Why Your Optical Should Use a Digital Measuring Device

Utilizing a digital device to obtain position-of-wear measurements on every single patient will provide a premium experience and help grow practice revenue.

Using reliable data to drive decisions is a smart strategy in achieving your practice growth goals. One source of data I look forward to comes from Jobson’s Annual Premium Lens MarketPulse Survey, which was recently published for 2023. As an optician who takes pride in providing the best for patients and helping others do the same, I took some findings from this survey to heart; data often does that — brings things to your attention that you may not have seen otherwise. I’d like to share some facts you may find surprising and nudge you to make some small changes that could in turn reduce troubleshooting and show your patients that you are ahead of the competition, all while increasing your revenue!

In this survey, retailers said that 48% of their progressive lens sales are personalized/compensated, on average. That’s a sensible amount, I’ll take it! However, 56% of retailers report using the manufacturers’ or lab’s default measurements for position-of-wear measurements — that means more opticians are NOT measuring than actually measuring for the personalized lenses being sold. Why, I may ask… 

This survey also points out that only 37% of retailers said that they have a digital measuring device in their office to take position-of-wear measurements. This is likely a major factor as to why measurements aren’t getting taken, but of the 37% of the offices that have a digital measuring device, only 51% say they use it 75-100% of the time. 

If you are amongst the small percentage of offices that has, and regularly uses, a digital measuring device for personalized lenses, keep up the good work — you are selecting some of the best lenses and optimizing them to their fullest potential, so your customers receive the best vision and eye care experience possible! If you’re among the majority of offices that do not have (or regularly use) a digital measuring device, let me share several reasons why you should and what to consider when selecting a device.

The Best Lenses and Optics 
The point of having a digital measuring device is to take patient- and frame-specific measurements to have a fully optimized premium lens made. When you use a standard lens design, for example, it does not allow for optimizing with additional measurements. If you are among the 56% who use manufacturer or lab default values, you are not utilizing the lens designs’ full capabilities.

By offering premium lens designs, with customized position-of-wear measurements, you are maximizing the potential of advanced products, and in turn, improving wearer comfort and satisfaction. 

Premium lenses are more of an investment for the wearer, but in my experience, reviewing the differences between traditional and premium lens designs often leads to the customer choosing the premium lens. Premium lens sales can net your practice more revenue as they often have greater profit margins.

Unmatched Eye Care Experience
Whether measuring a new or returning patient with a digital measuring device, their annual visit is sure to be a much more memorable experience. The measuring process often garners interest from other customers in the optical who see the device being used, who then ask what it is, and if they too will get to experience it. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told, “This is so cool, I’ve never had this done before.”

Other benefits to measuring with a digital device are that they produce consistent measurements amongst various opticians, thus providing fewer fluctuations in the data from one pair of glasses to the next. Additionally, digital measuring devices can increase efficiency by getting more measurements in less time, which is a surefire way to get staff in the routine of taking position-of-wear measurements.

Measuring with a digital device ensures that the wearer will receive a more custom and superior pair of lenses. They leave excited and are eager to be notified when their new eyewear arrives. Excited and happy customers often share their story, which can generate new referrals, all while maintaining current patient satisfaction levels. 

Considerations When Choosing a Device
One good thing about using a digital measuring device is that the device manufacturer does not have to “match” the lenses you are using — you can use lens manufacturer “Company A” with measuring device manufacturer “Company C.” This is important because you aren’t getting forced to use something that may not be ideal for your office. Something to consider — if you do “match” your lens and device manufacturer, you open yourself up to potential savings on the cost of the device. 

  • Logistics: Where will this device live? Is it mobile or stationary? Floor or table-standing? Will the placement allow the patient to have their photo taken in good lighting and a natural position, while not affecting the flow of office traffic? Does it need to be plugged into a power outlet, another computer, or the internet, and will that be accessible where you plan to locate the device?
  • Utility: Not every device offers all the same features — some will have additional features such as frame comparison or lens simulations, which you may or may not want or need. Consider the ease of use and understanding — the operation of some devices is easier to grasp than others. Think about any staff who may use the device and what their limitations may be. Also consider how many photos are required to produce all measurements, whether you will need to remove mirrored or sun demo lenses, or if the measuring device requires an additional reference point contraption you have to put on the frame before measuring.
  • Payment Options: Most manufacturers will offer an outright purchase of their device, while some also offer third-party financing, or a set number of equal payments over a few months’ time. If you opt for a device where the manufacturer also happens to be your lens of choice, most times you can use your lens manufacturer rewards points towards the cost. If the device manufacturer is the same as your lab, you can often negotiate lens volume discounts towards the cost. Lastly, check to see if the device you choose requires any kind of monthly fee for use.

Two Recommended Devices
I have personally used these devices and would recommend them, depending on your practices’ needs. While they both offer all the measurements you’ll need for any lens, here are a few unique characteristics about each:

Shamir Spark 4 (table-standing):

  • EyeVote Readers’ Choice Winner — past three years
  • Device doubles as a mirror for multiple uses in dispensary
  • No need to remove mirrored demo lenses
  • No contraption to attach to frame
  • Try before you buy

OptikamPad (hand-held iPad):

  • Lens demos and frame compare modules
  • Versatile mobility 
  • Ability to transfer data directly to EHR
A digital measuring device ensures consistent measurements across opticians, providing fewer fluctuations in data from one pair of glasses to the next.

Here’s What Else Is Available On The Market

Time To Take Action!
Have your office discuss all the considerations to determine which digital measuring device would be best for your practice. After you’ve chosen the best option, reach out to the rep or company. Some devices allow a try before you buy, or you can arrange for a rep to bring the device to your office for a demonstration. This would also be a good time to brush up on your premium lens knowledge. After you get your new digital measuring device, be prepared to WOW your clients with a fantastic experience and exceptional vision!

  • Carissa Dunphy, ABOC

    Carissa Dunphy is an ABO-certified optician who has been working in eye care since 2008. She is a Marketing Specialist at PECAA and founded Optician Now. Carissa is also an expert contributor for INVISION Magazine, co-hosts the OWA Talks Podcast, and is a Vice-Chair on the Communications & Website Committee for the Optical Women’s Association. In 2022, Carissa was named an Innovator in the Most Influential Women in Optical by Vision Monday Magazine and was awarded the Leadership Scholarship Award from the Optical Women's Association.

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