Patients need sunwear and want style - here’s how you deliver both
Put summer aside for a moment, we know that our patients and customers should be wearing shades all year long. Eyes are sensitive to excessive light and glare and are susceptible to damage due to prolonged exposure to the sun. It is incumbent on us, as eye care professionals, to educate our patients on the need to protect them.
We also know that patients won’t necessarily act solely in the interest of health or protection, but they’ll do a lot for the sake of cool.
A small process change
Let’s start by asking ourselves a question: when should we start the sunwear conversation with our patients? In the exam lane when the doc recommends polarized lenses? At the optical when the optician is styling the patient with frames? Both of those are pretty good answers, but in truth, the conversation should start much sooner.
Ideally, you begin talking directly to your patients about sunglasses when they call your office to schedule an appointment. A simple note once the patient has scheduled that sounds something like:
“Alright [Patient Name] we’ve got you scheduled with Dr. [Name] at 2:30 on Thursday afternoon. Please arrive a couple minutes early to allow us to update your information in our system and remember to bring your glasses and sunglasses.”
Your patient will likely respond in one of two ways:
“Okay, I will”
“I don’t have prescription sunglasses”
In the case of the former, your job at the front desk is more or less done, and you can restart the eyewear conversation when the patient arrives. With the latter where the patient tells you they don’t have prescription sunglasses, you can respond by saying, “Oh, good to know! I’ll make sure the doctor talks with you about them when you come in. See you on Thursday!”
A bit of data
Every patient needs sunglasses, and the vast majority of your patients aren't buying their sunwear in your office, and some aren't buying any at all. According to The Vision Council’s latest Consumer InSights, only 17% of U.S. adults reported wearing prescription sunglasses. It’s likely that this number is slightly inflated because this is self reported and consumers may consider clip-ons or photochromic lenses Rx suns. Even if we take that number at face value, it means that fewer than one out of every five adults has a pair of prescription sunglasses.
Marketing with intent
It’s also worth noting that your patients should see prescription sunglasses front and center on your website and social media streams. Here are 5 patient-facing topics that you can highlight in your social media to get your audience excited about sun protection.
Darker lenses don't equate to the best protection - When trying on sunglasses, notice if you're squinting in the light or if you can see clearly. If you're squinting, keep looking! You want to double-check the lenses are 100% UV Protection.
Cloudy days still need protection from the UV rays! Just because you don't see the sun as bright as normal, doesn't mean that it's not as potent. Your eyes still need protection.
Sunglasses come in different forms, just like your lifestyle - Think about what your daily life looks like. Are you more active or simple? Do you need some fashion flair or athletic style? Determining this will help your thought process.
Finding a flattering fit for everyone. It's no lie that some frames look great on others but may not be our favorite. Take the time to figure out your face shape, then try on styles that highlight your features.
Price doesn’t always equal quality - make sure you’re taking care of your eyes and wearing something comfortable! Nice quality sunglasses and eyewear are often a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it.
Every pair of eyes deserves protection from UV, from blinding glare, from the discomfort and strain that comes with squinting in bright sunlight. Every patient deserves a pair of sunglasses they love. Make today the day you talk to every patient about prescription sunglasses and see the difference it makes in their lives and on your bottom line.