Many things plague us in our journey to obtain and maintain profitability in this ever-changing optical industry. Purchasing new equipment is one of them. As we constantly analyze our growth, profitability and capture rates we are consistently trying to improve on those numbers and provide more stability for our business.

Profit Idea Number One: As a whole we pay our labs over $20 per single vision job (an additional $30 or more if it is a drill mount) and over $25 for lined bifocals. What if you could buy that same lens for less than $3.00 uncut and cut that job in-house at the same price? For instance, you sell your single vision, polycarbonate, non-glare lens for $125. Your lab charges $84.95, and this leaves you a profit of $40.05. Now, instead, purchase that same lens uncut from a stock supplier for $8.50. Your profit now becomes $116.50. Yes, out of that you need to weigh the labor and cost it took your optician to cut that job, but your profit will still be considerably higher than what it was when you outsourced it.

Cutting more jobs in-house and lowering your lab bills is one way we can deliver some of that profitability back to our bottom lines. Another likely outcome of investing in in-house edging is the increased patient satisfaction that results from a timely turnaround. Sometimes we have to spend money to make money, so investing in an in-house edger, complete with a blocker and tracer, such as those described here, is one way to improve profitability. Add the three ideas suggested below, and your profits will grow even more.

The ME-1200 is the most superior of Santinelli International, Inc.’s lens edgers and is capable of fast speeds. This edger’s top-of-the-line design gives opticians the ability to cut lenses with high base curves, the option to do 3D drilling, and all the edging, grooving and polishing styles available. It has advanced shape editing modes that open the doors to your very own creativity.

The LEX-1200 from Santinelli is one step below this, but do not mistake this edger for an inferior model. With the ability to cut and edge accurately with quick speed, it has all the same capabilities except designing your very own lens. For the standard optician this edger is quite capable of taking you to the next level of cutting in-house, and you can even handle your drill mounts if you choose with the addition of an optional sidecar drill, the LexDrill.

Combining one of these edgers with Santinelli’s ICE-900 blocker and its robust memory gives you the ability to do the job accurately and precisely. It can store and recall data for several shapes while also giving you the ability to send the saved data to your lab if you choose. A stabilizing feature ensures more accuracy and precision with your layout and blocking. Its touch screen gives you easy access to get your job done with ease, and its integrated shape imager retrieves drill data with a quick scan.

Profit Idea Number Two: Edgers can be equipped with preloaded software from Eyenavision, offering the ability to make Chemistrie clips for any and all frames. Being able to make clips for any wearer is an ideal “save the sale” strategy. Some patients either come in already wanting a clip, or they want polarized lenses but do not want two pairs of eyewear. Offer that patient the ability to get a sun clip custom made for the frame of their choice, and you are sure to win their attention. The profitability for your office is a sure thing. The patient is charged between $100 and $140 depending on the lens and prescription. Your cost for the necessary pieces is between $20 and $30, therefore you can make a profit of up to $120 minus your employees’ time. The high range of colors and styles available for your patient enhance your profit potential.

The Excelon Edger CPE 4000 is Coburn Technologies, Inc.’s choice for most retail practices. This highly versatile and efficient edger provides everything a retail location would need, including a robust memory system with some preinstalled lenses. Customized bevel and grooving abilities are also available. Drilling with superior accuracy and ease will make working with your drill mounts in-office a breeze. This edger allows the optician to choose their expertise level for cutting and edging, leaving as much to the machine itself or taking as much control as they choose.

The HAB-8000 from Coburn combines tracing, lensometry and blocking in one machine. Instant lens recognition and high performance accurate readings of sphere, cylinder and axis make this a valuable tool for any in-house lab. The digital pattern layout tool makes it easy to modify shape, width, height and circumference, managing all rimless and semi-rimless frames with ease. The touch screen and graphical interface make processing easy for all skill levels of operators. For drill mount demo lenses it detects holes using digital scanning to make their placement easy and accurate.

Essilor Instruments USA offers the Delta 2 Compact Edging System. The Delta 2 is versatile and precise, saving on time and labor. Utilizing a new all-in-one electronic display eliminates the use of traditional instruments such as a separate tracer and blocker. This further results in comfort for the operator due to advanced ergonomic design. The Delta 2 utilizes time management features by employing a Parallel System in its operation.

The technician can trace and block upcoming jobs while the Delta 2 is edging existing work. The trace blocking system utilizes place-and-trace 3D technology in which any shape can be traced within seconds accurately using Optical Shape Tracing Technology (OST).

Profit Idea Number Three: For those of us who take Eyemed and VSP, the idea of profiting more on these jobs is particularly ideal. As we all know, the profit on these jobs through the lab is slim to none. Of course, if you are going to only do the “give me what my insurance covers” jobs, then your additional profit per job is likely to be between $7 and $8 per job. However, look on the bright side and consider the upsell of non-glare and/or photochromics, and suddenly your per job profit can range between $25 and $35 per job.

The WECO E.3 from AIT Industries, Inc. (A brand of Luneau Technology USA) is a four-in-one concept. With the ability to trace, block, drill and edge this unit has all your needs in one piece of equipment rather than two or three. It allows for lens modifications, drilling for drill mount lenses and polishing/grooving of every lens material.

The E.3 guarantees protection against axis slippage in all stages of edging and finishing. It also allows you to trace the next frame while your current lens is being cut, allowing for more efficient set-up and run times.

Many of us probably have not spent a lot of time cutting in-house anymore with so many vision plans dictating where our orders must go. We have ordered more jobs complete through labs rather than looking deeply into the crystal ball of profitability. Each one of us needs to look very closely as to whether or not we can benefit from the above profit ideas. I have spoken to many offices that have chosen one or more of the above theories, and yes, while they initially spent a fair amount to get set up, each said that their profit paid back these costs within a year and half of being implemented.

Michelle Titzkowski is the practice manager at Vision Clinic Dr. Savin and Associates in Racine, WI.


WHERE TO FIND IT: AIT Industries, Inc. (Weco) 800.729.1959 • // Coburn Technologies, Inc. 800.262.8761 • // Essilor Instruments USA 800.542.5668 • // Eyenavision, Inc. 888.321.3939 • // Santinelli International, Inc. 800.644.3343 •


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