Barry Santini, master optician at Long Island Opticians in Seaford, N.Y., and Andrew Karp, group editor, Lenses & Technology, 20/20 and Vision Monday, outline strategies to capture two prime opportunities to boost optical sales with specialized ophthalmic lenses. The first is glass lenses, long valued for their unsurpassed optics, and now making a comeback. The second is golf lenses, which offer golfers a series of advantages that they soon find they can’t live without.
Time to Take Another Look at Glass
EnhanceYour Game with GolfLenses
Glass lenses, which lost their dominance in the market in the 1980s, are making a comeback, Master Optician Barry Santini tells Andrew Karp,group editor, Lenses & Technology, 20/20 and Vision Monday. In the ’80s, the large frame style of the time made glass less suitable than plastic. But today, with the iconic eyewear look of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s returning, glass is once again a good match for the style and optics. The more modest size of these glasses makes glass a compatible material.
More importantly, it is hard to surpass the optics of glass, says Santini. “They don’t call it ‘optics as good as glass’ for nothing,” he notes, pointing out that glass has traditionally been considered the gold standard for optical quality, as no other material can match its scratch and haze resistance.
Santini says the new technology that has created the thin, impact-resistant glass of smartphones and tablets is now being used to create thin, durable eyewear lenses.
Another advantage of glass: The sun filtering properties, which Santini says are “really at the top of the game.” The expanded prescription range for glass lenses now makes it possible to offer patients premium prescription glass sun lenses.
In-office lens edgers can now be configured to do all the wrap bevels on glass lenses, but Santini says that if you’re not interested in investing in that equipment in your office, there are dedicated labs that can do glass lenses “soup-to-nuts,” so that they arrive at your office as a perfectly finished product.
“The bottom line: It’s time to take another look at glass,” Santini says.
Golfers are particular about the clubs and gear they use, but they often overlook the need for lenses designed specifically for golfing, Santini and Karp point out.
Santini notes three things to keep in mind about lenses designed especially for golf. First, golf lenses are typically not as dark as general-purpose sun lenses because you want the pupil to stay slightly constricted to improve your depth of field, “to be able to follow the ball, whether it’s on the fairway, on the green or in the sky.”
Second, Santini says you want the color of the golf lenses, regardless of what color it is, to be different from the color of your general-use sunglasses. Having a lens in a different color from the sunglasses you wear every day sends a signal to your brain that something is different in your environment, requiring added attention. This added attention keeps your eyes sharper on the golf course.
Third, golf lenses should not be polarized because polarization makes it hard to see the reflections necessary for optimal golf vision. “You want to see the reflections from the lawn,” says Santini. “We want the individual reflections of grass blades because they tell us the grade of the green and wind direction, as well as moisture content, which will also address how the ball lays.”
There is no one best color for a golf lens, says Santini. He recommends having patients try on lenses of different colors while outside. He says that patients will be able to tell immediately which lens gives them the sharpest, most distinct vision.
Santini advises for photochromatic lenses because of the changing light conditions that occur over a four-hour round of golf. He says that general-purpose progressive lenses also are not the best idea on the golf course since progressive lenses have a lens gradient that is faster at the top, which is exactly the opposite of what you want when playing golf. “You want a gentler gradient in golf to allow for head position,” says Santini. “No golfer will tolerate a pair of lenses that forces his head into an unnatural posture.”
General-purpose progressives also are not ideal for golf because your near demands on the golf course are usually relegated to the score card. “Intermediate and general priority is where your lens design should excel,” says Santini.
The greatest sign of success with golf lenses are the golfers who return to Santini’s office as soon as they lose or damage their golf glasses. “They’re in here immediately saying, ‘I must have another pair today!’ They really find that not having a golf-specific lens is a (literal) handicap for their performance on the course,” he says.
Barry Santini, ABOM, is co-owner of Long Island Opticians in Seaford, NY. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org. Andrew Karp is group editor, Lenses & Technology for 20/20 and Vision Monday. To contact him: AKarp@jobson.com.