As an eye care professional who's success depends on the happiness of your patients, the mere thought of changing lens products can send chills down your spine and waves of nausea through your belly. Change is hard - especially if you're moving away from something you've relied on for years, or even decades.
That was the case for Outlook Eyecare in New Jersey, when they were first introduced to Unity Via Progressive Lenses. But Unity Via's technology, performance, and simplicity quickly turned anxiety into exhilaration when they saw the difference it made for their patients and practice.
We chatted with Outlook Eyecare Optical Manager, Grace Danieles, to better understand what it was like making the change initially, how long it took for the butterflies to stop swarming in the team's stomachs, and how things are going now that they put their progressive patients in Unity Via.
Q: How did the switch to Unity go for you?
GD: Honestly it was our sales rep, Josh, who convinced me it would work. I’ve known Josh for over 10 years and he's always been straightforward with me. He got me open minded to the lenses because, you know, it's a new brand – and new brands can be a bit scary to any dispensing Optician.
After meeting with Josh and the lab rep Heather, I think we initially tried it with one of our Optometrist who prefers a traditional/non digital lens. We fitted her into Unity Via lenses and she was pleased. Then we moved forward with our first-time progressive patients and the feedback was great. Then what really blew our minds was when we took a progressive non-adapt, and put them back into a progressive using the Unity Via Elite. The patient was able to adapt immediately to the lenses.
Our practice manager is what I consider a tough fit. She’s tried every brand of progressives and nothing ever wowed her. I recently fitted her with Unity Via Elite using the same prescription as all her other brands of progressives, and she instantly noticed how sharp and clear her distance and reading was - she was amazed and loves the Unity Via Elite Progressive Lenses. Our doctor, who was a pure Varilux fan, is also currently wearing Unity Via Elite lenses and was able to easily adapt to the change in brands.
I have a discussion with every progressive patient; If they have tried progressives in the past, and depending on what their issues were, I will try them in the Unity Via Elite and I hardly have any issues at the time of dispense. When our patients try on their new glasses/lenses, the majority reaction is “Wow I can see so clearly”, “I don't see much distortion”, “It's a breath of fresh air – this is wonderful”. With Unity lenses, I don’t have that nervous feeling while dispensing.
What really blew our minds was when we took a progressive non-adapt, and put them back into a progressive using Unity Via Elite. The patient was able to adapt immediately to the lens."
Q: What helped you overcome the anxiety of switching lens brands?
GD: When Josh first told me about the lenses, he educated me on the technology and advancements of the lenses but just couldn't explain the “it factor”. He said, “You just have to try them.” Varilux seems to have a “household name”, and has been my main lens choice from the beginning of my career due to its longstanding reputation. Lots of thoughts went through my mind, remakes, non-adapts, and patient adaptability. What was key was fitting our doctors & staff with the lenses. Once they could see the difference, they were easily selling it from the chair and advising patients to talk to the Optician’s about theses lenses.
What was key was fitting our doctors & staff with the lenses. Once they could see the difference, they were easily selling it from the chair and advising patients to talk to the Optician’s about theses lenses. "
Q: How many doctors are in the practice?
GD: There's five total.
Q: And now they're all Unity Via fans too?
GD: Our Doctors, Opticians, Technicians, entire staff, and staff family, are all fans! Nothing but good feedback and reviews from everyone.
Q: I imagine that's pretty scary especially if they're used to something they’ve been wearing for a while.
GD: Exactly. It’s always that feeling when you're dispensing a pair of glasses. Great…are they going to give me a hard time with “I can't see out of this” statements. I don't have that uneasy feeling with dispensing Unity Via Lenses.
Q: What kind of information do you share with your patients about the lenses you’re recommending for them?
GD: Peripheral distortion is a big factor with progressive lenses. How much of a peripheral distortion are they going to get? How much do they have to turn their head? It seems the most concern is when they're driving, are they going to be able to see their side view mirrors? If they're looking at a newspaper, how much of the newspaper will they be able to see? So, I tell them that Unity Via Elite offers the widest field of vision throughout all zones with minimal peripheral distortion. While most generic progressives will narrow that field of channel. I also mention the gradual change and ease in the progressive lenses going from distance to intermediate/mid-range to reading with Unity Via lenses.
