. The highest level of customized
frame fitting, aligning, and sculpting, is achieved mostly
with handcrafting skill and the trained eye, along with the
aid of hand tools. Handcrafted multi-dimensional adjustments,
including tactile, hands-on, 'touch
and feel' procedures such as reshaping the temple ends
to make direct and full, caressing-without-pressing contact
with the mastoid area behind the ears, while simultaneously avoiding direct
contact with the pressure-sensitive ears, is one of the single
most important considerations for long-term comfort and wear-ability.
Full contact, without pressure, on the bridge of the nose
and on the skull BEHIND the ears, NOT ON THE EARS, are the
two primary means of frame support and restraint. The ears
act as only a 'stop' or 'last resort' means of restraint and
stability. See more 'Hands-on' details here.
See published articles by fellow ECPs.
CUSTOM FRAME FITTING
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
a successful multi-dimensional frame alignment and fitting
can be achieved only when the Dispenser 1) visually assesses
the eyewear in-place, on the face of the Patient, and 2) simultaneously
uses the sense of touch to determine any anomalies between the frame's temples and
the Patient's skull. In most cases, the Dispenser cannot remain
seated to accomplish this. The Dispenser must get up, and
get close to the face of the Patient, otherwise neither a
proper evaluation or fitting can occur. In other words, the
Dispenser must stand and lean over the seated Patient in order
to make the required observations at different angles to the
front and rear of the Patient's head. The fitting-adjustment
procedure itself also requires the removal and re-placement
of the eyewear directly on the Patient as many times as necessary,
and the entire evaluation and fitting process requires sufficient
time to execute properly. It should not be rushed.
there's no touch, there's no hold.
Temple-ends must fully contact the mastoid complex.
Temple-ends cannot hold an eyeglass frame in place for
long-term comfort if they do not make contact with the mastoid."
Patient deserves a sufficiently handcrafted,
multi-dimensional, personalized frame fitting, e.g.,
gaps and spaces are removed from between the frame's
temples and the skull behind the ears, in order to enhance
comfort, stability, and long-term wear-ability. Full contact
a light touch of the skull, NOT THE EARS, is the primary means
by which the frame should be held in place for long-term comfort.
temple-end is in out-of-the-box condition.
As such it makes little contact with this Patient's skull,
whereas the 'After' temple-end has been customized
with a handcrafted mastoid-dip and mastoid-wrap added.
It now fits the mastoid bone like a glove since it has been
shaped to make full, direct contact with this Patient's skull.
The customized temple-ends become invisible when worn
by the Patient and the resultant fit is extremely comfortable.
NOTE: This skill can not be learned via lectures or online. It is
acquired only by handcrafting the eyewear directly on the patient.
The manager of a nationwide retail optical dispensary
once advised a staff member who attempted to customize a
frame as seen above that they would be fired if they tried to
fit "another 'customer' with such an 'ugly looking' adjustment."
Never mind that the temple
ends look, feel, and fit like a glove.
Ophthalmic Dispensing practices are
'out-of-touch' with the comfort needs of the Patient."
are some industry observers who see the devolution of Ophthalmic
Dispensing as the result of an over zealous retail strategy
perpetrated by some industry members to eliminate any reliance
on competent Opticians in order to better manage their labor
costs and enhance their profits. But the Profession is mostly
the victim of the perpetual tension and struggle between opposing
market forces; the Company's need for control of inventory
and labor costs, and the Patient's desire for choice and comfort.
What many retailers don't understand is that giving the Consumer
more of what they want is best for everybody. The last century's
most successful entrepreneur, Sam Walton, taught that the
Company must always favor the Consumer, first.
Dispensing, within recent decades, has become so 'retail oriented'
and subsequently dehumanized to the point that some Patients
have been known to express a sense of surprise, even concern,
at a skilled Optician's use
of 'touch' while fitting their eyewear. This has occurred
to the extent that some 'old school' Opticians now feel the
necessity to request a Patient's permission before proceeding
with any critical and necessary Hands-on-the-Patient adjustments. See The Humanization
of The American Economy and Business.
can order dentures from a mail-order source because the
required precision and comfort is impossible without a hands-on
Hands-on skills are equally required to fit prescription glasses
and Dentists do not request permission to touch a Patient
since it is an obvious necessity, and a long accepted practice
to use their Hands-on
Skills. Sadly, Ophthalmic Dispensing has devolved for
such a period of time that the Dispenser's use of touch is
now no longer acceptable or even associated with the dispensing
of eyewear by some Patients. Unfortunately this has subsequently
led some Patients to turn to online
mail-order eyewear, their experience and-or logic being
that customized fitting of their prescription eyeglasses has
either been insufficient or it's unavailable.
