Stocking single vision lenses, like HOYA VISION CARE’s Nulux ep, can help a practice’s profit picture.

Stocking single vision lenses can help improve your profit picture.

It’s not something most optical dispensaries usually talk about, but there’s a stable product that supports nice margins and contributes to the profitability of the office: single vision lenses. Produced with a single prescription, they represent a substantial portion of overall eyewear sales, and for many offices, a good portion of their profits. Even so, is it worth stocking single vision lenses or should you buy them one pair at a time as needed?

There are two ways to look at the financial aspects of stocking single vision lenses. If you do it, you’ll have to take in an adequate supply to have what you need on a daily basis. This means you have to put out a fair amount of money. It also means you’ll have a lot of money sitting around in the lens drawers and the lenses that don’t sell are not turning over your investment.

On the other side of the coin, buying stock lenses in bulk saves a good deal of money off the “per-pair” price that lens suppliers offer. On average, this sizable discount runs between 15% and 30% off the per-pair price.

While stock single vision lenses and anti-reflective (AR) treated stock lenses vary considerably in cost, let’s assume your average price for stock lenses on a per-pair basis is $30, which includes a variety of lens materials. It also includes about 30% of the lenses being AR treated. If you sell 10 pairs a day every working day for a year, your bill would come out to about $15,000. If you’re receiving a 30% discount for buying bulk, you saved $9,000 off that cost.

BANK ON IT Some labs offer what might be called a “lens bank” for single vision stock lenses. When eyecare professionals buy stock lenses in bulk, they actually buy the option to withdraw a lens from the company at any time. When one is needed, just order it and it’s sent. This means there aren’t any cabinets full of lenses waiting for the right person to buy them. Contact lens companies have been doing this with soft lenses for years; spectacle lens labs are now doing the same for spectacle lenses.

Looking at this another way, for 30% of the orders you sell that use stock lenses, all of the money charged for the lenses is pure profit because you’re not paying for those lenses.

According to a study done by Younger Optics, 85% of Rx’s fall between +3.00D and -3.00D. Stocking this range of lenses means that (statistically) you’ll be able to produce glasses for 85 of 100 people that enter your office. Then bring that range up to +/-4.00D and you’ll service 92% of patients. Bring it up to +/-5.00D and that will cover 95% of Rx’s. These values are spherical equivalents so consider taking stock out to about a 1.50D to 2.00D cylinder on these Rx’s.

Many offices are now stocking single vision lenses that are already AR treated. This can result in some terrific savings.

Which materials should you stock? Only you can answer this question. Review your sales records and see which materials sell the most. Those are the ones to stock. According to The Vision Council, about 50% of all lenses sold in the U.S. are polycarbonate, making it an attractive material to have on hand.

Stocking single vision lenses can help your profit picture. Especially if you’re edging lenses in-house, it’s something you should strongly consider.

Nallibe Mehfoud is a licensed optician in Richmond, VA. She works in an ophthalmology setting where she practices fashion eyewear dispensing.

Timothy Coronis is an ABO Certified Technical speaker and writer in Keene, NH.


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