HIGH-TECH HELPER Briot USA’s OptiTab
|TOWER POWER Essilor’s Visioffice 2|
Now might be the right time to get on board with the digital revolution in try-on and measuring devices.
Digital dispensing devices have been on the market for more than 15 years but units like those from ABS, Inc.; Briot USA; Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc.; Essilor of America, Inc.; HOYA Vision Care, North America; Optikam Tech, Inc.; and Shamir Insight, Inc., have only begun to capture the attention of ECPs in the last few years. Part of the reluctance to use them has been the fear factor involved with not really being aware of what they can do.
There’s also been a debate over the worth and efficiency of these devices among ECPs. One camp says they save time, increase worker productivity and average sales figures, improve lens add-on statistics, and promote multiple pairs. Another asserts that they actually take too much time to use, and some even feel the accuracy of these units is no better than what’s obtained with a trusty PD ruler and measurements take longer to perform. So who’s right?
In a way, everyone’s arguments are valid. These devices perform four major functions (frame try-on, lens demonstrations, eyewear measurements, and patient education) and each module has multiple features. That being said, if you tried to use every feature in each module, you’d be spending three times as much time as you already do with each patient so that’s not how to use a dispensing device. Instead, select the features you need and skip the others. Using the unit judiciously will manage your time-per-patient effectively.
How about the claims that dispensing devices can increase worker productivity and average sales figures, improve lens add-on statistics, and promote multiple pairs? They definitely can, if used properly. For example, instead of trying to sketch a progressive lens on a piece of paper and describe it to someone, let one of the video clips in the unit do all of this for you. Video demonstrations can be an incredibly smart way of showing and explaining lens designs, add-ons, materials, and more, and they do it consistently from patient to patient.
As for measurement accuracy, dispensing devices definitely do a better job in a shorter period of time than what one can do with just a PD ruler and a Sharpie marker. You just have to know how to use the device correctly. Those opticians who complain about how inaccurate measurements can be are often testing the unit’s results against their PD ruler measurements. That’s not going to work since the PD ruler method is fraught with errors.
Can these devices give inaccurate results? Certainly, if you don’t set the patient up properly in the unit. If you follow the right procedure, however, you’ll be rewarded with measurements to 0.1mm accuracy. That’s better than any PD stick method for sure! Some also complain about the amount of time it takes to obtain measurements, but what you’ll discover is that after you learn how to properly use one of these units, they will provide results in seconds once the patient has been properly fitted and aligned.
When it comes to the ultimate value a digital dispensing device can offer you and your practice, it’s best to do some trial runs on your own to assess their merit and all that they can do. Once you’ve done your testing and gotten some first-hand experience, though, don’t be surprised if you discover that you can’t live without one.
Michael Frandsen is the owner of Quality Performance Ophthalmic, Inc., a custom service optical laboratory in South Jordan, UT. Ed De Gennaro is Director, Professional Content of First Vision Media Group.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
ABS, Inc. 888-989-4227 • smart-mirror.com
Briot USA 800-292-7468 • briot.com/usa
Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. 800-358-8258 • zeiss.com/lenses
Essilor of America, Inc. 800-542-5668 • essilorusa.com
HOYA Vision Care, North America 877-528-1939 • thehoyafreeformcompany.com
Optikam Tech, Inc. 888-356-3311 • optikam.com
Shamir Insight, Inc. 877-514-8330 • shamirlens.com