Formerly Optician Success but still the same tasty, weekly nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your optical retail business/career.
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
Freedom Isn’t Free (Its Restriction Sure Can Be Bought)
Ok, so here’s my inflammatory hypothesis of the day: The AOA’s battle against “telemedicine” is not only hypocritical but bad for optometry.
First, let’s be clear, I’m not optometry-bashing. I just happen to think the zealotry when it comes to ODs and the fight against refraction technology is myopic and wrong-headed; the exact opposite of what needs to be done to prepare for the future. My point instead is to suggest that ODs with an open mind can and should do much better.
So let’s start with the hypocrisy. This is important because the industry is already suffering from a lack of trust.
This week, a judge dismissed Opternative's suit against South Carolina's Eye Care Consumer Protection Law, which specifically bans ocular telehealth.
Among those supporting the judge's decision is the American Optometric Association.
“This ruling puts the health and safety of patients ahead of the for-profit business interests of Opternative,” said Barbara L. Horn, OD, and the AOA's vice president.
That must have taken some practice to say with a straight face. No for-profit business interests on behalf of ODs, I’m sure. But, she’s got patient health and safety on her side.
“In-person, comprehensive eye exams are the gold standard when it comes to protecting and preserving patients’ eye and vision health,” said Christopher J. Quinn, OD, the AOA's president.
You’d be hard-pressed to find many who disagree.
So, let me ask a few honest questions.
Why is a refraction (and not the gold standard) the requirement to buy glasses in most states?
Why is it that the American Optometric Association recommends an exam every two years for healthy adults; the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends before the onset of presbyopia, routine eye examinations are not indicated and that otherwise healthy adults ages 40 to 54 need only get an exam every two to four years, yet prescriptions (refractions) in South Carolina expire after only one year? “For-profit business interests”, indeed.
Why is no one overly concerned with the health and safety of emmetropes? Might they not also die from missed diagnoses? Whose fault would that be? The AOA for not lobbying on their behalf to require prescriptions for plano sunwear?
Maybe you can explain some of this to me so it makes sense, but do you see how there might be, at least, the appearance of some hypocrisy here?
On to “bad for optometry.”
Technology and change are coming. What’s more, the internet has a strong tendency to bring transparency. So, apparent disingenuousness and hypocrisy, in the name of self-preservation, cannot be the best way forward. At some point, bigger money will get involved on the other side—the market is too big for it not to—self-refraction will become a reality, and the AOA strategy will backfire. The consequences and loss of trust from the already skeptical consumer, represent a much larger threat to optometry and the reputation of the industry as a whole, than the acceptance of refraction technology today. That’s without even getting into the potential benefits that actual telemedicine could bring if not blocked by “eye care protection” laws. The phrase, “cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes to mind.
Why not instead, flip the model on its head, embrace refraction technology, use its greater availability to drive more retail traffic (of course, your optical has to be pretty damn remarkable and I realize that not all ODs are set up like this) and then employ relationship building, continued communication, and education to feed the exam rooms. Not easy, but I suggest that it could bring vastly more profits on the retail side, help rebuild trust all around, and certainly beat what lies ahead.
Let me know your thoughts on this one. I’d like to know if you think I’ve missed something or gone wrong somewhere.
On an unrelated note, the U.S. fell to 17th in the Cato Institute's Human Freedom Index.
5 Ways To Find Success in Optical Retail (or Anywhere)
The best lesson you’ll ever learn is that your education in life should never stop. Not only that, but the best education you’ll ever receive will most certainly not come in the classroom. You’re going to learn through your personal experiences, family, relationships and competitive ventures. And even when you think you have all the skills you need, you have to remind yourself that you always need more.
Don’t sit back and think that you’ve become the expert just because you’re getting by in your job. You literally and figuratively cannot afford to do so, particularly when the world around you is constantly evolving. Technology changes, and smarter, more efficient processes enter the workforce. Bold, new ideas from incredibly creative people replace old ideas.
We should strive to live happy, fulfilling lives that lead us to become the best person we want to be. There are plenty of opportunities for you to live this life. Here are some methods to get started.
Why People Like “Bad” (Or Is It Something Else?)
We’ve seen the narrative time and time again on the big screen… the hot girl chooses the tattoo-covered, motorcycle-driving, aviator-wearing, bad guy over the good guy.
Art and Science of Eyewear
With the increasing demand for experiences over simple product transactions, what if you set up your optical like a science/art museum?
What if you put together a collection of science museum-quality displays demonstrating the power of prism, for example, or high-power lenses mixed with art, perhaps framed or 3-D optical illusions?
What if your AR and lens thickness demonstrators looked and felt more like interactive exhibits than sales tools?
If done well, you might become a local attraction. People would certainly talk.
OpticianWorks Video Of The Week: The Nominal Lens Formula - Part 3
If you can handle the madness of Part 3 coming out after part 4… How does the Nominal Lens Formula or more importantly the relationship between front and back curves affect lens thickness in plus and minus lenses? Watch and find out.
Through the OpticianWorks free video lessons, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.
You can help keep it going in two ways:
Become a paid member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).
Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent uncut work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Retail Success.
Here’s to your success in this year and beyond.
Thanks for reading and sharing!