What You Need to Know About Other Uses for Computer Lenses

By Jon Torrey
One of the key ways labs support their ECP accounts is by being a technology and product resource – like the Google homepage, just waiting for an account to ask “what lens do you recommend for this…?” The category of lenses that offers perhaps the greatest opportunities for the prepared lab is that category known as “computer” or “near variable focus (NVF)” lenses. While most manufacturers market these lenses almost exclusively for computer and general office use, as a group they provide visual benefits that apply to many disparate activities. Since few ECPs have really learned how to fit and dispense NVF lenses for their “primary” use with computers in the office, a reasonable question for the lab to ask is “Should we even discuss alternate uses for NVF lenses until the ECP has become fully comfortable using them?” The short answer is, absolutely yes. Given the differences between NVF lenses and general-purpose progressives, there is a learning curve involved. Many ECPs have tried NVF lenses in the past and experienced problems with ordering or fitting. So any compelling reason we can give the ECP to climb the learning curve and see the benefits is worthwhile. Specific Uses Many of you probably know that NVF lenses offer a significant improvement in comfort and visual flexibility while at a computer. The same features that help in computer viewing – wider intermediate corridor, correct power at the fitting cross, ability to see beyond the computer distance – all apply to other tasks. Look around your lab and you’ll see a number of activities that are primarily intermediate and near-vision related: order entry, inspection, operating generators and edgers, and stocking lenses in the warehouse. It’s not a stretch to say everyone in your lab who is currently wearing bifocals or progressives would benefit from a pair of NVF lenses! Now think about the things you or your family do outside work. Do you... play music? Work on cars? Do remodeling? Play Texas Hold-em? Consider yourself a serious cook? Anyone doing these activities in a general purpose PAL will immediately appreciate the wide intermediate and near areas found in a NVF lens. No more searching for the right power or tipping your head back to see clearly at three or four feet. Educating Accounts The next step of course is sharing this information with accounts, and there are many ways to accomplish this. First, reread the previous two paragraphs, and get everyone in your lab who is a candidate wearing NVF lenses. Obviously your salespeople need to be trained on how NVF lenses are fit and how they function, and include information on these lenses in every sales call (it will help their AR numbers as well). Your customer service people should also become fully versed, so they can suggest them to accounts whenever the opportunity arises. Clarify the fitting requirements of the lenses you offer, so your accounts will have a simple, clear set of directions when they go to order NVF lenses from your lab. Ask your NVF lens suppliers for any information they can give you to distribute to your accounts. In addition, consider a package promotion and offer a discount on NVF lenses when ordered along with your lab’s PAL of choice. If you make NVF lenses easy to order, and remind your accounts about them whenever possible, they will use them and see how much their patients appreciate their virtues. Even though they are tremendous for computer use – don’t limit them to that. Give your accounts new ideas on how to use them. Put a number of these simple steps together, and NVF lenses will become a much bigger part of your lab business – just as they should be. Jon Torrey is the president of PRIO Corporation, makers of NVF lenses and leaders in the computer vision care market. He can be reached at jont@prio.com

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August/September LabTalk 2017