What Else

I used to go to an old fashioned butcher when I worked in a different town. It was owned by two Polish brothers, and they had some incredible kielbasa! I would go in and order the kielbasa, and whoever took my order always had the same response after wrapping it: “And what else”? I would usually order an additional item or two, such as spicy meat sticks or whatever may have been on special. What was their response after I ordered the next item? “And what else”? They would keep asking until I wouldn’t order anything more.

I bring that up because about a decade ago, I was working with a multi-location Ophthalmology practice and we came up with an experiment for their optical dispensary. We had a friend of the practice manager who was a successful attorney come in for an eye exam, and we instructed him to buy as many pairs of glasses as the opticians would sell him. He could not say “no

He was presbyopic, spent a lot of time on the computer, owned a sailboat, and read a lot. After the exam, the attorney was taken to the dispensary for eyewear. How many pairs of glasses were recommended by the opticians? A pair of polarized sunglasses for sailing? A pair of computer glasses for screen time and reading? Several different colors to accessorize his wardrobe for court appearances?

He was offered ONE pair of glasses.

This exercise was then used as an educational opportunity. How many patients were walking out without eyewear that would make their lives better? Without even thinking of the profitability of the practice, a simple focus on what eyewear would improve the lives of the patients was put in place. The practice began to offer the options that would give the patients benefits to their lifestyles. In the case of the attorney, the obvious options are listed above. Of course the patient does not have to buy any of the options, but it is the responsibility of the practice to at least honor the needs of the patient by offering the products and services that will make their lives better.

One of the sections of the Optometric Oath is as follows:
“I will advise my patients fully and honestly of all which may serve to restore, maintain or enhance their vision and general health”.

Polarized lenses enhance vision when on the water, when driving on the highway, etc. Computer lenses enhance vision for any near area tasks such as screen time and reading. There are a ton of other specialty lens products that enhance vision for specific tasks. The key is knowing how the patient uses their eyes in their daily lifestyle activities, and offering solutions for their needs.

Of course it is easier to just dispense one pair. But that is not in the best interest of the patient, or the practice. And with so many great lens and frame products for differing lifestyle activities, why limit your patients’ visual comfort and performance?