SPECIALTY LENSES: A GOLDMINE OF OPPORTUNITY

By Julie Bos
Perhaps you’re not interested in increasing your profit margins. Maybe you’ve already got plenty of loyal clients. Perhaps business growth isn’t among your top priorities for 2012. If so, feel free to stop reading. But if you’re intrigued by the notions of growth and profitability, it may be time to take a closer look at an often-ignored market niche, the growth-inducing and profit-building world of specialty lenses.

Not convinced? Consider these facts.

Reason #1:

Specialty lenses are a great way to differentiate your lab from competitors. According to Jon Torrey, president of Morex Vision in Dallas, Texas, “Lots of labs can produce good lenses and provide good service for basic product categories; but specialty lenses are an opportunity for your lab staff to really build loyalty among your customers—by being the resident experts when a doctor or optician needs to help a patient who requires multiple pairs.”

Reason #2:

Specialty lenses can build a barrier-to-entry for competitive labs seeking to steal your accounts.If your customers are routinely using your lab for specialty products, they will be much more reluctant to switch to another lab offering “me-too” products or nothing but a lower price.

Reason #3:

Specialty lenses can be highly profitable. “If done right, specialty lenses can add 25-30 percent to your basic core lens sales,” said Steve Sutherlin, president of Sutherlin Optical in Kansas City, Mo.

“I look at the added margins to the lab as a bonus. The real value occurs when our partner ECPs look like heroes because they have recommended products that really deliver on the promise stated in their optometric oath—to ‘advise my patients fully of all which may…restore, maintain or enhance their vision.’ Those patients then become evangelists for that practice—and that’s advertising money can’t buy.”

Reason #4:

Specialty lenses are a great way to keep your staff excited and on their toes. “Let’s face it. Producing -3.00 single-vision lenses all day can become routine,” said Torrey. “But helping an ECP account really understand how to fit, dispense and educate a patient on the first pair of intermediate lenses they may have ever seen can be challenging—and therefore more satisfying and rewarding for your staff.”

Reason #5:

Offering specialty lenses reinforces your role as a trusted expert and advisor. While there are certain trends—like 3D lenses—that get a lot of buzz; there is still tremendous potential being overlooked every day in specialty lens categories that have been around a while, such as computer lenses, polarized sun, driving lenses, dedicated sports glasses and safety eyewear for home use. Most doctors and opticians still need a lot of help with these lenses—and the lab that can make that ECP an expert in the eyes of their patient will build a lot of good will.

JUMP-START YOUR GROWTH WITH THESE SPECIALTY LENSES

Augen Optics Trinity Spacia

Product Overview: Modern lifestyles depend so heavily on technology that visual demands go far beyond merely using a computer. Technology today encompasses a myriad of devices that most people can’t do without, such as smart phones, iPads, tablets and of course, computers—both desktop and laptop. At the same time, people still enjoy non-technology leisurely activities, such as walking outdoors, going to the movies and attending concerts. Augen’s Trinity Spacia progressive targets the physically active and technology-driven lifestyles of today’s presbyopes with extra-wide distance and intermediate zones. This lens offers a versatile, soft progressive design with spacious mid-range and distance viewing for professional, technology and outdoor activities.

Selling Tips/Tools: Consider offering Trinity Spacia in free-form—HDRx Trinity Spacia—to give patients a full range of material and treatment options for both indoor and outdoor wear. Suggest that ECPs develop a list of questions for patients to help identify the Trinity Spacia opportunity.

For instance: What percentage of the day is spent using technology tools? What percent of each week is spent outdoors? How often do you place demand at distances of 2-5 feet? For more information about the Trinity Spacia “wearer profile” and product features and benefits, go to www.augenoptics.com. Select Lens Portfolio from the Products drop-down menu, and then click on Trinity Spacia Progressive.

Bristol C&D, Inc.Bristolite Poly-B

Product Overview: Poly-B semi-finished aspheric high-base plus lenses were initially designed to meet the needs of presbyopic seniors. However, shortly after the lens hit the market, it was discovered that there was another target for Poly-B specialty lenses—infants and children diagnosed with Autism and Down Syndrome. “I was shocked to learn that there was a demand for our product with pediatric optometrists and opticians,” said Alex Bristol, president. “I think it’s great that we have the opportunity to improve these kids’ lives in some small way.” “I’m excited that Poly-B lenses are now being marketed to the pediatric sector,” added Wendell Slone, licensed Florida optician. “This provides a long-awaited cosmetic lens design to meet the needs of hyperopic children.”

Poly-B 70mm single vision lenses are available in base curves of 9.00, 11.00 and 13.00 and FT-28’s in base curves of 9.00 and 11.00 with +2.00 to +4.00 adds. Selling Tips/Tools: Focus on pediatric ODs (as well as geriatric ODs) who may not realize that the Poly-B product is available to help their younger, special needs patients. The Poly-B lens, although a high-end product, is less expensive than Trivex and much thinner than plastic alternatives. The Poly-B also covers the “need-to- inform” parents that children under 18 are required to wear poly. This quality lens should sell itself.