Unity Via Elite offers the widest field of vision throughout all zones with minimal peripheral distortion. While most generic progressives will narrow that field of channel."
Q: How are the lenses for you and the Opticians to fit?
GD: No additional measurements are required for fitting Unity Via lenses (i.e. vertex distance). Seg height and pupillary measurement is all that is needed. Unity Via Elite is our go-to-choice. The feedback that we have been receiving about the lens is always positive – sharper, clearer, and comfortable.
Q: So, it wasn't difficult for your Opticians to switch over from a Varilux to Unity Via?
GD: No. It was mostly just getting over the fear of trying a new lens. We've actually taken some non-adapt patients and put them into Unity Via lenses successfully.
It was mostly just getting over the fear of trying a new lens."
Q: What would you say is your biggest pain point as an Optician and did Unity address that for you?
GD: Honestly, it's peripheral distortion from a progressive lens. I explain to first time progressive wearers, that there’s three different prescription zones within the lens size, so frame fit is key, and then the lens choice. Unity Via Elite has actually minimized that peripheral distortion and has an ease while going from distance, mid-range/computer, into reading. I mean, it's the best of all worlds.
Q: So, you have confidence in the lenses?
GD: Absolutely. So far, I'm getting all positive experiences that just makes me want to give Unity lenses to the next person, and the next person after that.
So far, I'm getting all positive experiences that just makes me want to give Unity lenses to the next person, and the next person after that."
Q: What do you think the switch to Unity has brought to your practice? What's the biggest advantage?
GD: Unity Via lenses have revolutionized the way we think about progressives. I used to slightly cringe when dispensing a new pair of progressive glasses. I’d have to walk a patient through the peripheral distortion, how to hold their reading material, and get into the intermediate area. As soon as a patient puts on a pair of glasses with Unity Via Elite lenses, they hardly notice any distortion and can easily get into each progressive zone. Our non-adapt patients are no-longer non-adapts, and are happily wearing progressive lenses!
Unity Via lenses have revolutionized the way we think about progressives."
Q: Are you using TechShield or SunSync with your Unity lenses?
GD: We like using TechShield Elite with Unity lenses. I would say about 90 percent of our patients are all wearing AR. We've been using TechShield AR and SunSync Light-Reactive lenses with all good results.
Q: Do you use SunSync Elite?
GD: Yes. It’s astounding how dark and quickly SunSync Elite turns. And I also use SunSync Drive XT for patients that prefer to use photochromic lenses while in the car.
Q: Did you have resistance from patients who said they’ve been wearing Transitions for years and don't want to try a new light-reactive lens?
GD: Not at all, no. They did point out that SunSync Elite does change much quicker compared to Transitions.
Q: Do patients usually go along with your recommendations?
GD: Yes, pretty much. The key here at Outlook is to be very upfront with the patients. We’ll recommend changing/trying a new progressive brand, and be sure to explain all the great aspects of the lenses. With upfront honesty, they're more than willing to give it a try.
It’s astounding how dark and quickly SunSync Elite turns."
Q: Do you think the enhanced amounts of Unity Savings and VSPOne Rewards through Premier are making a difference for you?
GD: Yes. Absolutely! Ever since we made that change we've actually increased our numbers compared to the previous year.
Q: So, you feel like the Premier program has helped create opportunities for you in your practice in terms of more patients and increased income?
GD: Absolutely. Reaching Premier status has also increased our revenue with Unity Savings. It has also brought more traffic into our Optical. We're in a medical complex with multiple business buildings around us, so it's not like we're on a street where you can see “Eye Doctor Office” from the road. With Premier, we're seeing an increase of outside prescriptions just by patients searching for VSP providers by their zip code and noticing that we have the VSP Premier banner. It literally put us on the map.
Q: It sounds like you are really making Unity and Premier work for you. Do you think that affiliation had a significant impact on your practice?
GD: Yes, absolutely. We are ecstatic with what Premier and Unity lenses has brought to us!
We are ecstatic with what Premier and Unity lenses has brought to us!"
Has your practice made the switch to Unity lenses? We'd love to hear what you think and how it's working out for you. Leave a comment in the section below and we may feature it in an upcoming blog post!
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