HIGH-INDEX LENS MATERIAL PREFERENCES FROM THE PROS

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HIGH-INDEX PATENT PIONEER Nikon 1.74
PROFILE SHOT Essilor 1.67+ Thin & Lite lenses
THINNER THAN PLASTIC Seiko 1.67 Super SV

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HIGH-INDEX LENS MATERIAL AND HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHEN TO RECOMMEND IT TO A PATIENT?

I asked that question of three Michigan-based ECPs: Debbie Keyes, optician and office manager, Eye Services, Jackson, MI; Kelly Lubbe, manager, Meijer Optical, Jackson, MI; and John Williams, optical shop director, Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor, MI.

WHAT HIGH-INDEX LENS DO YOU SELL THE MOST?
Debbie Keyes:
It all depends on the patient’s prescription. Here at Eye Services, we recommend high-index materials for everybody whose Rx is over -2.00D. We refine the lens material selection depending on the patient’s Rx and use mostly polycarbonate, 1.67, and 1.74 lenses.

Kelly Lubbe: 90% of all the lenses we sell are polycarbonate, so technically that makes it our high-index lens of choice. Being part of a retail chain somewhat limits the lens material choices we offer. We have “good, better, best” lens material options where “good” is CR-39, “better” is polycarbonate, and “best” is 1.67. When we show patients the comparisons of the lens materials, polycarbonate is the material most often chosen.

The 1.67 lens material is paired with digital surfacing for our “best” lens offering.

John Williams: We use 1.67. We find it to be a more stable lens. By that I mean that we use it for drilled rimless eyewear, no matter what the patient’s prescription. At the Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan, we use 1.74 index lens material when the prescription is over a -7.00D. This high-index lens offers the patient a better-looking lens in the finished eyewear.

WHEN DO YOU RECOMMEND A HIGH-INDEX MATERIAL?
All interviewees noted that children under the age of 14 or so are automatically given polycarbonate lenses as a safety consideration.

Keyes: We look at the prescription and will start recommending high-index at -2.00D. At -4.00D, we use a 1.67, and over -8.00D, we use the 1.74. My job as the optician making lens material and design recommendations has been made so much easier with all the demonstration products that are available. If you show patients the differences in the lens materials, they will spend the money to get the best.

Lubbe: We use 1.67 material when the patient wants our best lens, but we are limited by some of the third-party insurance plans as to which material will be covered.

Williams: I will demonstrate the differences in lens profile to all the patients, but many will only purchase what their optical plan will cover. Almost 50% of our business is dictated by the insurance providers as to lens material choice and frame price. The covered lens material in the plans we accept is polycarbonate.

High-index lens materials are being used all across the retail sector of the optical industry. While managed care plans have a strong influence on what patients will accept, ECPs are finding ways to get patients the right high-index lens material they need based on their individual circumstance. Many patients are willing to pay the difference once shown the features and explained the benefits.

Randall L. Smith is the Opticianry Program Director at Baker College in Allen Park, MI.

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