Serving Selling
Online Training Course
For Eyewear Professionals

This is the Age of Service.
When we serve first, profit follows.
Service is those human actions, which
contribute to the well-being of others, i.e.,
anything we do to lighten somebody's load.

"Opticianry is defined by how well the eyewear makes contact with the patient.
All Opticianry is local. Eyewear consumers need and deserve the following:
a) Optician-assisted, in-depth lifestyle interview;
b) Optician-assisted, design and selection;
c) Handcrafted, form-fitting eyewear;
d) Free lifetime adjustments and
minor repair services, none of
which are available online."
Dispensing Guidelines

Success always follows good service.
Any action, which genuinely favors the
Patient, always improves the bottom line.
We need to focus on caring for our Patients.
See The Humanization of Our Economy.

Opticians only provide healthcare, i.e., eyewear.
Eyeglass merchants only sell eye apparel.

Consumers deserve a pleasant experience.
Consumers deserve as much time as they need.
Consumers deserve handcrafted prescription eyewear.

Brick-and-mortar store eyewear purchases are down.
Internet purchases are up. How did this happen?
(See AARP's 'Your Money,' December, 2011.)

What is it that Dentists, Manicurists, Hairstylists and Opticians
all have in common? They all have to make personal, direct,
tactile, contact with consumers while dispensing services.
When Opticians do not touch the consumer at the time
they dispense their eyewear, they're acting more as
unskilled eyeglass merchants than as Opticians.

It's time to end the lecture-only training of Opticians.
It's time for Opticians to get handcrafted eyewear training
in order to re-
humanize the dispensing of prescription eyewear,
thereby reducing the outsourcing of the Rx to Web-based providers.

Capitalists in this the Age of Aquarius have it all backwards.
The paradigm for this Age is, 'Serve the consumer first and
profit follows.' Service trumps the dollar. Those who
fail to first serve the Consumer will fail to profit.

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.
Therefore, a conscious, precise, and personalized process of frame
selection, lens design, and handcrafted form-fitting is required. In
too many cases an obsession with sales goals overrides the Optician's
mission of providing professional healthcare, whereby the personalized,
handcrafting of eyewear is given only the most minor consideration, if any.

The expert handcrafting of eyewear involves more than just adjusting a nose
piece or bending a temple. It has to include the reshaping, bending, stretching,
twisting and artful sculpting of the frame components in order to personalize the
eyewear. Anything less will most likely compromise the Patient's visual comfort
and long term wearability. The difference between adjusting and form-fitting is
what's different between today's eyewear merchants and yesterday's Opticians.

Dentists, Manicurists and Hairstylists make direct, tactile, contact with
the consumer. Likewise, Opticians must make direct contact with the Patient.
Hands on the Patient Opticians, can determine by sense of touch how a frame
feels even in lieu of ever asking the Patient. Only unskilled eyeglass merchants
routinely hand over prescription eyewear with little or no hands-on assessment,
nor the appropriate touch and feel required to handcraft and form-fit the eyewear.

Opticians Serve Service First
Service is an intrinsic value, not a value to be added.
Opticians need to be service driven, not sales driven.
When service comes first, sales inevitably follow.


The opinions and conclusions that follow regarding the practice of dispensing prescription eyewear in America are based first, on our (Opticians For Change) direct observations and experience, and second, on the first hand testimonials of Patients with whom we have had the opportunity of serving. And they are presented optimistically with the belief that owners and managers, whether they are private practitioners or retailers, will resonate and be inspired and motivated to make appropriate changes to their business model in order to advance the status of Opticianry as a profession while enhancing their other objectives.

Serving Selling

Restoring Balance Between Serving And Selling

"Opticians are vision experts who serve Patients with
comprehensive vision solutions, not mere merchants
who sell eyeglasses and contact lenses to customers."

This Serving vs Selling course, in addition to offering an educational experience to Ophthalmic Dispensers, is intended to be a consumer advisory and industry critique, as well as a primer and a plea to Optical Retailers who have failed to recognize or who have chosen to ignore the need for a) the resurgence of Hands-on Assessment in the design and dispensing of prescription eyewear; b) the resurgence of the Lifestyle Interview in the training of Opticians, these elements being increasingly absent in today's Ophthalmic Health and Wellness delivery system; c) the resolution of the conflicted relationship, which has subsequently developed between Professional Opticians and many Retail Managers; d) the elimination of the retail practices, including online prescription eyeglass marketing, that have led to a steep and steady decline in the eyewear design process, and the delivery of handcrafted custom fitted eyewear; and e) practical remedies, including Handcrafted Frame Fitting Workshops. See OpticianryReview.com. See Dispensing Guidelines. See OpticiansForThePeople.com.


Many of today's Retail Optical Execs and Managers have
no experience in Opticianry or Ophthalmic Dispensing. In one
organization, only 1 of 43 Regional Managers is an Optician. You
can imagine what adverse impact this practice alone must have. In
contrast, the CEO of Walgreens Drugs is a Registered Pharmacist.

In addition, Serving vs Selling is presented with the hope of stimulating meaningful dialogue among ophthalmic industry leaders, private practitioners, and retailers especially, with the idea of providing more comprehensive and ongoing practical training, especially for Managers and Opticians; training that goes beyond the usual on-the-job, learn-as-you-go training, reviewing testimonials and episodes of prowess in selling, or answering an array of test questions that have more to do with sales goals and policy issues than they do with everyday Practical Dispensing; quality-over-quantity training that focuses on one-on-one, Dispenser-Patient Interview exercises, and especially the practical application of hands-on, in-place, on the face prescription eyewear assessment, bias-free design, and handcrafted, form-fitted eyewear skills. Note:If you are a Practitioner who needs additional training or consultation, or you need assistance in order to regain market share and improve the profitability of your practice, please visit OpticalWorkshops.com and DispensingGuidelines.com, then click, or call Opticians For Change at 800-528-0413 Ext. 354 to discuss and-or arrange a Workshop session for your staff.

