With summer just around the corner and blinding sunshine on its way, your patients may start to hum Timbuk3’s 1986 song “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades.” According to The Vision Council, 6.15 million pairs of Rx sun lenses were sold in the U.S in 2016, representing 7.4 percent of all Rx lenses sold, and an increase of 1.2 percent over 2015. About 43 percent of those lenses were sold through independent ECPs. There is thus clearly room for independent optometrists to make marketing improvements to boost their Rx sunglass sales.
Gannet shiny sea lavender crystal frame with grey 580 polycarbonate lenses. Costa
(800) 447-3700 costadelmar.com
Modern black Cali frame with SR-91 proprietary lenses in G12 and Glare 86 polarizing filter. Kaenon
(866) 523-6661, kaenon.com
Hunt sunglass frame with Happy grey-green lenses. SPY
(855) 655-8980, spyoptic.com
Xperio UV lens in a copper color. Essilor
(800) 377-4567, essilorusa.com
CrossRange frame with PRIZM lens. Oakley
(800) 403-7449, oakley.com
Lowdown sunglasses with ChromaPop lenses. Smith Optics
(888) 206-2995, smithoptics.com
Coppertone lenses in an O’Neill frame. Vision Ease
(800) 328-3449, visionease.com
Smart Ways to Sell Rx Sun Lenses
SportRx, San Diego, CA
“We’re a little unique because in the past four years we’ve primarily become an e-commerce dealer. About 95 percent of our orders come over the phone or our chat system. As a result, we carry over 40 brands. Whatever sport it is, we have something available. We determine the needs of customers based on their daily or preferred use of the eyewear they wish to order. If they’re not looking for an activity-specific pair, I recommend a good polarized lens with a mirror to reduce ambient glare and offer the best all-around protection. Kaenon has a polarizing filter for its lens material that is amazing. Oakley, too, is one of our top providers with its sport-specific lenses and a black iridium polarized lens that is a good all-around lens. If we don’t have specific agreements in place with frame manufacturers then we determine what lab to use based on our customers’ needs.”
Dr. Kirk Smick
Clayton Eye Center, Morrow, GA
“Seven years ago, we had a Luxottica rep do a sunwear presentation. It was very revealing. We had a nice sunglass display at the back of our optical. We learned we needed to put it up front. We re-arranged it and it made a big difference. We also changed our messaging when scheduling appointments. Now we encourage patients to bring all their optical devices with them, including sunglasses. A lot don’t have a prescription in their sunglasses but this plants the seed that perhaps they should.
“Now, each of our nine ODs suggest prescription sunglasses to patients during their exams.
“Many of them have insurance that helps toward the purchase of new glasses. When patients come in for their annuals and don’t need a new prescription, we recommend they use their insurance to get sunglasses. It almost becomes an every other year thing to do.
“We saw a sales increase of 20 to 25 percent from these changes.
“Some patients can’t afford a second pair, so we do a high percentage of Transitions, too.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 edition of INVISION.