"Opticianry is defined by how well the eyewear makes contact with the patient.
Opticians only provide healthcare, i.e., eyewear.
What is it that Dentists, Manicurists, Hairstylists and Opticians
time to end the lecture-only training of Opticians.
Capitalists in this the Age of Aquarius have it all backwards.
Opticians are Eyewear Professionals. Opticianry
The expert handcrafting of eyewear involves more than just adjusting
Dentists, Manicurists and Hairstylists make direct, tactile, contact with
Serve Service First
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.
Restoring Balance Between Serving And Selling
are vision experts who serve Patients with
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.
of today's Retail Optical Execs and Managers have
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
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.
CHOOSE A OR B BEFORE PROCEEDING
(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.
THE OPHTHALMIC INDUSTRY'S ROLE IN THE DECLINE OF SERVICES
"Opticians must assume responsibility for loss of market share.
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.
overly zealous emphasis on sales goals has
HAND TOOL TRAINING AND OTHER SOLUTIONS
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.)
Progressive Addition Lens (PAL)
UNSKILLED AND UNCHECKED MANAGERS
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.
always follows good service.
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.
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.
serve is to succeed. When it comes to dispensing eyewear,
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.
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." --
"Man's purpose is to serve. Service is an intrinsic value, not a value
HANDS ON THE PATIENT
Books, lectures and tests can take an Optician's skills only so far.
"Handcrafted frame fitting, i.e., touch and feel, hands-on dispensing,
HANDS ON THE PATIENT
WORKSHOP TRAINING AVAILABLE
Board of Opticianry accredited and Florida
State Board approved CE hours
ARE YOU A GENUINE OPTICIAN OR
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