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The Latest in Low Vision Aids to Increase Independence

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The national eye institute estimates that by 2050 the number of people with visual impairment and blindness in the U.S. will double to 8 million. Low vision can result from a number of causes and can lead to depression in patients who struggle to read, write, watch TV, see distant objects or enjoy their hobbies. Often ophthalmologists will refer patients to low vision optometrists. These ECPs work with the patient to choose a device that allows them to perform routine daily activities and regain some lost independence. There are many aids to choose from including illuminated magnifiers, special tinted lenses for contrast, portable video magnifiers or wearable technology based on magnification. Now there’s even artificial computer vision programs that can verbalize information to a patient.  


Enhanced Vision

Mojo electronic monocular

(888) 811-3161 | enhancedvision.com 


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Eschenbach

Visolux Digital XL FHD portable video magnifier with interactive touch screen, speech output and camera.

(800) 487-5389 | eschenbach.com


Ocutech

VES Falcon autofocus bioptic telescope

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(800) 326-6460 | ocutech.com 


OrCam Technologies

MyEye 2 artificial vision device

(800) 713-3741 | orcam.com 


HIMS

GoVision PRO HD video magnifier

(888) 520-4467 | hims-inc.com 


Smart Ways to Sell Low Vision Aids

Dr. Tom Porter ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY, ST. LOUIS, MO

Over my career, I estimate I’ve seen 35,000 low vision patients. Prior to a visit with me, I ask patients to make a note of what they can’t do and what they want to do with their current level of vision. I call these notes their visual goals. My clinical exam then addresses the power of the low vision aid they’ll need by looking at the duration of the task at hand and the level of working distance required to complete it. I view all low vision aids as tools and sometimes patients need to use multiple aids to solve the problem. I use virtually every manufacturer’s brand for one application or another. We still use a lot of illuminated hand-held and stand magnifiers, small video magnifiers, telescopic low vision aids that are hand-held or spectacle mounted and tinted lenses either as a slipover or custom prescription.

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Dr. Bryan Wolynski GLASSES ON FIRST, NEW YORK CITY

Every low vision patient is different and assisted technology is personal to that individual. After I get a referral from an ophthalmologist, I carry out a five-minute phone call with the patient. I want them to understand what low vision is all about and advise them not to get their hopes up too high. Many of them are depressed because their vision isn’t what it used to be. Once I explain what I can do for them, I find that sets us up for success. I carry out a goal-oriented exam where history taking is important and I concentrate on their goals. Do they want to read a newspaper, an email, or a book? I give them a packet that explains that the cost of these devices can range from $100s to $1,000s of dollars. Medicare should cover the cost but it doesn’t, so patients pay for themselves. I carry a range of daily living aids from high-powered magnification glasses to telescopes to head-worn devices. My favorites are Ocutech’s bioptics and OrCam’s wearable technology.

Carol Gilhawley is a contributing writer for INVISION.

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Better Vision

Lenses Finally Get the Visual Sales Aid They Need

Why tell patients the lenses benefits when several companies now allow you to show them.

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SALES APPS FOR lenses come in many forms, whether a filter on a popular social media site or a freestanding lens display kit. In January, both Essilor and ZEISS came out with new lens apps. Essilor’s LenSelect helps ECPs demonstrate premium lenses to their patients. ZEISS’ interactive lens demo display comes with an iPad, new app and demo lenses . The app makes recommendations based on the patient’s answers and then texts or emails the practice before an exam. Purple Go is finding some success with its lens pricing app for optical retailers. Jeremy Huff, co-founder and CEO, said: “Opticians close sales twice as fast when using Purple Go’s lens pricing worksheet.” Whatever app your lens manufacturer suggests, they all aim to help you sell more lens options.

Signet Armorlite

Kodak lens ids (intelligent dispensing software)

(800) 759-4630 | signetarmorlite.com

Essilor

LenSelect dispensing app

(214) 496-4000 | essilorusa.com

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Zeiss

Interactive lens demo display

(866) 596-5467, www.zeiss.com/lenses

Transitions

Snapchat filter for ECPs that allows patients to virtually try on different frame styles with Transitions Light Intelligent Lenses.

(800) 533-2081 | transitions.com

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Purple Go

(415) 712-1325 | purplego.co/optical

BluTech

The Lens Display Kit to compare BluTech Ultra indoor lens and BluTech polarized polycarbonate lens.

