With the dangers of UV radiation, patients want to know their free-form eyewear, like WX Rebel which is Rxable with Wiley X’s DIGIFORCE, can protect their eyes.
A free-form lens, such as HOYA’s LifeStyle 2, is the epitome of customization and a good solution for patients who want sharp vision.
ECPs need to talk to their patients about the excellent results they’re getting from the latest free-form lenses they carry.
Shamir gives ECPs a point-of-sale stand to help educate patients about its new free-form sun strategy called Shamir X3.

The benefits of free-form lenses often outweigh their higher cost.

Free-form lenses use highly complex, cutting-edge technology to provide the sharpest, widest clearest vision available. Sometimes, rather than speaking to the hot button issues around free-form that our patients are concerned about, we rattle off their features camouflaged in optical jargon. Recommending free-form lenses to patients in the proper manner, however, can answer even the unsolicited, subconsciously present, questions that fill their minds.

When patients enter your office, they want to know they’re going to receive a complete and holistic eyecare solution. Letting them know they are in the right place to receive that kind of care takes little effort.

Often patients come to your office because you accept their vision plan. Managed vision care has essentially made an eye examination a commodity. If your office no longer accepts their vision plan, they will likely go to another provider.

Your challenge is to help patients understand that your office is different, that it goes beyond the usual. That’s why you need to let patients know while they’re in your office just how well their vision will be taken care of during their visit. Mention any new equipment you have and what it can do. Talk about the excellent results you get from the latest free-form lenses you carry. Refer them to your website for additional information about their eye condition, and while they’re on your site, they will see the section that talks about how terrific your office is and how excellent your doctors and staff are at providing top-notch health care.

FREE-FORM DIFFERENCES The term “free-form” represents a manufacturing process, not necessarily a type of lens. Lenses created with free-form technology are only as good as the design methodology, software, and processing that is behind them. The technology involved in the free-form surfacing process facilitates lenses with improved optics, but it is definitely constrained to the limits of the computerized design algorithms that determine the end product. This is where we can see differences in quality between brands.


Contrary to popular belief, patients are not looking for an inexpensive pair of eyeglasses to get them by for the next two or three years; most are seeking eyewear that will give them the best possible vision. In other words, it’s not the price they’re concerned about-it’s the quality of vision they’ll get from the eyeglasses they buy. If you want to satisfy this hot button issue, discuss the merits of free-form lenses with them.

Lenses that are digitally surfaced produce a wider field of view with less peripheral distortion, can positively affect the night driving experience, yield more defined optics, produce better contrast and improved color vision, and are designed using more precise and optimized power correction for the wearer.

Though your patients may be impressed with the reduction in chromatic aberration and unwanted cylinder correction, it’s more advisable to explain the vision they’ll receive using the analogy of a “tailored suit versus a store-bought $99 special.” You do not want to lose them in the specifics, but rather seek to speak to their hot button issues. Free-form lenses are optimized with the patient’s end vision in mind. They are engineered for the power that the patient will actually perceive versus a strictly objective lens measurement. Crafted from measurements incorporating vertex distance, face form, pantoscopic tilt, and base curve selection, as well as other non-traditional measurements depending on the manufacturer, free-form lenses are the epitome of customization and a fantastic solution for patients who want the clearest, sharpest vision they can get.

Value is not to be confused with price. Digitally surfaced lenses may cost more than those that are traditionally surfaced, but many times their benefits outweigh the additional cost. Being able to demonstrate the inherent value of free-form lenses is considerably more important than listing their features and benefits.

Showing how free-form lenses can solve a problem that a patient is experiencing with their current eyewear may be the best way to truly unlock their value. Asking patients open-ended questions and being a good active listener should provide the right opportunity to engage patients in a discussion over how free-form lenses are a worthwhile investment. Providing them with exceptional value for their dollar and not just “the cheapest lens on the market” is the only way to thwart the cognitive dissonance that usually accompanies an ill-plotted purchase.

PROTECTING PATIENTS It is sobering to think about the speed of technological advancements. While the muscle cars of the “˜60s and “˜70s were powerhouses in their day, we now see six-cylinder and even four-cylinder engines producing more horsepower, with greater fuel economy, and far better handling. While some people may still prefer the rugged nostalgia of these gas guzzlers (some still prefer aviator frames with crown glass lenses too), it is our responsibility as ECPs to protect the public from inferior technology by offering them the latest and the best.


With all the media warnings about the dangers of UV radiation to the skin and eyes, many patients want to know their new eyewear includes a safeguard. While free-form design does not address UV radiation issues, the lens materials these lenses use do. Cataracts, macular degeneration, cancers of the eye, as well as a host of other visual maladies have been directly connected to the presence and overindulgence of UV radiation. Whether inherent in the material, or provided through a topcoat application, make sure your patients are aware of the UV protection included with their new eyewear purchase as this is definitely a “hot button issue,” and one that patients will eagerly respond to.

In general, people respond to issues that resonate with them on a personal level. Knowing this, your best strategy for presenting health care and eyewear recommendations is to know what their hot button issues are and to directly address their concerns without the patient ever mentioning them. No doubt, your patients will respond positively to your recommendations.

Sam Winnegrad is an instructor in the Opticianry Department at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN.


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