Insights From Our Editors

How Long Does it Take Most Consumers to Choose Eyeglasses?

Your patients may not be as deliberative as you think, the results of Jobson Optical Research’s 2013 Eyewear and Eyecare Consumer Patterns Insights survey suggest. Asked how long in minutes and hours (including multiple trips) they spend in the optical retail location before choosing their complete eyeglasses, including frames as well as lenses, 35 percent say it took them 30 minutes to less than an hour. Twenty-eight percent say it took them 15 minutes to less than 30 minutes to make a selection, while 9 percent say it took them less than 15 minutes. On the other hand, 17 percent say it took them one hour to less than two hours and 4 percent say it took them two hours or longer. Seven percent say they don’t know how long it took them.

Click HERE to purchase Jobson Optical Research’s 2013 Eyewear and Eyecare Consumer Patterns Insights survey.

Frame and lens selection in your optical can be an impressive, practice-building exercise or it can become an out-of-control nightmare. The difference is systems and training.

The chart below summarizes the data from the Jobson Optical Research’s 2013 Eyewear and Eyecare Consumer Patterns Insights survey showing how long patients take to choose frame and lenses.


Longer than 120 minutes


60 minutes to 120 minutes


30 minutes to 60 minutes


15 minutes to 30 minutes


Less than 15 minutes


Don’t know


How long does it take patients in your practice to choose their new frame and lenses? These are numbers you need to know so that you can begin to implement positive controls.

Patients taking longer than planned in the optical cause negative effects that ripple through the practice. When this happens frequently it can affect what patients purchase (if at all), the practice reputation and staff morale. Knowing that, this topic demands our attention.

Here are three steps to take to bring this area under control.

STEP 1 Decide if your goal for the frame and lens selection is to create a world-class patient experience. If it is, then going beyond just picking out frames and lenses is necessary. Focus on offering fashion advice. Fashion advice means making sure the frame and lens selection is complementary with, at least, face shape and patient colors.

There are seven possible face shapes (Round, Oval, Square, Oblong, Diamond, Base-up triangle and Base down triangle). For the best results, the frame shape needs to be chosen based on the face shape.

The Vision Council identifies two major considerations for choosing a frame based on the patient’s face shape. These are:

  1. The shape of the frame should contrast with the face shape for maximum appeal. People with curved faces look best in angular frames and people with angular faces look best in curved frames.
  2. Choose eyewear that is in balance with the facial proportions. The frame size should be to scale with the face size and the top of the frame should follow the natural brow line. Eyes should appear centered in the frame.

Skin tone is the primary element to be considered when determining the patient’s color. The two major skin tones are warm and cool. Cool skin tone has a blue, pink or rosy undertone while a warm skin tone has a yellow undertone. Eyes and hair color are secondary elements to consider when determining the patient’s color.

Two common ways to identify the patient’s color are the Vein Test and the Gold/Silver Test. Both tests are performed under natural light.

For the Vein Test, look at the veins on the inside of the patient’s wrist. A greenish appearance indicates yellow undertones while a bluish appearance indicates a cool skin tone.

For the Gold/Silver Test hold a swatch of gold fabric then a swatch of silver fabric under the chin. Which fabric makes the patient look better? The gold fabric will make the warm skin tone look better and the silver fabric will make the cool skin tone look better.

The Vision Council has three keys to color analysis. They are:

1. All people have either cool or warm coloring.

2. Everyone looks best in his or her own color base.

3. Eyewear should repeat your personal best feature (such as a blue frame to match blue eyes).

Cool skin tones do better with rich bold colors (e.g.: silver, black, red, deep blue). Warm skin tones do better with earth colors (e.g.: gold, bronze, peach).
STEP 2 Create lens packages. Lens packages dramatically reduce the number of decisions patients must make in the optical. Marketing studies show the more decisions people are given the fewer purchases people make.Here is a reference from the MBA publications to help you.

Don’t recreate the wheel. Talk to your spectacle lens laboratory reps coming into your office. They should have examples you can use.

STEP 3 Have a system for frame selection. Talk to your frame salespeople who come into your office about training your staff on how to most effectively and efficiently manage frame selection with patients. An example where this is essential is knowing that luxury frame presentations are different from high-end frame presentations. Make sure your staff has been trained on the product they are presenting to patients.

Managing the optical and the flow of patients through the optical is essential to a smooth-flowing, effective and efficient practice. To say this another way, happy patients in the optical means happy doctors and happy staff.

Click HERE for a youtube video to help with face shapes.

Click HERE for an article to help you dig deeper into face shape and patient color.

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