An à-la-carte lens menu can be confusing so offering lens options like premium PureCoat AR treatment by Carl Zeiss can be bundled into a single price.
Consider creating a lens menu in a good, better, best configuration. A customized lens like SEIKO’s Surmount falls in the best category.
When developing prices, list PALs by name like HOYA’s iD Lifestyle.
Differentiate digital lenses, like Essilor’s Varilux S, from standard lenses in your price list.

It’s a complicated business trying to come up with a retail price list that’s fair to everyone.

It’s as difficult to obtain the ideal ophthalmic lens price list as it is to win the Mega Millions lottery jackpot! Today’s lens price list includes a tremendous amount of information, which adds to the complexity of developing one. Here are some tips for coming up with a lens price list for your office.

The process begins by asking yourself a few questions. Is your current lens price list easy to follow? Do you have to jump to different sections to develop a price for a job? Does it require a calculator when determining a price? Does it have “chicken-scratched” additions to it in the margins? What do you like about it and what do you dislike? Answering these questions is a great way to obtain the ideal outcome for your office.

Since you’ll be marking up the lens prices you pay for stock and surfaced lenses, you’ll need to determine which suppliers’ price lists to base your retail price list on. To properly reflect your costs and maintain your profit margins, consider developing your retail prices based upon who you bought your lenses from and what you paid for them. If you’re using five or six different suppliers, you may want to reconsider why you’re using so many suppliers and negotiate better prices by using one or two suppliers so you can give them as much of your work as possible.

When I am shopping for products that may have a high price tag and the salesperson brings out the old calculator, my defense mechanism comes out. My perception is that this is going to be complicated and expensive because it’s going to take calculations to determine the price. I’m also feeling that the potential discounts I might get are based on the person with the calculator, not the policy of the establishment. This method has the feel of the car salesperson approach. Ditch it and let your price list do the work.


Candidly, no paper price list is going to adequately serve your needs at the dispensing table. No matter how you develop it, you’re going to end up with add-ons because there are just so many options available these days. Instead, it’s best that you develop your pricing using a database. If you have practice management software, you already have this feature. By telling the database the prices you want to charge for things like lens type, Rx range, anti-reflective (AR) treatment, photochromic features, etc., the database will add up the total for you so you can confidently quote a single price when it’s time.


Establishing pricing based on lens style is a great place to start. Since many of the single vision lenses you’ll use will come from a stock lens house, their price will be much less than the surfaced work you order. Because of this, you’ll probably want to develop two price lists, one for single vision stock lenses and one for surfaced lenses like segmented multifocals, progressive addition lenses (PALs), and specialty lenses. For the surfaced price list, you’ll need to subdivide lenses into configurations so you’ll be listing things like flat-top 22, 25, 28, 35; round segs by sizes, etc. You’ll also be listing PALs by name like HOYA Vision Care, North America’s iD Lifestyle, Shamir Insight, Inc.’s Autograph III, Essilor of America’s Varilux S, and Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.’s Surmount. You’ll also want to indicate digital lenses from standard lenses in your price list.

The first option to list on your price list is lens material because it’s a decision that must be made for every eyeglass lens order. List all of the materials you’ll be offering along with the lens’ price in that material.

Taking power into consideration is essential since suppliers charge more for higher powers, yet do not make the lens menu too complicated. Yes, stock lens houses and surfacing labs do break their prices down by Rx but there may be so many breakdowns of power choices that it just adds to the complexity of your lens menu. Try using three or four levels of Rx price points based on the total combined power. For example: -3.00D -1.00D = a total combined power of 4.00D.

Consider creating your lens menu in a good, better, best configuration. This helps the eyecare professional (ECP) and the patient find the lens product that best suits her needs and budget. Levels like silver, gold, platinum; good, better, best; etc. are easy for the patient to follow. Various vision plans offer tiers so it is important to follow protocol on your lens menu. Tiering can also represent warranties like one- or two-year replacement, or technology like standard AR treatment versus premium AR treatment.

Be sure to include line items for enhancements like edge polishing, drilling, mirror treatments, photochromic, polarized, fashion tints, blue light treatment, and engraving. You could also consider prescriptions with prism and extremely high powers.

An a-la-carte lens menu can be confusing and time consuming. Since time is money in business, it is better to offer lens options like premium PureCoat’ AR treatment by Carl Zeiss Vision Inc., Younger Optic’s Nupolar polarization technology, and variable tints like those from Transitions Optical, Inc. bundled into a single price. If the patient resists the cost, you can always remove an add-on to reduce the price, especially for your patients who may not have insurance; this provides real dollars towards their eyewear. With this strategy, remember to offer the best first and work your way down if necessary.

Menus that are specific to the end user are useful too. Packaging lens options like “Safety,” “Value,” or “Kids,” can make the process effortless for the patient and the ECP. Such packages may even include preselected frames. This makes it easy to quote a single price for the complete pair of eyeglasses or a second pair. It can also be a great fallback when price is an issue.

Offer at least 10% in savings when all is said and done. Cell phone retailers have done this for years. The more accessories you purchase, the more savings you receive. This shows the patients that there are savings. Just add up the retail cost for lens material/design plus the add-on(s) and reduce that number by 10% or more.

One lens menu may not serve all. One practice may choose the tiered menu concept and another may decide to line item. Some may opt to create lens menus based on vision plans and others to create one lens menu for all patients.

As you can see, there are many considerations to developing a lens menu. Just keep it simple so as not to confuse your patients.

Jackie O’Keefe is a licensed optician, writer, lecturer, and course preparer in the Virginia Beach, VA, area.


Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc.
Essilor of America, Inc.
HOYA Vision Care, North America
Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.
Shamir Insight, Inc.
Transitions Optical, Inc.
Younger Optics



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