Why Should Our Optical Matter?

One of my favorite parts of optometry is how many services and specialties we can provide our patients. We can focus on medical optometry and manage diseases such as glaucoma, dry eye, and macular degeneration. We have a large number of solutions available now in the specialty contact lens world, allowing us to change patients’ lives by helping them see clearly. 

However, many of us shy away from our optical and improving our optical sales, seeing it as an insurmountable challenge because of competition, or we feel that it is not a profitable part of our practices.

As someone who started their optometry career working as an optician, I have always loved optical sales. I spent a year before optometry school helping patients with frame selection, educating them on lens options, and even cutting lenses. I continue to be amazed at all of the new technology that exists in the optical world and how lucky we are to have this as part of our patient care in our practices.

Optical sales are truly important to a practice. Traditional benchmarks show that frame and lens sales can make up 40-45% of a practice’s revenue. That is a significant part of our income that we often don’t focus on, or that we let others in our practice manage.

Fresh off exciting back-to-back weeks at Vision Expo East and the NorthEast Optical Show, I am extremely inspired and excited about the future of optical sales in our practices. I met with incredible companies who are focused on independent practitioners and are independent themselves. I met with optometrists, opticians, and business owners who utilize great strategies to market their products and services to patients and continue to innovate and be on the cutting edge of the technology they offer. I also listened to practices share their successes on being independent of vision care plans, and how this has allowed them to practice authentically.

I’m excited to share many of these stories with you as we focus on optical sales success. We will hear from colleagues in the optometric and optical community on branding, innovation, sales strategy, and marketing. We will also learn how to make educated practice decisions to take (and keep!) control of our opticals, and we will cover how to find companies that align with the values and practices we are creating.

This is an extremely exciting time to be involved in independent eye care and eyewear. Focusing on fashion, technology, and products that support our personal and professional values not only serve to increase our optical revenue, but continues to change the landscape of the profession.

Yours in success,

Jennifer L. Stewart, OD 

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