Many of your patients will benefit from impact-resistant lenses, and the best way to find out is simply to ask them about their lifestyles.

Getting to know your patients is crucial as everyone has their own story to tell. For impact resistance, there are a number of written questions that can be included in your standard questionnaires followed by an in-person discussion to guide you to the lens type you should recommend for your patients.

Paper questionnaires are a good place to start, yet most only offer patients the option to check yes or no. In the case of impact-resistant lenses, it might be useful to offer options along with the question or ask patients to jot down a few words. The questionnaire is not comprehensive; it only indicates a want or need for something or a potential problem. Another limitation is that the questionnaire is completed in the waiting room where no one can ask the patient any questions about their responses and where they can’t ask any questions of the eyecare professional (ECP).

The solution? Meaningful and useful lifestyle questionnaires. This is accomplished by using both a written questionnaire along with follow-up verbal questioning. The optician can probe deeper in a follow-up interview based on the answers in the questionnaire.

Over the years, lifestyle and health questionnaires have proven successful in learning about patients before they sit in the chair. Meaningful questions should cover the patient’s lifestyle as well as their health. For example, questions about their lifestyle allow patients to jot down what their passions are, while those about their health can alert the ECP to potential health concerns.

While you are likely to receive a plethora of responses, the goal here is to be prepared to evaluate the patient’s responses so the correct and meaningful lens recommendation can be made.

Initial written questions related to your patients’ health may include one or all of the following:

“Do you have monovision? Do you see with only one eye? Do you have glaucoma in one or both eyes?” When the written response is no, you may continue the conversation with a response like the following, “For your primary pair, I recommend lenses that offer standard impact resistance such as CR-39 (by PPG Industries) and 1.56 mid index, 1.60 high index, 1.67 and higher index lens materials. These meet ANSI standards for dresswear. They are great choices for patients with healthy eyes like yourself.”

Written lifestyle questions may include, “What sporting activities are you engaged in? What are your favorite hobbies? What do you do for a living?” Their written answers could vary widely and may include sporting activities such as motorcycling, downhill skiing, surfing, playing soccer; hobbies may include coaching baseball, stained glass cutting, furniture making or even lounging by the pool. For those whose responses indicate that impact resistance is not required, recommend the above standard-impact lenses.

When the written response to the health-related question about monovision above is yes, we know that eye protection is a must. We can now ask:

“How do you feel about protecting your eyes…especially your healthy eye? I recommend lens materials that are safer than dresswear.” Polycarbonate and Trivex are more impact-resistant lens materials and meet ANSI standards for industrial use. Oakley’s Plutonite lenses, Essilor of America’s Airwear and ZEISS’s polycarbonate lenses are smart choices. Other great choices are Trivex by Shamir Insight, Phoenix by Hoya Vision North America and Trilogy by Younger Optics.”

Based on the written responses to your lifestyle questions, you are now in a position to verbally recommend. For patients who are active in sports, participate in potentially harmful hobbies or whose work environment requires impact resistance, polycarbonate and Trivex again are great recommendations.

When the written responses reference activities such as skeet shooting, hunting, skydiving, archery and other extreme activities, recommending lenses that exceed the above standards is a must. Tell the patient,

“We can offer you lens material choices that exceed ANSI standards for impact resistance. Combat military personnel currently wear these lenses.Wiley X VO Ballistic lenses and Rudy Project ImpactX are the perfect options.”

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) develops voluntary consensus standards that it accredits to manufacturers. Any standards that manufacturers choose to follow are completely voluntary, but one of the most important in regards to eye protection is the ANSI Z87.1-2010, which defines, “The minimum requirements for eye and face protection devices…” under designated conditions and with regards to their intended purpose.

A heartfelt testimonial can be added to the recommendation. “Mr. Doe, you remind me of my brother who is also an extreme in-motion athlete and hobbyist. I would feel so much better knowing that you are wearing the absolute best lenses during these activities. They are worth the added expense.”

Jackie O’Keefe, LDO, is a writer, speaker, course preparer and consultant in the Tidewater area of Virginia.


Carl Zeiss Vision 800-358-8258

Essilor Of America 800.377.4567 •

HOYA Vision North America 800-423-2361 •

Oakley, Inc. 800-733-6255 •

PPG Industries 800-323-2487 •

Rudy Project 888-860-7597 •

Shamir Insight, Inc. 877-514-8330 •

Wilex X, Inc. 800-776-7842 •

Younger Optics 800-366-5367 •


Leave A Reply