Opticians are Eyewear Professionals. Opticianry
is ultimately defined by how well the eyewear makes
contact with the Patient, not by the number of Customers served.
For the truly skilled Optician, the standard of care must
customized design and hands-on fitting of eyewear on each
corrective eyeglasses that are assembled in an optical laboratory
are, as a final step in their inspection process, inverted
on a flat surface and made to fit squarely at the four points
of contact, ready-to-dispense, they are NOT ready-to-wear. Instead of assuming that newly made eyeglasses all require
at least some minimal adjustment and realignment, today's
unskilled eyewear merchants assume and-or hope, due to lack
of adequate training and tools, that they need no additional
alignment. They seem to apply the logic, "Well, the Patient
has chosen this frame, so it must fit them comfortably, and
the lab has already made their 'four point' adjustments, so
the glasses are good to go." This hands-off approach
is out-of-touch with the comfort needs of almost every Patient.
POINTS TO PONDER
What do we mean when we say, dispensers are 'out-of-touch,' regarding the
degradation of consumer services within the prescription eyewear industry?
We mean that the farther we keep ourselves away from person-to-person, hands-
on-the-patient contact, the less we are likely to deliver true service. A case in point
is a university study at Duke, which finds that golfers are much less likely to say it's
okay to physically move a ball four inches with their hands (hands-on) than they are
likely to say it's okay to nudge it with their club (out of touch)." Without appearing to
make too outrageous an extrapolation, our read is that the closer opticians get to a
patient, i.e., laying their hands directly
on the patient, the more responsibly they
will act in the interest of serving the patient's needs, i.e., the more removed they
are from point of service, the less likely they are to perform well. In other words,
successful dispensing of eyewear is directly related to the proximity of service.
'Four pointing' eyewear on a table is never a substitute for
custom fitting the frame directly on a person. For too many
ECPs the table has become the point of service, not the patient.
are fitting a person for comfort, not a table for square
or for pretty. Every person has different anomalies, and the area
behind their ears is not flat or straight." -- OpticiansForChange.com
customized fitting of eyewear involves more than just adjusting
piece or bending a temple. It has to include the reshaping,
twisting and artful sculpting of the frame components in order
to personalize the
eyewear. Anything less will most likely compromise the Patient's
and long term wear-ability. The difference between adjusting
and customizing is
what's different between today's eyewear merchants and yesterday's
must exercise multi-dimensional opticianry,
i.e., full Discovery, masterful Design, and touch
and feel Delivery of prescription eyewear."
Discovery, Design, and Delivery
dispensing requires the careful and thoughtful
process of Discovery, Design, and Delivery of eyewear
without bias concerning sales quotas, profit margin or
other subjective and unrelated considerations."
FULL DISCOVERY AND DISCLOSURE INTERVIEW
Some Refractionists, that is Optometrists
and Ophthalmologists, make entries on their prescriptions
such as "No-line Bifocals" or "Progressive
Lenses," both of which refer to a Progressive Addition
Lens or PAL. See below. Too many times this is a subjective entry on their part, which
is made in the absence of any discussion with the Patient, and minus any explanation to the Patient as to why a Progressive
Lens is better, or how the lens works, or what other options
are available. Of course, these points are all better left
to the Optician to give more complete coverage during a Lifestyle
Interview, but which too often never occurs. See
See Refraction Tutorial here.
any suggestions on the Doctor's prescription notwithstanding,
today's eyewear merchants promote No-line Bifocals without
any notion of whether the Patient's visual circumstances require
more practical alternatives. And many Dispensers assume that
a PAL is the Patient's informed choice since the reference
appears on the Doctor's Rx. This scenario all too often results
in an unsatisfactory outcome for all parties, and it manifests
by way of many unhappy Patients as well as high rates of unnecessary redos and-or refunds. See DispensingGuidelines.com. Also see 3D Dispensing.com.