Specific Sales Strategies: For pediatric ECPs, make a pair of children’s or infant’s eyeglasses featuring Poly-B lenses. The thin, light eyeglasses will instill confidence in parents of special needs children that their kids won’t be forced to wear “Coke bottle” glasses in spite of a high Rx.

Carl Zeiss VisionGUNNAR Advanced Computer Eyewear

Product Overview: Today, computer vision isn’t just about computers: video games, PDAs, smart phones and digital readers can all cause symptoms of Digital Eye Fatigue. -GUNNAR Advanced Computer Eyewear goes beyond traditional computer lenses by addressing more symptoms: a steep wrap keeps eyes moister, a proprietary tint improves contrast perception, proprietary coatings filter specific wavelengths to selectively neutralize harsh parts of the color spectrum, and a slight power add enhances screen detail. GUNNAR expands the “computer eyewear” market by delivering these benefits in plano and single vision designs, as well as the GUNNAR Ergo HD near-variable-focus design. By incorporating Carl Zeiss Vision’s cutting-edge customization, GUNNAR prescription lenses are optimized for each patient’s unique prescription for unparalleled performance.

Selling Tips/Tools: Keep in mind that anyone who uses a digital device for extended periods of time is a candidate for GUNNAR eyewear, whether they are emmetropes, single vision wearers or presbyopes. Ask all patients about their digital device use and the symptoms it causes: dry eye, eyestrain or fatigue, as well as back, neck and head pain. Don’t exclude kids, who often use computers for school work, and can spend many hours playing video games. Make sure parents are aware that GUNNAR lenses will reduce eyestrain, even if their kids don’t need prescription glasses.

The best tool for selling is the eyewear itself. Nearly every patient can put on a plano pair and see an immediate benefit: a sharper, clearer view of the screen and improved contrast. Plus, GUNNAR eyewear has a distinctive high-tech look that will appeal to young people and adults alike.

Essilor Computer Lens

Product Overview: Eighty-three percent of the population experiences some form of Visual Fatigue Syndrome, a pathology consisting of symptoms such as eye strain and blurred vision. In response, Essilor developed the Essilor Computer lens, the first solution-based product line that addresses different diagnoses by the OD and a broader range of patient types.Based on ergonomic factors of screen and keyboard viewing, the Essilor Computer lens provides wide, clear intermediate area for viewing at computer distance, while incorporating a functional distance viewing area for enhanced usability. This lens is suitable for any presbyope indicating symptoms of Visual Fatigue Syndrome, particularly heavy computer users.

Selling Tips/Tools: When selling this lens, remember that Visual Fatigue Syndrome is not simply a “lifestyle” issue; it is a medical condition that requires accurate diagnosis and treatment. The Essilor Computer lens is easy to order, since the lab software will do the necessary conversions and select the correct degression. Using only the patient’s progressive Rx, this lens can be configured, produced and dispensed to address the unique needs of every patient.

Specific sales tools include the following: • Visual Fatigue Solutions Sales Aid • Essilor Computer Lens Guide (with ordering, fitting, dispensing and verification instructions) • Essilor Computer Lens Cutout Chart To request any of these sales tools, please contact your Essilor representative or e-mail visualfatiguesolutions@essilorusa.com.

ICE-TECH Advanced Lens Technologies Workplace Lens

Product Overview: The Workplace Lens is the first in its line of occupational lenses, designed to comfort the fatigued eye. Perfect for patients who like to read, cook, do hobbies or work a lot at the computer, and are used to the burning eyes, tension, headaches and fatigue. The Workplace Lens is the perfect solution with special near comfort lenses that provide adequately wide and sharp fields of vision in the extended close-up range. In the latest upgrade to its design, the new Workplace Lens comes with focal lengths of 20 inches, 32 inches or 44 inches. With this lens, patients can change smoothly between documents, the computer screen, their office and their coworkers without eye strain. Similar in theory to other lenses designed to relieve tension, the Workplace Lens is differentiated by its calculation method and radius.

Selling Tips/Tools: When selling the new Workplace Lens, using POP material is essential. ICE-TECH provides lens samples for customers to keep countertop, enabling a smoother upsell process. If the end consumer can see and touch the difference, they will be less likely to pass up a purchase. To increase your sales success, take advantage of Mirror Samples, AR samples, lens samples, brochures and annual training in-office—all provided by ICE-TECH. This training is important to answer any questions the office staff may have and also demo new products. To get started, please call (888) ICE-TECH.

Seiko Optical Products of AmericaSeiko PCWide Occupational Lenses

Product Overview: Seiko PCWide represents an entirely new category of occupational lenses for Seiko, combining 100 percent back-surface design with free-form surfacing technology to create lenses specifically optimized for the desktop environment. Seiko PCWide lenses are specifically designed to provide comfortable vision for those who spend long hours working at their desks or on their computers. The lenses provide a large full-power area for reading and close-up work. The intermediate area then uses reverse power accommodation technology to smoothly reduce the power as the eye rotates upward through the lens, optimizing vision for desktop computer monitor distances. Three reverse power types are available, reducing power by 1.00, 1.50 and 2.00 diopters, respectively. PCWide lenses are available in a wide range of materials, including 1.50 plastic, Trivex and polycarbonate, as well as 1.60, 1.67 and 1.74 high-index plastic. Transitions lenses are also available in all indexes except 1.74.

