Educating Staff on Online Glasses Versus What We Offer
Recently a staff member came back to me to hand off a patient. She said that the patient asked if we sold Warby Parker glasses and that staff member told the patient that we could get Warby Parker glasses for her if we didn’t already have them (because she was trying to be in service to the patient). This alerted me to the fact that we need to educate our staff on the difference between online glasses and what we sell here at our practice.
When purchasing online, patients get to create their own lens options without instruction from an optician. The patients don't always understand the options they are choosing and being online shoppers, they are typically price-oriented patients that will err on the side of less is more. Without having an optician to show them why something might be important, i.e. high index, anti-glare coatings etc. patients may not get what they are expecting to receive in terms of quality, longevity and/or wearability.
Quality of Frames/Lenses
Our practice has really strived to amp up the quality of everything we sell. We are working with companies that allow us the freedom to change options, order parts and enable us to say “yes,” more! With online glasses, you can never really be sure just what type of quality you’re getting. Even if you typically order a polycarbonate lens from a practice like ours, you can never quite know if the polycarbonate you order online is the same quality. Many labs offer similar products at competitive prices and lesser quality to ensure that some opticals can give their patients 2 for $39 and still make a profit. There is a decisive difference between progressive lenses especially, and though the lens information may read, “wider channel,” or “premium progressive,” those terms are subjective and not measurable- meaning it may be misleading.
Frame production techniques are also more complex than one might imagine; a spring hinge included in the initial design can range from $0.50 to $5.00, and just like every component, the design team must balance costs, shortcuts and quality to deliver the product at a price the patient will pay and where they still make a profit. Because we work with reputable, established brands, an amazing local lab and insurance plans that pay premiums for quality frame and lens options, our patients know they can depend on the glasses they get from us.
Sizing and Adjustments
As an optician, I understand how important fit is in each pair of glasses I sell. Sometimes the OD will request certain variations from my typical measurements to best fit with the patient’s needs and that would be highly unlikely for the patient’s printed RX to have that referenced (because it would be saved under communications of Dr. notes). In terms the average patient, some patients hold their head a little differently based on height or the activity for which the glasses were intended to be used, for example; this will call for different measurements where I might still take the OC/seg measurement but I would raise or drop it to custom fit the lenses for the patient’s needs. Because not every average Joe off the streets understands the optics/physics that go into creating the perfect lens for someone, it’s best to trust opticians for these types of measurements and lens decisions.
We strive to create the best experience visually for our patients, and because we have opticians that personalize every lens for every patient we are able to fit the frames, lens details and measurements to the exact needs of the patient. We work closely with the Optometrists at our practice to ensure that each patient has “wow” moment when they put on their eyewear for the first time (and every time after that). We also follow up after we dispense the glasses to make sure the patient is happy with all aspects of their new glasses, as well as providing lifelong adjustments, question-answering and free coffee/cat stories.