CASE IN POINT
This lens guide promotes ONLY
Progressive Addition Lenses for ALL bifocal wearers.
OPTICIANS MUST TAKE THEIR TIME
deserve as much time as they need.
order to adequately fulfill the needs of the Patient,
the Optician must ask appropriate questions and be
forthcoming with sufficient details and explanations.
Patient is unique, and presents different visual needs. In
order for the Dispenser to recognize and fulfill these needs
an adequate lifestyle interview must occur whereby the Patient
discloses any pertinent details. In other words, the successful
design of eyewear requires that the Dispenser fully engage
the Patient in a full discovery and disclosure interview,
so that all aspects of the Patient's visual habits, vocational
and avocational, are disclosed. For example, a presbyopic aircraft mechanic working under an aircraft engine or a presbyopic
painter working on walls and ceilings, both of which require
a fixed upward view for extended durations, will appreciate
a Double D Multifocal (Double Bifocal) or even a Quadrafocal lens design. On the
other hand, a Progressive Addition Lens, though preferred
by a majority of Patients, or a regular bifocal, is most likely
to be an inadequate lens design under such working conditions. NOTE: A picture is worth a thousand words. Using the Patient's
Rx in a Trial Frame to demonstrate their visual experience at variable working
distances is extremely helpful to the Patient in determining
whether to acquire any of several multifocal lens designs
and-or extra pairs.
at the conclusion of a Comprehensive Lifestyle Interview,
can the Optician advise the Patient of the widest range of
lens designs, frame styles, and prices that most appropriately
fit the Patient's needs. And this should be done without bias
concerning sales quotas, profit margin or other subjective
considerations. This advice should also include the consideration
of multiple pairs and may include special lens types such
as extra-wide streetwear or occupational bifocals, trifocals,
PALs, sunwear, safety eyewear, or golfing and other athletic
Extra-wide Bifocal Extra-wide
a Patient goes to a Physician for medical treatment the Physician
first interviews the Patient to discover all relevant issues
before designing a treatment. Likewise, a Patient in need
of prescription eyewear requires a 'discovery interview' to
determine the design of their eyewear, especially the lenses.
proper and successful practice of the art and
craft of Ophthalmic Dispensing lies in the details."
TOUCH AND FEEL DELIVERY
Patients deserve a pleasant experience.
Patients deserve as much time as
deserve custom-fitted prescription eyewear.
deserve a fully personalized design and fitting of their eyewear. The fact that the frame lies on a flat surface squarely should
never preclude fitting the frame directly on the Patient.
This becomes obvious when after fitting a Patient with facial
anomalies, the frame no longer fits squarely on a flat surface. Facial structure,
the positioning of each eye and ear, the mastoid-contour (see
photo) behind each ear, all of these differ with each
person. The proper and successful practice of the art and
craft of Ophthalmic Dispensing "lies in the details."
example, some Patients have one EYE positioned higher than
the other. Most of these Patients are unaware of this condition.
How many Dispensers are aware of this somewhat common disparity?
How many Dispensers compensate for this anomaly in their multi-focal
lens design by vertically offsetting the respective reading
segment along with an appropriate advisory to the Patient?
Can you spot the facial asymmetry in these photos?
Anomalies can affect the design of the frame and lenses.
Facial asymmetries often translate into ear and skull anomalies about
which a skilled Optician should advise the patient, and design their eyewear.
*SPECIAL NOTE: Multi-focal
lenses are routinely ordered today with the reading portion placed at
matching heights because vertically-equal eye symmetry is
assumed to be the norm and-or "it looks better" when the segments can be observed as vertically and horizontally
equidistant, and because vertical eye asymmetry is not considered
as a design factor, even though its consideration is important
for the Patient's visual balance and comfort at the near and
intermediate points. In fact, eyewear merchants don't allow
for any disparate bifocal segment height or seg inset in their
lens design, even in their software. Skilled Opticians however, compensate for the Patient's structural disparities by way of frame and lens designs and-or handcrafted frame adjustments.
eyecare industry needs to strike a better
balance between sales goals and health care delivery.
