Insights From Our Editors

Will the Economy Affect Your Patients’ Decision to Get an Eye Exam?

Just over half of consumers say the state of the economy will not impact their decision to get an eye exam, according to The Vision Council VisionWatch Economic Situation Report May 2014. Some 54.7 percent of respondents said “the economy will not affect my plans to get an exam,” while 15.8 percent said “I will only have my eyes examined if the exam cost is covered by my vision insurance program. Some 13.3 percent said “I am more likely to take care of other routine healthcare checkups before having an eye exam,” and 13.2 percent say “I will search harder for the best value when selecting a location to have an exam. Some 6.5 percent say “I will only have my eyes examined and probably won’t purchase any eyewear after the exam.”

People buy what they value. A study done by a lens company in our profession showed 35 percent of people leaving your practice may feel they spent too much for their lenses. They think because the lenses contain the doctor’s prescription there is no difference between lenses purchased in your office and lenses purchased somewhere else.

This is clearly a patient education problem. The doctor and staff need to explain to patients, in words patients can understand, the differences between manufacturing processes and lens designs. You can start with the simple discussion of the difference between an old standard television and a new high definition TV. And then you can add that just as there are differences in high definition televisions, there are differences in high definition lenses.

I personally like the terminology of Standardized, Customized and Individualized. Standardized lenses are like the older television sets–they work, but are not as clear and nice to watch as a new high definition television.

In the high definition levels, there are Customized and Individualized lenses. In these categories of lenses, the manufacturing processes and lens designs are different with more benefits to the patient. Be sure to explain these benefits. People buy benefits, but not necessarily features. Be sure to emphasize benefits.

Your action plan for this week is:
1) Work with your optical staff and with your laboratory sales representatives to create a script that can be used by doctors and optical staff to explain to patients in simple and easily understood terms why the lenses they purchased in your practice have more benefits for them than just a “Standardized” lens.
2) Work with staff until they are very comfortable delivering the script to patients. It should not take more than two minutes to deliver the script.
3) Measure your sales results to make sure you have the most effective script.

If you will send us the scripts you come up with, then we will publish them in ROB. Since we are collectively smarter than any one of us individually, this exercise will help us all create the best script to use with patients. Send scripts to ROB Managing Editor Margery Weinstein at

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