When it comes to selling eyewear, creativity and product differentiation can set you apart from your competition.

Yes, you read that right, frame tints. Some savvy ECPs are thinking outside the box and tinting their plastic frames to create distinctive colors, designing made-to-order creations to suit patient demand. Plastic frames can easily absorb lens tints just like lenses, and the limits of what plastic frame colors you can create are up to your imagination. Frames can be tinted with solids, horizontal and vertical gradients, and even with bi-gradient colors.

If you are ready for a change or need to jump-start your office flair, consider the merits of lens tinting. Lens tints are fun, relatively inexpensive to produce, can be therapeutic, and have drastically evolved from the lackluster traditional gray, brown and G-15 solids of the past. Since their fashion boom in the 1940s, tints are now available in a wide variety of colors and chemicals. The margins on them are huge, and their application techniques have also evolved, allowing you to quickly become a lens tinting expert.

In order to tint you do not need a ton of equipment, space or know-how. If you have ever dyed an Easter egg, you can tint a lens. Tint units can be purchased as small as single-pot units and as large as nine-pot systems. While the application methods can vary, the profits tints can generate will definitely help your bottom line. For more information on where to buy a modern tint unit, tools and supplies, check out the offerings from Phantom Research Laboratories, BPI, Hilco Vision, Practical Systems, Inc. (PSI) and OptiSource International. In addition to the equipment there, you can also find a wide assortment of consumables, such as tints, lens holders, transfer fluid, pots and other tinting supplies.

Mechanical gradient arms allow lenses to be tinted evenly without the need to hold a pair of lenses by hand for many minutes while standing over a tint unit. The end result with a gradient arm will always deliver higher quality with consistent and evenly colored lenses. For those who are interested in tinting multiple pairs at the same time, take a peek at BPI’s Turbo Gradient 4/Turbo Tinter 4. This combination unit uses an innovative spin motion (not just the regular up-and-down movement) to allow you to tint up to four pairs of lenses simultaneously.

While tints may not be for everyone, there is a segment of the market that has a passion for them. Plus, keep in mind that customers who enjoy fashion tints are more likely to want to purchase multiple pairs with different colors and tint darkness. Get the word out that you tint. Your competition may not, and finding a patient who likes to create their own exclusive collection may be your next new multiple pair sale.

To sell faster and communicate clearly, plan to have a wide assortment of tint sample lenses (with the percentage of tint documented) ready to go on the sales floor. A recommended tool to use is a label printer with the colors and darkness percentages. Rather than guessing or estimating a lens color with your patient, have them pick the exact color they are expecting. Then, take that specific sample to the lab to color match the new lenses. If you are looking to “true” color match any lens, consider Phantom’s OptiSafe Color Matching Unit model 120X. This tool allows for the tinter to see the color comparisons side by side in clear and dependable daylight simulated conditions.

As more information on potentially harmful blue light surfaces, there is a large demand and opportunity for lens options that reduce or block blue light. Products such as OptiSafe Blue Blocker from Phantom Research and the wide array of blue barrier tints from BPI can help to provide the answers to your blue light filtering needs. As a useful tool, BPI also offers a blue light filter vision tester to help demonstrate and test how blue light filters work. The handheld tester is small, portable and something that could easily fit at the dispensing table, or in any exam room.

Tinting outside the box also includes tinting the edges of lenses. If you are big on drill mounts, look at Hilco’s Lenz Penz edge-tinting collection. This set will allow you to add a dash of color to any drill mount by tinting the edge of a lens, whether polished or matte. You can use an AG-5 style auto groover to apply the Lenz Penz color simply by clamping the lens in the groover and turning on only the rotation (not the groover motor). This will allow for an even speed rotation for a balanced edge tint rather than an unsteady starting and ending point of the pen. The same technique can be used on grooved lenses. With these, you can use the same Lenz Penz, or you can even take a paint marker to create a custom painted look before mounting the lens in the rimless cord. Other distinctive tint ideas include tinting the nylon wire of your rimless frames. Or you can even combine the two methods together with your drill-mounted frames — groove the lenses, tint or paint the groove, and assemble in the drill-mount chassis for that one-of-a-kind showstopper look.

Whether you need a yellow nighttime driving tint or a lens to block a specific nanometer range of the light spectrum for the treatment of a visual problem, BPI offers proven therapeutic tints. These include a wide assortment of specially designed filters to reduce migraines, to correct for color blindness and more. The medical uses alone are quite vast, and you can research all of the essentials found on the BPI site. When you have the tints in-house, be sure to reach out to all of your local ophthalmologists and other MD specialists to let them know you have the potential answer of a lens tint to help their next patient. Also, reach out to local specialty groups such as shooting clubs and other groups that could benefit from your new lens tint color offerings.

Frank Gimbel, BA, ABOC-AC, FNAO, HFOAA, is an advanced certified optician and owner of Gimbel Opticians, in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

Brain Power, Inc. (BPI) 800.225.5274 Hilco Vision 800.955.6544 OptiSource International 800.678.4768 Phantom Research Laboratories, Inc. 800.225.5559 Practical Systems, Inc. (PSI) 800.237.8154


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