(800) 258- 5902 | blutechlenses.com

Smart Ways To Sell Lenses Using Sales Apps

Venus Sosa, Sears Optical, Miami, FL

The Transitions SnapChat filter is a very creative way to appeal to the younger generation. I think for a long time there was this idea that only the older generation used Transitions lenses but I love the way the attitude is changing. The filter is a smart way to market Transitions lenses and attract people from all walks of life. Using technology and a very popular social media app, it has added a hip and interactive spin to the lenses. In addition to showing our patients how to use it, the SnapChat filter is a fun way to also involve my friends and family. I can introduce them to Transitions in a unique way, by including them in the video with me. It’s great that the filter changes sceneries, background music and even the frames and lenses that appear on our faces.

Dr. Amy Tran, Looksie Optometry, San Francisco, CA

We are one of the first beta test sites for Purple Go. I was doing a lot of paperwork and lens options were low. Using the Purple Go app on an iPad over the past 20 months, we can continually offer customized progressives, high index, Trivex and digital lenses all with top-of-the-line AR coatings. We use Purple Go as a tool to review lens options with our patients while taking their insurance and co-pays into consideration. We select their insurance from a drop-down menu to show patients their out-of-pocket expenses. It streamlines the conversation; side by side on the screen they can see how much their co-pay is along with the price for each lens option such as: type, material, treatment, sun protection and photochromic. We then review these costs with them on the screen.

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Better Vision

In-House Finishing ‘Edges’ Out Profit

While reducing turnaround time and errors for happier patients.

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FINISHING JOBS IN-HOUSE can be a real bonus for many eyecare professionals. Even though there’s an initial upfront cost to buying a machine, savings can be realized soon thereafter. According to The Vision Council, about 53 percent of all ECP locations have some type of finishing equipment on-site with a further 20 percent owning a surfacing system. There are certainly many efficient and reliable machines to choose from since most manufacturers include retail edgers in their line of lens finishing systems.

 

Luneau Technology USA

Briot Perception 2, Briot Attitude, WECO E.3/2

(800) 729-1959, luneautech.com

 

Optek International

E1000-GP Edger, FD-80 Tracer, LS-82 Blocker, DM-1000 Lens Drill, Dia E1000-E920

(727) 522-2301, optekinternational.com

 

MEI System

EzFit No Block

(630) 521 8588 | meisystem.com

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Essilor Instruments USA

Pro-E 700 edging system, KAPPA, Special Edition edger

(855) 393-4647 | essilorinstrumentsusa.com

 

National Optronics

17Ex Edger, QM-X3

(800) 800-1550 | nationaloptronics.com

 

Santinelli International

Me 1200, Lex 1200, LEXCE, Le 1200, Le 700

(800) 644-3343 | santinelli.com

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Coburn Technologies

Excelon HPE-410, Exxpert HPE 8000X, HPE-810

(800) 262-8761 | coburntechnologies.com

 

Smart Ways To Sell In-House Edging

Penn Moody, OD, MOODY EYES, INDIANAPOLIS, IN

In 2011, we decided to add an edging lab for better control over expenses and quality. At Vision Expo we chose the DIA from Optek. We’ve been very pleased with this choice. The vertical orientation allows the pressure on the lens to be adjusted during edging. We purchased a second DIA in 2017. We now process over 80 percent of our glasses, which has added substantially to our profitability and patient satisfaction.

Wendy Salle, SALLE OPTICIANS, ATLANTA, GA

We’ve been edging in-house for the past 30 years. I had to put in a second machine this year because of the volume. We’re up to about 25 jobs a day on two Santinelli machines, the Me1200 and the LEXCE. We do a lot of custom rimless work which can take an inordinate amount of time. But, it’s hard to find a lab that does good finish work and it’s a no-brainer for me to do it in-house. I don’t look at cost savings but I do look at being able to have ultimate control over our products.

Ronald Garbatini, ROYAL VISION ASSOCIATES NEW HAVEN, CT

We were spending between $8,000-$10,000 a month in lab bills before we got the Briot Attitude in 2016. Now we’ve cut that in half. Even though it’s an expensive machine, it’s paid for itself already. We edge about 30-50 jobs a day through this machine: everything from poly to plastic, high index, single vision, progressives to flat top bifocals. Patients like that we do jobs in-house, especially if they use private insurance.

