Patients appreciate ECPs who carry a range of styles of readers (eyebobs Style No. 2275 is shown here).

Over-the-counter or readymade readers can be beneficial to many patients and help your business.

Sometimes referred to as “cheaters,” readymade readers are so much more than just accessories for patients. And while they’ve passed the test of time and have made their way into some optical offices, there are still some who feel that over-the-counter (OTC) readers are strictly for people with 20/20 vision. Ultimately, though, there are many reasonable opportunities to recommend readers.

Emmetropic patients are those who have no refractive error for distance. In other words, their Rx reads 0.00D for both eyes for distance. Presbyopic emmetropes are individuals who need a correction for near vision. Readymade readers are ideal for these patients for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it’s most likely that they are not accustomed to wearing Rx eyewear or sunwear and may not fully understand the cost factors that include brands, materials, manufacturing, processing, shipping, etc. Readymade readers are a less expensive alternative for first-timers. Also, because their out-of-pocket expense may be lower than “customized” readers, there is an opportunity for multiple sales. Early and mature Baby Boomers can be great target markets for OTC readers.

Eyebobs eyebobs Handmade with top materials, eyebobs are not your grandparents’ cheaters. Eyebobs are for those who demand cutting-edge style and superior quality with an irreverent and slightly jaded attitude. They’ve got a style and color to suit every look, from dignified classics to big, bold, and bright. Eyebobs eyewear is designed for those who aren’t afraid to make a statement. Wallflowers need not apply!
FGX International Private Eyes Private Eyes is a reading glass program available exclusively to eyecare professionals. Fashionable styles for women and men feature upgraded elements patients won’t find in the drugstore, like polycarbonate lenses, anti-reflective treatments, and a protective carrying case. Styles range from classic to fashion-forward and include sun readers.
Hilco Sunglass Readers
Hilco’s Sunglass Readers include an inconspicuous bifocal segment for comfortable near and distance viewing. This collection features impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses that deliver 100% UV shielding with oversized lenses that provide maximum sun protection and comfort. All styles feature high- quality, on-trend frames.


What about patients with +0.50D or -0.50D for distance that has a +2.00D add? Do they really need bifocals or progressives with an Rx that weak? Many people in this category will find OTC readers to be an acceptable solution, especially if they just need a spare pair (or two or three) to keep around the house or in the office. The same goes for those with low cylinder like -0.50D or -1.00D.

Hilco’s Sunglass Readers include an inconspicuous bifocal segment for comfortable near and distance viewing.

Patients who have recently had cataract removal surgery present great opportunities for ECPs selling OTC readers. Since most cataract surgeries result in near 20/20 outcomes for the patient due to intraocular lenses (IOLs) being implanted, generally speaking, the need for high-powered lenses is irrelevant. Even so, many patients will require near vision help because their IOLs are a single power. Some newer IOLs aid in distance and near vision, but even in these cases, patients sometimes find that a little extra power up for near tasks is helpful. OTC readers also come in handy as an affordable alternative for temporary eyewear until patients pick up their new prescription 30 days after the surgery—just recommend that they keep the OTC readers as a backup pair.


Post LASIK patients and contact lens patients are also great candidates for OTC readers for a variety of reasons. LASIK patients, especially those who are presbyopic, will need additional plus power to aid in near vision tasks. The same goes for single vision contact lens patients. Monovision contact lens patients will sometimes find OTC readers to be a good option, especially if they remove one of the reader lenses, making the combination result in the same power in both eyes (when the reader’s plus power is added to the weaker plus contact lens).

FGXi’s Private Eyes readers are available exclusively to ECPs (Regina is shown here).

For patients who don’t want to keep track of where they left their favorite pair of readers, try offering OTC segmented multifocals. You know, those in-stock and ready-to-roll flat-top bifocals with plano on the top and an add power on the bottom. They allow wearers to use their own eyes for distance and the readers for close up without having to take them on and off repeatedly. Take this a step further and recommend OTC sunwear readers. Most offer protection from visible light and harmful UV. They’re not only practical, but fashionable, too!

For a patient who’s out for an evening with her friends, and dressed to the nines, there are many readers that fit the bill. In this era of endless style and color options, there’s really no reason for anyone to feel like they have to dig out an old-fashioned-looking pair of readers. Be sure to recommend several styles for different images.

ASSESS THE SITUATION It’s often the case that consumers hold their watch or piece of paper too close to their eyes as they consider which readymade readers to buy. Keep this in mind when your patients inquire about OTC readers, and find out what their working distance is. (Just ask them to estimate the distance from their eyes to the location of the object they will be viewing.) If they can’t make a good guess, then have them simulate the task in your office, and take it from there. An added bonus: this may also encourage patients who perform multiple tasks to purchase multiple pairs.

OTC readers can be recommended for computer uses who are either emmetropes or nearly emmetropic. They’ll find that the single power of OTC readers gives them a full field of view while their progressives or segmented multifocals sometimes make it challenging to get a crisp view of the computer screen.

Readymade readers offer enough plus power for young presbyopes to comfortably view their monitors. When you’re working with more mature patients, just ask how far their monitor is from their eyes. Is it the same distance as the keyboard? If so, you can help them select the right amount of plus power. Those who use laptops are generally happy with readers because the distance between the keypad and screen and the eyes is about the same.

If you’ve resisted offering OTC readers, you may want to reconsider. Omitting them from your in-house offerings could leave a gap in your bottom line.

Jackie O’Keefe is a licensed optician and a writer, lecturer, and course preparer in the Virginia Beach, VA, area.


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