The industry needs to practice giving more and taking less."
Patient's eyewear can be considered to be successfully designed
and dispensed only after, 1) an in-depth, Full Discovery Lifestyle
Interview by the Optician occurs, 2) an in-place, on-the-face
eyewear assessment is made, i.e., a comprehensive frame and
lens design occurs without bias as to style and-or profit
margin (honesty is always the best policy) by the Optician,
3) the optical laboratory processing of the eyewear is accurately
completed, 4) all elements of the eyewear are inspected for
accuracy and validated by the Optician, and 5) all relevant Gross Frame Alignment
and any Subtle Frame Adjustments are applied by the Optician upon delivery
of the eyewear to the Patient using the sense
of touch. See the Final
Patient's face and head are not uniformly smooth, flat,
one-dimensional surfaces. See Facial Asymmetry.
with the decades-long corporate expansion of retail outlets,
the marriage of eyewear to fashion, the expanded marketing
of multiple pairs, the proliferation of lens types, add-ons,
and frame materials, the dawn of the computer age and the
resultant visual issues, the unfortunate advent of mail order contact lenses and eyeglasses, the scarcity of experienced practitioner-teacher
Professionals with hands-on, in-place, on-the-face skills,
together with more and more Dispenser training occurring online,
and state licensing boards, some of which are absent adequately
trained members, a steady decline in the art of fitting
eyewear with applied Hands-on-the-Patient assessment and
fitting skills has occurred almost to the point of its disappearance. These skills now reside mostly in the hands of a dwindling
number of skilled Opticians.
HOW WE GOT HERE
Some Contributing Factors
the first half of the 20th century the American Optical Company
and Bausch and Lomb, dominated and actually monopolized almost
all of the Ophthalmic Manufacturing, Wholesale Laboratory,
and Retail Dispensing Industry. Most dispensing skills were
literally and figuratively in the hands of AO and B&L
Laboratory-Dispensing Opticians. After the government anti-trust
break-up of AO and B&L in the early 1960's, which separated
their manufacturing and laboratory operations from any dispensing
activities, the Ophthalmic Industry began to take the form
we see today.
to their break-up, AO and B&L dispensed eyewear directly
to the public in what the government ruled was a monopolistic
business, which exclusively served their wholesale laboratory
clients, i.e., Opticians, Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and
other Dispensers. After the break-up, the retail dispensary
paradigm began to shift from one of Patient care, with the
focus on Health and
Wellness to that of merchandising. Thus, began the devolution
from Hands-on-the-Patient, 'healing' related, ophthalmic dispensing
to today's highly discounted, dehumanized, over-the-counter,
ready-made, hands-off merchandising. As a result, latter day
Dispensers do not easily relate to the practice of hands-on
dispensing nor does the retail optical industry as a whole.
See published articles by fellow ECPs.
MORE POINTS TO PONDER
optical dispensary is a health and wellness facility where
Dispensing, conscientious Discovery, Design,
of prescription eyewear, and where the Patient's needs always
optical outlets are 'ready-to-wear' stores where
eyewear merchants sell 'one-size-fits-all' merchandise.
This environment has prostituted the practice of Opticianry.
the over 67,000 Opticians designing, manufacturing
and dispensing eyewear - less than half have formal
certification or licensure." -- U.S. Department of
THE OPHTHALMIC INDUSTRY'S ROLE
IN THE DECLINE OF THE INDUSTRY
ophthalmic industry itself however, accelerated the decline
in quality of services. For example, in the years preceding
the 1970's, frames were made in a multitude of sizes, i.e.,
eye sizes, bridge sizes and numerous temple length combinations,
in order to satisfy the diverse anatomical needs of Patients.
(Some Patients require disparate temple lengths, for instance.)
Since then, Ophthalmic Manufacturers have gradually eliminated
multiple sizes. This has resulted in the decline of the quality
of ophthalmic services. Now, most frame styles come in one
or two sizes at most. As a consequence we see many Patients
with ill-fitting prescription eyewear to wit it is now even
more important for Opticians to be skilled in the art of hand
craftsmanship, i.e., the customized fitting of frames in order
to accommodate the absence of variable sizes. Instead, each
succeeding generation of Opticians is less skilled, and the
downward spiral of decline appears to continue unabated.
today's frame manufacturers, which are now based mostly overseas,
produce frame materials that are inferior to the products
of yesteryears when gold filled metal, for instance, was the
dominant material. Many of the plastics and metals used today
are too brittle and do not respond well to heat or bending.
