Eyecare practices share their secrets for achieving success fitting patients with digitally surfaced lenses.

With the advances in free-form lens designs, it is imperative that eyecare professionals (ECPs) communicate the features and benefits effectively to provide patients with their best visual outcome. Here are some tips from successful eyecare practices.


It starts from the chair, reports Michelle Coughlin of Bay Hill Eye Care in Orlando, FL. Her husband, optometrist Sean Coughlin, OD, discusses “lifestyle lens options” with patients after the eye exam to help them understand their eyewear needs. An avid golfer, Coughlin is especially tuned into a golfer’s sunwear needs. Most important is the patient “handoff,” where the doctor summarizes the discussion with the patient for the dispensing optician so they can complete the patient’s visit by selecting the appropriate eyewear. Bay Hill uses i.Terminal technology from ZEISS for eye measurements and to simulate lens options, such as anti-reflective coatings and photochromic features.


L. Bruce Mebine, OD, runs an optometry practice and boutique optical dispensary in San Francisco that carries over 1,000 fashionable and classic frames. Shamir lenses from Shamir Insight, Inc. and Varilux lenses from Essilor of America, Inc. are popular lens choices at Mebine’s practice, which partners with wholesale optical lab, Laramy-K Optical of Indianola, IA, using a number of house brand progressives in the dispensary. In addition, the practice maintains an edging lab on the premises to quickly produce jobs and assure a high standard of quality.


Eyetopian Optical in the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers, FL, caters to patients who want to make a statement with their high-end eyewear. Diamond-encrusted and buffalo horn frames are the norm here, and a number of lens designs are used, including Camber Lens Technology by Younger Optics. Camber’s corrective-curve front-side design uses a vertical, variable diopter, front-surface power shift to bring best-form optics to a backside progressive design, minimizing oblique astigmatism. The resulting improvement in edge-to-edge clarity, including in the intermediate and near zones, essentially widens the useful zones of the lenses. Proprietors Craig and Kelly Chasnov work to “build” the eyewear a patient/customer wants through extensive lifestyle questions.


Eye Care One, with two locations in Augusta, GA, and three in South Carolina, offers mid- to high-end frame options. Lens designs are the Narrative and Everywhere designs from VISION EASE. Eye Care One’s secret to selling free-form lenses is having a well-trained staff that can relate high-technology lenses to patient needs. In addition, televisions with continuous loops educate the patient while in the dispensary, and up-to-date manufacturer literature is available for patients to take home.


Retailers who enjoy success with free-form lens designs carry their winning strategy to a new level with in-house lens fabrication, which yields numerous benefits such as increased quality control, better turnaround time and higher profit margins. From a marketing standpoint, these ECPs can promote their individualized “house brands” to their patients.

Harvey and Lewis Opticians of Hartford, CT, utilize Coburn equipment to supply their nine locations with private-label free-form lenses. Similarly, Larchmont Vision Center in Larchmont NY, uses Coburn’s in-house Mini Lab to supply its two-store operation with free-form lens products. The Mini Lab turns out 15 to 40 pairs of lenses per day and fulfills Larchmont’s one-hour service promise. Larchmont further drives its success selling free-form by taking the time to educate patients about the value of high-definition lens designs.

Richard W. McCoy, LDO, ABOC, NCLC, is an opticianry instructor at Hillsborough Community College in Fort Myers, FL.


Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc.800.358.8258 •

Coburn Technologies, Inc.800.262.8761 •

Laramy-K Optical800.525.1274 •

Shamir Insight, Inc.877.514.8330 •

Essilor of America, Inc.800.542.5668 •

VISION EASE800.328.3449 •

Younger Optics800.366.5367 •


Leave A Reply