By Robert L. Bass, OD, FAAO
Implement a strategy with staff to meet patient needs and increase your penetration of anti-reflective treatments. The key: Ask questions on lifestyle and educate on benefits.
TALK COMPUTER GLARE & DIGITAL EYE FATIGUE. Ask about digital eye fatigue in patient history form and in the exam room and then prescribe AR.
EDUCATE DIFFERENCE AR MAKES. Show patients videos on iPad in the exam room about AR, or have videos about it playing in the waiting room.
DEMO AR. Have opticians give patients a pair of glasses with AR to try on to see the difference it makes.
Increasing sales of lenses with anti-reflective (AR) treatment is a priority for my practice. AR lenses provide better vision to patients and relieves eye strain, and selling more eyewear with AR is a revenue-generator. Of the 250 patients we see on average each month, 31 percent, or 78 patients, get AR on their eyeglasses. Sales of glasses with AR generate about $7,500 in additional optical revenues per month. We’re working toward doubling our AR penetration.
Set Goals for Continued Improved AR Sales
As many lenses with AR as we sell, my office could use a lot of improvement; we are at 31 percent, and I believe most ECPs in my area, Manassas, Va.,do about 58 percent. We’re shooting for a 50 percent AR capture rate. Some of the approaches we’re experimenting with to educate patients about the importance of AR include waiting room videos, mention of AR in recall letters and more involvement from me–taking the time to educate patients about AR even on days when I think I am too busy to do it. There is always time to educate patients about a lens treatment that will make such a difference in their lives.
Dr. Bass providesteaching points on his practice web site about the importance of AR lens treatments–then reinforces these points during exams.
Talk Computer Glare & Digital Eye Fatigue
AR starts with the patient history form in which we ask about computer fatigue and glare on screen, problems reading under fluorescent lighting, night driving difficulties and problems driving in rain. If I see these complaints listed on the patient history form, I recommend AR in the exam room for any new glasses. My opticians will then reiterate and further explain the AR prescription in the optical. In fact, with or without a prescription from me, my opticians are trained to recommend AR in the dispensary to all patients getting glasses for clearer, crisper vision at all viewing distances.
Show the Difference AR Will Make
When patients have digital eye fatigue complaints, I show them a video on my iPad that explains and demonstrates all the benefits of AR treatment and how it works. And then I say: “I would not recommend it if I did not wear it myself and know it works.”
Manage Patient Push-Back
AR can cost as much as an additional $100 or more, but mostly the push back is from patients with previous experience with poor quality AR treatments that peeled off, wore off, excessively scratched and excessively finger-printed. Advanced AR treatments with reasonable care will not wear off and peel, and will only minimally scratch and fingerprint.
It is important to note that the added cost of AR is usually not an issue when patients have been experiencing problems with glare that have led to eye strain and fatigue. These patients have uncomfortable eyes and are usually excited when I present them with a possible solution.
If you use an advanced AR treatment, even patients without eye strain issues will love it and continue asking for it when they make future eyewear purchases.
Have Staff Demo Difference AR Makes
Our whole staff follows the same message on the importance of AR, but the opticians take the education I begin in the exam room to the next level with a point-of-purchase demo so the patient can see how AR works for themselves. Patients are able to put on a pair of glasses with AR lenses and then look at their smartphone, tablet or computer screen, or even step outside, and see the difference it makes.
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