Now that I am optically challenged, I’ve been talking to other friends about the whole ‘getting glasses’ process (and of course how old that makes us feel!). We all found that we were directed straight to the display of expensive designer frames and that, curiously, contact lenses were only discussed as an afterthought. It seems they are often not mentioned during eye tests, so maybe it is not surprising that we don’t know whether they are an option for us, or how you make the choice between going for glasses, lenses … or both?
As my friend observed, it seems that if you want lenses you have to raise the question yourself. I wonder if this could extend beyond my circle of (30-something) friends and, if so, are opticians missing an opportunity? If my optician had taken a more holistic view of me and my lifestyle there might have been a different outcome. Understanding the person and their needs (a bit like a financial health check) would perhaps elicit different recommendations.
What about playing sports – contact lenses give an enhanced field of vision and a greater sense of freedom. What about the girl or boy who has hidden behind glasses all their lives, contact lenses can offer a huge increase in confidence. What about me and my friends? As we get older and begin to need glasses for everyday use, many of us resent suddenly spending our time behind frames, many don’t want other people to see them wearing glasses everyday.
One friend feels that her glasses create an emotional barrier when talking to friends, running meetings and meeting new people at work. Her solution is take them on and off continuously which can be distracting as she leads a workshop session – had someone thought about the fact that she’s a researcher and facilitator they might have realised that fiddling with glasses can be an unwelcome distraction to the image you are trying to put across.
Surely there’s something we can do about this? There will always be a market for glasses.We will always want to make a fashion statement, our eyes will get sore and will need a break from lenses from time to time, and sometimes we just won’t be bothered to put them in. But why aren’t more optometrists talking to their customers about contacts? Is this a missed opportunity for optician brands?
Wouldn’t it make commercial sense to be seen to put their clients’ needs at the heart of recommendations?