Independent Optometry: Personalized Vision Care Recommendations and Measurements Critical in Maximizing Value

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO November 04, 2013
Download an infographic for your patients that highlights 4 things consumers need to know before buying new glasses, or visit the VSP Blog to share in social media.

Little Megan focuses clearly for the first time through her brand new +6.00’s.
Mrs. Jones dons a well-fitting, fashionable frame and chooses AR coating. She looks and feels younger.
Joe is definitely reading and remembering better with his new reading glasses.
Mr. Douglas just had his first afternoon drive, free of motion sickness, with his new vertical prism Rx.
Carl just learned about protecting his eyes with better control of his diabetes.
And it goes on and on.

Whether it is vision, medical, or both, independent doctors of optometry continue to do a great job in patient care. Much of the emphasis in optometry over the past decade has been on the medical model…and rightly so. Doctors of optometry continue to demonstrate expertise in medical treatment and management.

But let’s not forget, in addition to the medical model, optometry has much to offer in providing vision care solutions. Personal recommendations and accuracy in prescribing and dispensing are the keys to achieving the best outcome for the patient.  If we add in the savings which accrue when VSP Vision Care is added to the mix, the value proposition becomes even stronger.

We all know that both the air waves and the internet are full of folks attempting to commoditize materials selection and delivery. The assertion is that price is what counts and that the doctor is only needed to generate a basic prescription. Certainly, no importance is given to specific, personal doctor recommendations and the importance of quality and accuracy. In fact, one outrageous claim even characterizes the doctor as a “middle man.”

I say it is high time that we reclaim the message and remind the world that personal professional recommendations do matter and that lifestyle dispensing makes a difference. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing generic about solving the problems of our patients.

So what are we going to do about all this? How do we raise the perceived value of optometric services and remind everyone about the essential role of the doctor? How do we get the word out that one size does not fit all and that outcomes improve with personalized care? How do we remind our patients that both performance and value are maximized in our independent practices? How do we reinsert the doctor into the ophthalmic materials equation?

Currently, it is being left to the doctor to educate the patient once they get to the office. We need our message to reach potential patients BEFORE they come in. What do they need to hear? Well, they need to hear simple truths such as:

  • Excellent value is found in the independent doctor’s office.

  • One size does not fit all.

  • All progressive lenses are not equal.

  • One pair of glasses may not be adequate for all vision demands.

  • The doctor and the professional staff will consider your varying needs and make recommendations to improve your outcome!

We simply must step up our efforts to counter all the misinformation that abounds today. As I See It, we need to remind our patients of the importance of doctor recommendations in not only medical management, but also in vision care. We need to remind everyone that doctor input is integral in the selection and dispensing of ophthalmic materials. Contrary to internet claims, patients can expect to find real value in the independent doctor’s office.

We know that optometric problem solving is important and that outcomes improve when accompanied by professional guidance in dispensing.  We simply must reclaim the message and remind everyone that there is nothing generic about solving the problems of our patients.

Hear what Jim McGrann, President of VSP Vision Care, had to say about this topic in a recent interview with Mellisa Paul, host of Sac&Co:

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