 

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Better Vision

3 Eyecare Pros on Bundling Lens Packages for Easier Sales

Frame companies partner with lens manufacturers to offer combined product.

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WHEN IT COMES to bundling services, the telecommunications companies have it down to a fine art. Bundling phone, Internet and TV can save consumers a lot of money. That principle is becoming more common in the optical industry. Some frame companies have partnered with lens manufacturers to offer combined product while others promote a lens and premium lens features option.

Essilor has its Ultimate Lens Package which offers packaged lens features for single vision and presbyopic patients. Tifosi Optics, with its lightweight durable frames, is pairing them with HOYA Rx lenses. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then some of these bundled packages could look very attractive to your patients.

EyeOs Premium Readers

SmartRx complete prescription eyewear package with aspheric or digital single vision lenses, as well as 100 percent backside digital progressive lenses. All SmartRx eyewear packages come with premium AR.

(800) 625-1880, eyeoseyewear.com


Shamir

The Shamir Autograph III: For Work – Shamir WorkSpace, and Play – Shamir Attitude III Fashion.

(877) 514-8330 shamirlens.com


Tifosi/Hoya

Advanced Sun Packages feature a Coppertone polarized lens and can be purchased in SingleVision iQ lenses or in the HOYALUX Array progressive lenses. Tifosi’s Marzen Tortoise frame with HOYALUX Array Brown lenses.

Tifosi Optics (866) 310-0996 tifosioptics.com

HOYA (800)818-4692, hoyaoptics.com


Essilor

The Ultimate Lens Package includes Eyezen+, Crizal Sapphire 360° UV and Transitions Signature VII for single vision patients and Varilux X Series, Crizal Sapphire 360° UV and Transitions Signature VII for presbyopic.

(800)377-4567, essilorusa.com

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Smart Ways to Sell Bundled Lenses

Dr. Rahim KanjiModern Eyes Optometry, Virginia Beach, VA 

Patient satisfaction is the highest we’ve ever had with any Essilor product with the Ultimate Lens Package and its current incentive. A majority of our patients have some form of medical vision insurance which discounts the cost of the first set of lenses and a portion or all of the frame. They get the second set of lenses of equal or lesser value at no charge and are responsible for the retail price of the second frame. In my 13 years of private practice this is the first time I have seen a promotion of this caliber directly from a manufacturer. In the exam room I say to my patients, “there’s a manufacturer’s promotion going on right now where they’re giving away a second set of lenses at no charge to you. It’s a deal of a lifetime and may not be offered again, so I highly recommend you take advantage of it.” The beauty is there’s a progressive lens and a single vision lens option. Both come with a smart blue filter, Crizal coating and Transitions. A majority of our patients take advantage of the polarized Xperio UV sunglass lenses for their complimentary second set of lenses. Before now, while many patients valued the importance of polarized sunglasses, very few actually purchased them until the Ultimate Lens Package came out in September. Our optical staff has been overwhelmed with multiple pairs sales and in the first few months of the promotion we sold more ophthalmic suns than we did the entire year leading up to the promotion. Many of our patients have also referred their friends, family members and co-workers to our office for the promotion too.

Sarah BocashEyelook Optical, Portsmouth, NH

Offering EyeOs’ SmartRx total frame and lenses package is a new avenue for us. We have always offered ZEISS lenses but previously when patients bought an EyeOs frame with a ZEISS CR39 lens with AR coating it cost them about $325.  For the past few months we’ve been offering EyeOs ophthalmic quality frames with very good quality lenses in a complete frame and lenses package that costs $159+ for single vision and $269+ for digital PAL. We’re aiming the total package at Millennials who want convenience and quality products at an affordable price. We can create a customer relationship with them by giving them better quality than they would get online and by having our optician fit them. I also love to use SmartRx as a second and third pair option when price becomes an issue. We’re a high-end boutique and this deal has opened the door for us to offer a quality product at a good price. It’s a product we’re comfortable standing behind.

Dr. Cindy Seemann Design Vision Optical, Wauwatosa, WI 

Tifosi is a new sunglass line for us. We carry other sun lines with RX but they are more expensive. With the Advanced Sun Package, Tifosi fits a great price point and we love the option of having the HOYA lab do the RX lenses. Tifosi has the frames and HOYA has the lenses — brands that are very well recognized in the active sports market.

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