Selling Tips/Tools: Promote this lens as an affordable free-form computer lens that’s available in the widest range of material options. For more product details and access to Seiko’s customized method software for t this lens, please visit www.seikoeyewear.com.

Shamir InsightShamir Office Lens

Product Overview: The occupational lens for small environments, Shamir Office answers the needs of a wide range of professionals: doctors, chefs, musicians, artists, accountants, car mechanics and other workers requiring concentrated vision for up to four meters (13 feet). Specifically designed for small work environments, Shamir Office is a sophisticated reading lens designed for all additions, including high adds. It guarantees crystal clear vision for the printed page, computer screen area and beyond. It’s available in four Dynamic Powers (including 2.25D) and is perfect for patients requiring additions as high as 3.50D.

Selling Tips/Tools: Shamir Office provides an ideal -solution to the patient suffering from Computer Vision -Syndrome (CVS) symptoms. These symptoms include: eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, burning, or red eyes. If your patient can answer “Yes” to the following questions, they may be an ideal candidate for Shamir Office: • On average do you use a computer for more than one hour throughout the day? • Do your daily activities require you to perform any of the following tasks? • Work with a computer • Process or read paperwork • Inspect/fix equipment or small parts • Are the majority of your hobbies or occupational tasks usually performed within a 10ft. radius?

Shamir InsightShamir Autograph II – Office Lens

Product Overview: Created with the professional and hobbyist in mind, this occupational lens provides optimal near and intermediate vision from one to 13 feet. The patient’s distinct measurements (including pupilary distance, refraction and the measured distances of the work zone) are captured and then produced. Autograph II – Office will result in the intermediate and reading zones being personalized specifically for the use intended. These measurements take into account whether the patient is sitting or standing and if they are working in a stationary position or an active one. Measurements also include the position of the patient’s computer monitor or main focal point; whether it is at eye level (neutral), above or below, as well as the distance from the computer monitor or main focal point. The patient’s experience is enhanced by providing a personalized Dynamic Power based on the additional measurements taken. Autograph II – Office is available in the following materials: Hard Resin, SuperLite 1.60, and PolyPlus.

Selling Tips/Tools: The Autograph II – Office lens is the perfect opportunity for ECPs to sell a second pair to their patients. Shamir offers a short five-question patient questionnaire to help ECPs determine which patients are ideal candidates for Autograph II – Office. To get yours today, contact Shamir’s Sales and Client Services department at (877) 514-8330.

Signet ArmorliteKodak Unique MonitorView

Product Overview: This occupational lens offers a large full add and intermediate set at 24 inches, and a limited-distance zone with primary viewing in the 15-foot range. The design is extremely usable in the intermediate and ergonomically set for computer monitors. Available in 1.50 index plastic and Poly, the lens is 100 percent full backside digitally cut. Most labs price this product very reasonably—making it highly effective as an absolute multiple pair. No special fitting tools are required, as the product fits just like a standard progressive. A minimum fitting height of 17mm is recommended. Complementing the design, Signet Armorlite recommends Kodak Clean N’ CleAR Anti-Reflective coating, which reduces monitor glare and is extremely easy to clean.

Selling Tips/Tools: Labs should pitch this lens to ECPs as a specialty-use design, available at a very attractive cost. The low cost to ECPs allows them to incorporate these occupational designs into true multiple-pair sales situations.

Jeffrey LaPlante, training and education coordinator for Signet Armorlite, offers another selling strategy. “I have always recommended computer eyewear to data entry clerks, accountants or anyone who works more than four hours a day on a computer,” he said. “Recently, I’ve begun asking people ‘Are you on Facebook? Do you Twitter? Do you have e-mail?’ and if the answers to any of these is yes, then I say ‘Oh, trust me. You’re on the computer for more than four hours a day.’”

X-Cel Optical Specialty Lenses

Product Overview: X-Cel Optical offers a variety of specialty lenses for a wide variety of workers, such as the Double D Segment in Trivex for a plumber, an Autumn Gold Transitions SOLFX contrast-enhancing lens for a crop-dusting pilot, a glass bifocal for a farmer, or virtually any design in Aris Trivex material. The company’s wide array of styles and materials make it possible for ECPs to prescribe just the right lens for their patients. X-Cel can also custom manufacture many glass lenses for specific patient needs.

Selling Tips/Tools: Encourage your ECPs to uncover their patients’ special needs by using a comprehensive lifestyle questionnaire that asks specific questions about -occupation and hobbies. ECPs can then follow up with questions regarding challenges the patient may have with eyewear.

CURRENT ISSUE


August/September LabTalk 2017