Many of today's frames are not capable of being reshaped or
adjusted quickly and easily, such as changing the length of
temples or applying mastoid-fitting bends.
ophthalmic lens manufacturers no longer provide experiential
visual aids to Opticians such as Progressive Addition Lens
Demonstrator Kits whereby a Patient can actually experience
the advantages and disadvantages of advanced design PAL's
as they apply to their specific needs before finalizing their
choice of lenses.
indicator of the devolution of Dispensing Opticianry due mostly
to the decline in hands-on dispensing skills, is the long-term
trend in the design of dispensing tables to wit Opticians
can just barely reach a Patient. The design seen in most dispensaries
today actually discourages Optician-Patient contact since
the proximity of the Patient to the Optician is well beyond
arms length. Today's Opticians are unfamiliar with the Optician-friendly
tables of yesteryears, which positioned the Optician and Patient
within easy reach and which affords the easier performance
of custom, hands-on fitting. Today, as a result, hands-on
Opticians must stretch and strain or circumvent the use of
the offending table altogether in order to do their thing.
NOTE: Optical industry sources claim today that there are approximately
148 million eyeglass wearers and 196 million sunglass wearers
in the United States. Some are part-time wearers but many
are all-day prescription wearers who are unable to acquire
adequate sizing of frames and-or proper adjustments. And all
of them deserve properly designed lenses and the customized
fitting of their frames.
overly zealous emphasis on sales goals has
caused the current touch-free, dehumanized delivery of
eyewear, and the subsequent demise of old fashioned
hands-on, in-place, on-the-face dispensing skills."
See The Humanization of
The American Economy.
Important tools of the trade along with the knowledge of their
use have disappeared due to the industry's shift away from
sufficient emphasis on a lifestyle interview, relevant eyewear
design, and hands-on, in-place, on-the-face dispensing-delivery
skills. For instance, how many latter day Dispensers know
how to lengthen or shorten and refit a plastic covered, metal
temple end piece? How many have seen or even heard of numerous
dispensing aids such as the
distometer, hot salt or bead pots, zyl-bridge stretching
or shrinking pliers, specially designed self-closing
tweezers, nose pad removal pliers and Progressive Addition
Lens demo kits?
many present-day Dispensing Opticians have any knowledge of,
or experience with the custom designing of presbyopic golfers' glasses, which feature bifocal segments designed
to the golfer's specifications, in either one or both lenses,
which are placed anywhere the Patient prefers, for the purpose
of avoiding interference while aiming their golf shots?
many current Dispensers are aware of the round segment bifocal,
which is scarcely used anymore, but remains a first choice
transitional lens design for some first-time, hard-to-fit,
prospective Progressive Addition Lens wearers due to its ease
of adaptation along with its cosmetic advantage of having
a nearly invisible segment? (Albeit the sales leader for today's presbyopic Patient, the PAL may NOT be the first or ONLY lens of choice
for these Patients.)
what about the trifocal lens,
which is no longer considered an alternative to the PAL by
many latter-day Dispensers because of its visible segment?
Even when Patients are less concerned with the vanity aspect
of the 'no-line' feature as opposed to the superior functionality
that a trifocal offers over the PAL or Computer Continuum
lens, in some visually challenging environments especially,
the PAL is too often the only option offered to them. (Essilor used to make a Progressive Lens Demonstrator kit years ago. This demonstrator kit was a significant aid to consumers and a real advantage to all dispensers in the marketing of PALs. Lens manufacturers will hopefully make these kits available again.)
Progressive Addition Lens (PAL)
A multifocal lens whose corrective powers change
progressively throughout the lens. Each area of correction
is blended invisibly to the next, so these lenses do not have
the lines typically associated with bifocals or trifocals.
most “natural” vision for all distances: near,
far, and intermediate.
