Remove “NO” From Your Vocabulary

In the world of optical, we have so many aspects of our industry trying to put up barriers in our job.  Whether it be managed vision care, your lab partner, or even the business owner setting the “standards” for care, all of these frustrations can make it seem like it’s easier to just say “no” to a patient when they ask for something — but I’m here to challenge you to strike this word from your vocabulary.

In my nearly 9 years of working at a high-end Beverly Hills practice, we work with celebrities on nearly a weekly basis, we’ve never said “no” to a patient.  It wasn’t a written rule.  But when you work with people who are used to always getting what they want, you learn to work within those parameters.  Every patient deserves to receive the products necessary to improve their lives.  It is within our power, as opticians, and yes, even frame reps, to provide these solutions and change lives!

Untrain The Patient

The process of meeting, and even exceeding, patient expectations begins by stripping away years of underwhelming performance from previous optical professionals.  To put this in the parlance of a Jedi, they must unlearn what they have learned. Too often, a patient has been taught to think that all lenses are the same, or that how they are seeing is as good as it can be.  These previous experiences have taught patients they shouldn’t ask for what they want, or express how lenses have failed them in the past.  They must be taught that almost any thing is possible in eyewear today.  True, there may be trade-offs, but it might be possible to provide them with the answers they have been longing for.

I have found the easiest way to get the patient to open up about what they really want from their eyewear is to just come right out and ask them, after setting the stage a bit.  This begins by presenting some simple stats.  I like to talk about the fact that there are thousands of variations on progressive lenses, and close to the same variation in single vision.  This sometimes can lead straight to the “deer in the headlights” gaze from the patient.  If you see this, follow up with the most critical component.  “This is not to scare or overwhelm you.  This simply means I can solve almost any issue you’ve been facing.  I just need to hear from you what you wish your glasses did for you.”  This will usually get them talking.

Thinking Beyond The Box

Of course, with all the thousands of lens designs out there, we have many possible solutions immediately available to us.  But part of the Beverly Hills way is to look beyond intended uses for lenses and find new ways to meet patient needs.  This is truly the final step to avoiding the “no” and providing the “let me see what I can do.”

Here are some examples of how you can rewrite the playbook, making a lens do something it wasn’t designed for:

Whenever I work with a patient who has a need for a Computer Progressive, I always start by looking at how strong the add is.  If it is +2.25 or less, I will immediately be thinking about using an Eyezen+ product.  I may still go with a true Computer Progressive, but a quick conversation with the patient about what their work environment is like can help you decide which is the right path to follow.  If they don’t have a need for distance vision beyond their computer screen, this is the best way to proceed.  Simply place half the add in the top half of the lens and use the Eyezen+ add chart to decide which version provides just a little more than their full reading correction at the bottom.  They walk away with a lens providing edge to edge clarity for their multiple monitor setup and they can still read up close easily!

One of my favorite outside-the-box solutions was for someone with rather specific hobby needs.  This particularly patient loves to build models.  He has a need for extremely close near clarity to do the snipping and painting of very small parts.  He also needs to see the arms’ length distance of his desk where the tools and parts kits reside.  In this scenario, he needs the intermediate in the bottom of the lens, and the extreme near at the top.  To make things even more complicated, this particular patient is a high-myope.  Some quick fun with math led to the highest add I could place in a hi-index progressive lens, and then I reverse engineered the intermediate distance off of that add.  Mounted the lenses upside down, and reversed between right and left and now he has lenses for a very specific task.


In a world driven by barriers preventing the best of vision care, strive to go beyond.  Use your critical thinking skills, and instead of saying “no” try replying with “let me see what I can do.”  Use the arsenal of tools with lens and lab experts, talk in the amazing optical social media communities to see the “what if” and surprise your patients with solutions they only dreamt of.  Go out there and do good in the world.  Change lives.  Until next time, I’ll be seeing you.


Article written by Ric Peralta, ABOC

Find Ric here: LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube

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