Freeform progressives are commanding top dollar at many optometric practices, according to The Vision Council November 2012 Eye Care Professional Report. The most expensive progressive lenses being dispensed were free form progressives which sold on average for $413.14. Free form progressives were less expensive at smaller practices. Practices with only one location sold free form progressives for an average of $402.93, while practices with more than five locations sold free forms for $436.82 on average–over $30 more per pair. Free forms were also more expensive in the Midwest region of the US than other regions ($431.60 in the Midwest vs. $382.39 in the Mountain-Pacific region.
How freeform progressive lenses are doing in your practice?
If you have an average practice, you are seeing 2,200 patients for exams with refractions per year per doctor. Approximately 60 percent are getting eyeglasses–that would be 1,320 people (eg: .6 x 2,200 = 1,320). Of the 1,320 people who get glasses, approximately 50 percent are single vision and 50 percent are multifocals. That means 660 potential pairs of freeform progressive lenses per year could be sold in your practice.
The majority of consumers-68%-who previously wore progressive lenses and continue to wear progressives say they do so because they were satisfied with the design, according to The Vision Council’s 2012 Progressive Lens White Paper. Of first-time progressive purchasers, 42% said they wanted something they could use for both distance and reading while 39% said they wanted something that did not have a line visible to others. Only 26% switched to progressives because their ECP recommended they do so. Of consumers who previously wore single-vision lenses and switched to progressives, the majority said they did so because their prescription changed.
If 68% were satisfied with the lens design and 32% were not, that’s a problem. Doctors and opticians need to better link lens design to patient lifestyle.
So, how do you determine the patient lifestyle in your practice? As a group, eyecare providers have spent so much time trying to refine the medical history to meet reimbursement documentation requirements that we have ignored the lifestyle history questionnaire. So, let’s focus on the lifestyle history questionnaire today. Is it up to date? Does it include questions about tablet and smartphone usage? Does it question how much time the patient spends on near-work each day? If not, today is the day you should initiate an update.
The second issue here is lens design. We definitely need to make sure both doctors and opticians are matching patients’ lifestyles to the best lens design rather than just prescribing their favorite “safe” lens. This means taking the time to meet with lens manufacturer representatives, as well as in-depth discussions between doctors and opticians. Our goal is not to have a patient settle for an adequate lens design but rather to give our patients the best lens design for their unique lifestyle. Don’t forget to educate your patient about what you are doing and why.
Updating the patient lifestyle history questionnaire and making sure both doctors and opticians are matching the patient’s lifestyle history questionnaire with the best lens design are fundamental issues that need our immediate attention. Get this handled today and it will be a win for both your patients and your practice.
Progressive Lens Sales Average $226 per Pairs
Data from the on-going VisionWatch consumer panel indicate that the average price paid for progressive lenses is $226. By comparison, the average price paid for bifocal lenses is $88 — $138 less than for PALs. The average price consumers pay for top-of-the-line free-form lenses is $298.
Among private practice optometrists, the median percentage of presbyopic eyeglass wearers using progressive lenses is 65%-Management & Business Academy for Eye Care Professionals.