UNSKILLED AND UNCHECKED
RETAIL OPTICAL MANAGERS
today we see too many Retail
Managers who are experienced in marketing but under-skilled
in the art and science of Opticianry. Many of them are too
fixated on policies and procedures and-or overly zealous for
sales to the point of obstructing the delivery of acceptable
ophthalmic services. (Remember the AIG debacle where the overreach
for profits and bonuses caused an eventual financial calamity?) For example, check out the subject of prescription wrap-around
eyewear and the expertise required to fit this type of eyewear
properly. Click here.
always follows good service.
Any action, which genuinely favors the
Patient, always improves the bottom line.
We need to focus on caring for Patients."
the untrained optical retail Manager who obsessively pushes
a Dispenser for higher production of high-dollar sales, e.g.,
the universal promotion of high-end and more expensive Progressive,
"No-line" Lenses, regardless of their demonstrable
need, thereby affords less occasions for adequate eyewear design time and full
consideration of the Patient's needs. At the same time inexperienced Managers unrealistically
demand that customer satisfaction be maintained and minimal redos or refunds be
consumers into Progressive Addition Lenses without
full discovery is akin to the now criticized and over zealous
medical practices of circumcision and tonsillectomy."
a result of these conflicted goals, Dispensers are discouraged
from conducting the appropriate Patient interviews. This results
in more Patients becoming dissatisfied, while generating more
returns, redos or refunds,
which leads to more frustrated Managers and Dispensers. It's
as if nobody can figure out that this unfortunate cycle, along
with its adverse karmic impact on the bottom line, will end
only when the Patient's genuine needs are considered and fulfilled. See The Humanization of The
serve is to succeed. When it comes to dispensing eyewear,
it is not possible to provide the consumer with too much service."
after several decades of dealing with this conflicted and
downward spiral, with its resulting focus away from previous
generations' people friendly, 'take
your time,' hands-on practice of dispensing to today's
ready-made, one-size-fits-all, 'get them in, and get them
out' attitude, and with bottom-line sales the industries'
main goal in spite of much hype to the contrary, a litany
of complaints from Patients, such as the following, are being
heard with ever increasing frequency.
just handed me my glasses and asked me, "How do they
didn't take the time to fit my glasses."
just told me to bend down and shake my head to see if they
fit okay, but they never adjusted my glasses."
told him my new glasses looked crooked and then he asked me
what I wanted him to do about it."
was told that I needed a progressive no-line bifocal instead
of a regular bifocal, but they didn't explain why, or what
the difference would be. Now, at work, I have to raise my
head and bend my neck way back in order to see my computer
monitor. These progressive lenses don't work for me. I want
my money back."
optical dispensing has declined to the point that many consumers
over the years have developed an attitude whereby they no
longer have any expectation that their prescription eyewear
can ever be fitted comfortably. Some consumers are even heard
to express a sense of dread in making an eyewear purchase.
And some consumers even describe their experience as akin to
buying a new or used car, i.e., getting the big sales pitch,
and then paying for the promised or implied high quality of
service, none of which is received. Is it any wonder consumers are abandoning optical dispensaries for the convenience of the Internet for their prescription eyewear?
Special Comment: The following narrative is from 'Your Money', in the December, 2011 issue of the monthly 'AARP Bulletin'.
It demonstrates the success of today's online eyewear merchants
in providing dehumanized delivery of eyewear, and the failure
of today's ECPs to provide old fashioned, hands-on-the-patient
dispensing services to the public as was practiced in yesteryears.
And it explains why many of today's Opticians URGENTLY need
remedial training in the fine art and craft of 'once-upon-a-time'
customized frame-fitting techniques, without which we can
say 'Goodbye!' to most of today's brick-and-mortar dispensaries,
and fairly soon.
FOR LESS - Busting your budget on eyeglasses? Considering buying
your next pair online? Web-based merchants may offer substantial
discounts over real-world shops. And some sites let you do
virtual try-ons: You upload a photo of yourself, and the site
simulates what you'd look like in different frames. You'll
need your prescription and Pupillary Distance (PD) from an
eye exam, plus frame size (check the inside of an old pair).
Online opticians include ___________.com, ___________.com,
and ___________.com." --
WARNING: Before buying glasses online, see GlassesOnlineWarning.com.
See also Is buying glasses online a good idea?