Ophthalmic Lenses

How to Get More People to Want Computer Glasses

By Stuart J. Thomas, OD
and Ellen Byrum-Goad, LDO

March 7, 2018

Concerns about harmful blue light, and digital eye fatigue, make selling computer glasses an easy proposition–or  should make it easy. But patients don’t necessarily see the need for glasses especially designed to protect their eyes, and add comfort, while working on the computer and using digital devices.

In our practice, we’ve made a concerted effort to educate patients in the exam room, and in the optical, on why computer glasses, or “desktop glasses,” as we call them, are important to their eye health, visual quality and comfort.

Track What You’re Prescribing & Selling
Dr. Thomas: I usually discuss single-vision glasses with AR for computer distance monitor, particularly if that patient uses two or more monitors. I often will speak in terms of “desktop,” rather than “computer,” glasses to emphasize that while these glasses are especially equipped to aid computer, and digital device, work, they are a great help to all work requiring close, detailed attention.

Ellen Byrum-Goad: We began tracking recommendations that Dr. Thomas made to patients on indoor glasses, sunglasses, desktop glasses and contact lenses. The lowest month in 2017 on all pairs of computer glasses sold was a month in which 18.75 percent of patients, who had been recommended “desktop glasses,” got them. The highest month was  a month in which 61 percent of patients, who were recommended desktop glasses, bought them.

We typically recommend indoor glasses, polarized sunwear and desktop (if needed). Few people purchase three pairs right at that moment. What we have found is that desktop glasses have much higher second-pair sales success, whereas it is harder to get people to understand they need sunglasses for any reason other than fashion.

Talk Benefits, Not Features
Dr. Thomas: Desktop glasses speak more to the patient’s work environment as a whole, versus “computer glasses,” which imply one functional use only.

Ellen Byrum-Goad: The doctor does not prescribe a particular brand. He leaves that up to the optical after we assess the patient’s lifestyle needs. On each of our three dispensing tables we have several demonstrators: Progressive (markings are still on), bifocal, trifocal and single-vision, with AR and without.

In talking benefits, we also share educational resources with patients on protecting their eyes from blue light and preventing digital eye fatigue. Click HERE for the video we have shared from the Today show, and click HERE for a helpful article from The Vision Council.

Ask the Right Questions
Ellen Byrum-Goad: For all of us living in this technological era, we need to simply ask each patient: “How many hours a day do you look at a screen, whether that be a smartphone, tablet, monitor or gaming system?” Educate patients like we did when we realized a UV barrier can protect the eye against UV just like sunscreen protects the skin.

Share Personal Experience
Dr. Thomas: I describe the benefits I realized with my own desktop glasses that I use in the mornings and evenings at home.

Ellen Byrum-Goad: While Dr. Thomas mainly uses his mornings and evenings, I wear mine all day long as I am looking at two monitors. I pull the patients’ explanation of benefits up on one monitor, and then post on the other monitor in an effort to not print out every single EOB. Many times I will have a person sit at my desk to look through my desktop glasses, or a similar pair to their prescription, to get an idea of how much better they can see with desktop glasses.

Get Help from Your Your Lab
Ellen Byrum-Goad:We hate clutter of any kind, so there are no posters, special displays or other POP from vendors.

However, our lab representative comes in regularly, and conducts hour-long training sessions with our staff on all the new advancements of treatments, filters, treatments and other lens enhancements. We incorporate that technology into bundled packages on the lenses, which we present and educate patients about.


Stuart J. Thomas, OD, is the owner of Thomas Eye Center in Athens, Ga. Contact: SJThomas@aol.com

Ellen Byrum-Goad, LDO, is practice manager. To contact: Ellen.Goad@thomaseyecenter.com

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