"For most consumers today, the handcrafted form-fitting of eyewear by
a skilled, Hands on the Patient Optician is an unfamiliar experience."

This discourse is also meant to encourage consumers to become more vocal in demanding higher standards of practice, and more personalized care in the delivery of prescription eyewear and services. See Guide to Optical Terms.


(A) Serving vs Selling is an in-depth look at what many see as the decline of the ophthalmic dispensing industry over the past few decades and the remedies. Those who are interested in examining the conflicted relationship between Serving and Selling, begin here.

(B) Handcrafted Frame Fitting is more of a challenge and includes a 50-Question Knowledge Test. If you wish to move on to a back-to-basics and more technical course, begin here.


"Opticians must assume responsibility for loss of market share.
Our gradual drift from hands-on services over several decades is
what has contributed directly to our loss of market share, today. We
can't be any more disconnected from hands-on service than the Internet.
The consumer didn't demand or cause this outcome. Opticians abdicated
their direct connection, vis-a-vis insufficient form-fitting eyewear training.
Opticians traded away direct, personal contact as providers of health care
services to PATIENTS for marketing merchandise to CUSTOMERS. Our focus is
now more on Selling than it is on Serving. Opticians must regain the lost balance.
The future of Opticianry is quite literally and figuratively in the hands of Opticians.
It's incumbent on those skilled Opticians who know to teach those who do not know.
And it is just as equally incumbent on those who do not know to surrender their ego."

The 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 even require disparate temple lengths, i.e., one temple longer than the other, 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 form-fitting of frames in order to accommodate the absence of variable sizes. Instead, each succeeding generation of Opticians is under trained and less skilled, and the decline continues unabated. (Get custom made frames for hard-to-fit patients here.)

Furthermore, 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 unresponsive to heat or bending. Many of today's frames are not capable of being reshaped or adjusted quickly and easily, e.g., changing the length of temples or applying form-fitting mastoid bends.

And 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, especially today with so many lens choices on the market.

Another indicator of the devolution of Dispensing Opticianry due mostly to the decline in hands-on, handcrafted, form-fitting 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, e.g., taking a pupillometer reading can be a real challenge. 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, handcrafted form-fitting of eyewear. Today, as a result, skilled 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. Of course, 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 handcrafted, form-fitting eyewear.

"An overly zealous emphasis on sales goals has
caused the current touch-free, dehumanized delivery of
eyewear, and the subsequent demise of old fashioned
handcrafted, in-place, on-the-face, form-fitting 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, handcrafted, on-the-face, form-fitting 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-bead frame warmers, zyl bridge stretching or shrinking pliers, specially designed self-closing tweezers, bridge stretching pliers, nose pad removal pliers, Progressive Addition Lens demo kits, and the trial frame and lenses used for the confirmation of the Rx and the demonstration of custom or occupational lens designs?

How many present-day Dispensers 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?

How 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 should NOT be the first or ONLY lens of choice for these Patients. Here's where the full discovery life style interview comes in.)

And 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 consumers. (Essilor used to make a Progressive Lens Demonstrator kit years ago. See below.* This PAL demonstrator kit is a significant visual aid to consumers, and a real advantage to all dispensers in the marketing of PALs. Lens manufacturers will hopefully make these kits available, again.)


*Essilor PAL Demo Kit

The 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 and afford
the most “natural” vision at all distances: near, far, and intermediate.


Unfortunately, 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 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. Click here.

"Success always follows good service.
Any action, which genuinely favors the
Patient, always improves the bottom line.
Opticians need to focus on caring for Patients."

Furthermore, 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 customer satisfaction be maintained along with minimal numbers of remakes or refunds.

"Pushing consumers into Progressive Addition Lenses without
full discovery is akin to the now criticized and over zealous
medical practices of circumcision and tonsillectomy."

As 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, remakes 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 American Economy.

"To serve is to succeed. When it comes to dispensing eyewear,
it is not possible to provide the consumer with too much service."

Now, 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 handcrafted form-fitting 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.

They just handed me my glasses and asked me, "How do they feel?"

She didn't take the time to fit my glasses."

They just told me to bend down and shake my head to see if they fit okay, but they never adjusted my glasses."

I told him my new glasses looked crooked and then he asked me what I wanted him to do about it."

I 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."

Sadly, 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 form-fitting 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' handcrafted, customized frame-fitting techniques, without which we can say 'Goodbye!' to most of today's brick-and-mortar dispensaries, and relatively soon.

*"GLASSES 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.

"Man's purpose is to serve. Service is an intrinsic value, not a value
to be added. Those institutions that are of the Piscean Age whereby
their success has been measured by money must now adopt the
Aquarian Age paradigm, 'To serve is to succeed,' or soon disappear."




Books, lectures and tests can take an Optician's skills only so far.

It is time for touch-and-feel, Hands on the Patient training.
Only one on one craftsmanship training provides this.
Craftsmanship cannot be learned virtually.

"Handcrafted frame fitting, i.e., touch and feel, hands-on dispensing,
cannot be outsourced to lectures or virtual sources. It is an art form,
which requires direct and multi-dimensional contact with the patient."

"Opticianry is defined by how well the eyewear fits the patient."

American Board of Opticianry accredited and Florida State Board approved CE hours
for Intermediate and Advanced Level Opticians in Handcrafted Frame Fitting are
currently being offered under the sponsorship of POF, the Professional Opticians of
Florida. Click or Call 855-410-2700
to arrange for a Training Session.





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