Serengeti offers great comfort for patients who spend a ­considerable amount of time driving.

If you don’t ask, many patients won’t tell. This point is often rele­vant when it comes to performance sunwear sales. Some patients don’t even think to mention their “other” needs to eyecare professionals (ECPs) because they’re focused on the main event—their new Rx and their primary eyeglasses. So how can you open up the conversation to discuss performance sunwear? Just use the A-D-E approach. Ask, Demon­strate, and Explain.

Patients are accustomed to filling out forms regarding insurance, reasons for the visit, and their health history in health care offices. It’s easy for ECPs to add a “lifestyle” form that asks for information about patients’ interests in recreational activities, special sports needs, sun exposure, and safety issues (see “Sample Life­style Questionnaire,” at left). Such feedback gives the dispenser valuable information for the next step, and opens up the discussion for activity-specific eyewear.

A more active approach may be more effective in a fast-paced retail environment where patients are coming in with prescriptions left and right. In this situation, you have to ask the questions about lifestyle right off the bat and be able to interpret that information into good recommendations fairly immediately. It’s not enough to just ask, you need to translate the responses into sound product solutions.

You’ve obtained the lifestyle information from a questionnaire or by asking the patient directly and have learned that your patient could

Younger’s Drivewear lenses are polarized and change color and darkness.

benefit from polarized lenses. Now it’s time to make the recommendation—but does the patient really understand what polarization is or what it does to make vision better? And do you have a “user-friendly” explanation? Patients are sometimes a ­bit confused about polarization, ­photochromics, tints, and UV protection, so these and many other sunwear features need solid demonstrations.

Most polarized lens manufacturers offer counter displays that allow the patient to see the benefits of polarization. The differences are dramatic and patients appreciate the value polarized lenses deliver.

When it comes to photo­chromics, many patients don’t understand the differences between lens products, their limitations, and their strengths. Manufacturers can provide photo­chromic demonstrators in the form of UV light boxes that allow the patient to see the difference between lenses exposed to UV light and the lens color indoors.

Some manufacturers also offer unique selective filtration lenses and mirror coatings for special purposes like bicycling, golf, tennis, and driving. Demonstration aids will help patients experience the benefits first-hand before making a purchase decision. Be sure to use all of these in your presentation.

Activities that are important to me:
o Driving a car
o Bicycling
o Motorcycling or ATV use
o Boating/Jet Skiing
o Snow Skiing
o Waterskiing
o Ice Skating
o Golfing
o Fishing
o Running/Jogging
o Triathlon
o Rock Climbing
o Hiking
o Hunting/Target Sports
o Other (Please specify)
Areas of concern:
o Distance vision
o Near vision
o Intermediate vision
o Safety
o Wind protection
o Light protection
o Dry eyes
o Annoying reflections
o Other (please specify)

Do you have a “script” on the tip of your tongue for explaining polarization, photochromics, safety lens materials, anti-reflective (AR) treatments, mirror treatments, and selective filtration specialty lenses? For example, do you understand the vision needs of a “Baby Boomer” bicycle racer, a golfer, or a downhill skier? The explanation is really part of the demonstration. Keep up with new technology, materials, and products and you’ll stay top-of-mind with patients.

Once you know what activities are important to your patients, it’s your turn to shine with recommendations that address their needs in terms of both Rx and activity. Note that many of the cate­gories overlap—that’s a plus. For example, polarization and photo­chromics work for many activities. Many manu­facturers offer interchangeable lenses, direct Rx programs, and flip-ups. For the patient, it means getting multiple uses from the same high-performance sunwear. Here are a few examples of sunwear performance products you may want to consider recommending.

Lens products like Younger Optics’ Drive­wear® or some from Ser­en­­­geti offer great comfort for those behind the wheel much of the time. Drivewear hard resin and polycarbonate lenses are available in single vision, FT28 (hard resin only), and progressive designs. They are polarized and change color and darkness, even behind the windshield. Seren­geti Drivers, Drivers Gradi­ent, and Polar PhD™ offer sporty frame and lens combinations in high contrast photo­­chromic glass and polarized NXT®. They are available in Rx from partner labs.

Rudy Project North America and Bollé have many frame and lens options available in plano and Rx forms. Rudy Project Exception Titanium with Impactx™ Photo­polarized gray lenses makes a great combo for cyclists. There are many interchangeable lens color choices and it’s available with an Rx insert that can be used with or without contact lens wear. It also has a flip-up option that switches from dark to clear in an instant.

From Bollé, take a look at the Draft. This is a high-tech look with many high-tech features, includ­ing B-CLEAR lenses made with ultra-lightweight Trivex® material. It’s an extreme wrap, available in many lens colors, and as a direct Rx lens.

Revo recently introduced the Water Lens, a high-contrast polarized lens that is color optimized for the open water. The lens allows red and green light in, but cuts down on blue light transmission. The total light transmission is about 10%, which is perfect for a really sunny day on the boat. It’s available in four frame styles and is Rxable. For more information on the Revo Water Lens, see “Revo Lenses Hit the Water.”

Wiley X Eyewear has the goods for motorcycle and ATV riding, target sports, dry eye, and wind issues. The AirRage features a wrap design and a removable, soft foam vented facial cavity seal to keep out dust and wind, which also helps with dry eyes. It’s Rxable through partner labs. Wiley X offers many other designs that are activity specific too, from fishing to shooting, and some have lenses that are interchangeable.

The best way to get patients to buy the sunwear options they really need is to analyze their lifestyle, and it’s as easy as A-D-E!

Sharon Leonard is a licensed optician and contact lens practitioner in the Syracuse, NY, area.

800-222-6553 •

888-940-REVO •

Rudy Project North America
888-860-7597 •

888-838-1449 •

Wiley X Eyewear
800-776-7842 •

Younger Optics
800-366-5367 •


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