Become Your Lab’s Einstein!

By Judith Lee

When the solution is simple, God is answering - Albert Einstein

Your customers say that helping them sell more sun lenses is not rocket science, but here’s a chance to become the Einstein of your optical lab: Give a second-pair discount.

“I've worked with a lot of different labs, and the thing that was the most helpful in selling sun wear was the second-pair discount,” said Dave Roff, ABOM, optician at Halpern Eyecare, Wilmington, DE.

“I find that giving the patient a discount on the complete second pair works great,” agreed Sherry Estelle, optician at Partners in Vision, Bala Cynwyd, PA.

She noted that a free upgrade to a polarized lens “is always a winner,” and Roff agreed with that.

“The best help was from one lab, which always gave me a 50 percent discount on a second pair of polarized lenses, regardless of which was the less-expensive of the two pairs,” Roff said.

The time to launch your second-pair discount also is obvious – when the weather gets nice.

“I have sold more second pairs this month than I ever have before,” noted Estelle (speaking to Lab Talk in mid-May). “Once the weather starts to get nicer it's the best time of year for sun wear sales. People are excited to be outdoors again so the second pair becomes an easy sale.”

Another way to help your customers with sun wear sales is to provide them with direct sales tools.

“I need something I can put in the hand of the patient for them to interact with, to see and hold,” said Robert Sobotor, a licensed optician practicing in the Greater Atlanta area. “That saves me from using a lot of ‘sales’ sounding words and lets them begin to formulate a need or at least a curiosity before I speak to them.”

Sobotor explained that he has made his own point-of-purchase materials by edging down, into slightly larger than silver-dollar-size, various photochromic and polarized lenses in their available colors. He said he places them in patients’ easy reach or offers them to patients, with a quick explanation, as patients enter the optical boutique.

Sobotor offered another example: How well Maui Jim sells polarized lenses just by providing poster-sized photos to post in the optical. He noted that similar POP materials provided by optical labs would assist the sale, but only if they are high-quality: “I need educational materials that are made to look as though I printed them, not just had my name stamped on the back. This is how you promote premium products.”

Sobotor admitted that discounts also get his attention, but not if he notices that the lab’s prices have been “jacked up” to make up for it. He suggested that labs embrace social media to communicate limited-time specials.

“It reminds the practice owner that cash is to be made by acting and it reminds or spiffs the staff. Timing the Tweets with slow lab days or certain days and/or times of the week or month will be the science of the strategy,” he noted.

These dispensers have good news for labs and sun lens manufacturers: They do not consider photochromics to be a replacement for sunglasses.

“I don't sell photochromics as a replacement for sun wear, because they don't do the same things. Despite advances in recent photochromic technology, photochromic lenses will never get as dark as a dedicated sunglass, nor under all the conditions that a sunglass is desired, nor will they polarize to the same degree. Often, I will sell a photochromic as a first pair, and a sunglass as the second pair,” Roff said.

Estelle said she always follows up a photochromic sale with a discussion about sun wear.

“In my opinion, photochromics are excellent for regular ophthalmic frames however in most cases a regular ophthalmic frame does not provide the same amount of coverage as a dedicated pair of sun wear and as we all know photochromics just aren't dark enough behind the wheel of a car,” she said.

Another frequent discussion is the value of a progressive design in a sun lens.

“Quite a few presbyopes feel they can get away with a flat-top bifocal or Distance Vision Only lens for sun wear. I educate them about using the same progressive lens in their sun wear that they have in their everyday eyewear,” Estelle said.


There’s good news for labs and dispensers – manufacturers have been busy improving popular lens designs and materials, and developing new ones. Here’s a roundup of what’s hot.

Xperio UV polarized prescription sun lenses from Essilor USA virtually eliminate glare that reflects off roads, snow, water and sand, while offering maximum UV protection for your eyes. The lenses are scratch-resistant and easy to clean. Soon, Xperio UV superior polarized lenses will be available in six colors and six new polarized gradients.

 Xperio UV lenses provide an Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF) of 50+.  E-SPF is a global index rating the overall UV protection of a lens. A lens rating of E-SPF 50+ means that an eye protected by the lens will receive 50 times less UV exposure than an unprotected eye.

Xperio Transitions sun lenses combine polarization with photochromic technology making them ideal for water sports such as boating and fishing, or for other activities when spending time outdoors.

Transitions Signature VII lenses in Graphite Green offer an iconic lens color that dates back to the 1930s when the color was applied to sunglasses worn by U.S. Navy pilots. The gray-green lenses were formulated to help pilots locate and track objects against a variety of outdoor backgrounds such as earth, sky and water.

These lenses were developed using Chromatic Color Adaptation technology and Chromea7 technology. Chromatic Color Adaptation technology is a method used to evaluate tinted and photochromic lenses. Chromea7 technology enables faster response to lighting conditions, reduces glare and enhances contrast to reduce eye fatigue and strain and get even darker in higher temperatures.

This new color is part of the Transitions Signature VII lenses offering recently also introduced in brown and gray. 

Transitions XTRActive lenses provide extra protection from light outdoors, indoors and even in the car. The lenses were designed to be extra dark in the brightest sunlight and hottest conditions, and retain a hint of tint indoors protects from harsh lighting. They darken behind the windshield to protect the eyes from sunlight while driving.

Transitions Drivewear sun lenses provide a safer, more comfortable driving experience by combining polarization, color optimization and photochromic technology to enhance a driver’s vision by adapting to and managing the ever-changing daytime light and weather conditions faced by drivers.

Callaway NEOX Transitions sun lenses use technology specifically designed for golfers. These sunglasses counteract distortion in both color and object sight and decreased depth of field. These lenses deliver golfers increased depth perception, better distance vision and superior clarity.

Nike MAX Transitions sunglasses were engineered for athletes requiring high-precision vision. These lenses adapt to different athletic environments and changing light conditions.

Oakley Transitions sunglasses offer both prescription and non-prescription options. Available in multiple colors, they activate to darker, neutral tints to allow athletes to maintain peak performance.

Vision-Ease offers LifeRx and ChangeRx light-responsive lenses, SunRx and Coppertone polarized lenses. A recent partnership with IOT has produced five fresh digital designs that deliver distortion-free vision for sports enthusiasts and everyday wear.

There are two proprietary design series – Sportwrap and Everywhere. Sportwrap designs are ideal for active consumers because the digitally optimized design accommodates wrap-style frames needed in sports. Everywhere designs are best for general-purpose wear. The designs are optimized for Vision-Ease blanks but are not restricted.

Specific designs include Sportwrap Single Vision, Sportwrap Novel PAL, Sportwrap Backside PAL, Everywhere PAL, and Everywhere + PAL.

Younger Optics NuPolar Gradient polycarbonate SFSV lenses are available in gray and brown. Gradient lenses are highly desired by wearers; however, most do not offer the high-efficiency glare blocking power of polarization. NuPolar Gradient lenses offer a 98 percent polarizing coefficient, which means blinding glare is blocked almost entirely.

NuPolar Gradient lenses are different, because the gradient is encapsulated within the lens as part of the polarizing film. This proprietary Encapsulated Gradient Technology prevents fading and discoloration of the lens over time. It also completely removes the need to surface tint the lens, meaning consistent matching every time.

NuPolar and Transitions offer drivers photochromics and advanced polarization, along with high-impact resistance and superior optics. Transitions Drivewear lenses, still the only polarized photochromic lenses that adapt behind the windshield, are now available in single vision Trilogy Trivex.


Labtalk June 2020