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Welcome to question of the day #174

Eyetools question of the day #174

I work in a practice where I conduct eye examinations and the dispensing of glasses. During the dispensing process, I can see my next patient waiting for me and this is causing me problems concentrating during the dispensing. Several people have come back complaining about their glasses and I’ve made mistakes on interpupillary distances and bifocal heights. What should I do?

Some eye specialists, who work in quiet practices, where not every patient appointment slot is filled, have the time to carry out the eye examination and then the dispensing of glasses for that patient. However, if all, or nearly all of the patient appointment slots are filled, it can be very difficult for one person to do both the examining and the dispensing.

I remember when I worked in my own practice and the dispensing optician was unwell for a few days I did the examining and the dispensing. This led to problems. I wasn’t very good at helping people choose frames that suited their faces and I made mistakes in marking up varifocals which led to expensive remakes.

My advice is to recruit an experienced and qualified dispensing optician, preferably a person who has an ABDO (Association of British Dispensing Opticians) qualification. Here’s how a dispensing optician can help your practice prosper:

  • Accurate measurements for interpupillary distances, bifocal heights and marking up varifocals, results in fewer remakes.
  • Helping people select frames that fit and suit their faces, when people look good they feel good and will recommend your practice.
  • Adjusting frames so that they fit the first time, this results in fewer returns for readjustments.
  • Advising people of lens enhancements such as thin lenses, antireflection coatings, hard coatings, UV filters, higher-grade varifocals.
  • Choosing frames from suppliers that your patients will like.
  • Meeting sales representatives.
  • Dealing with non-tolerances.
  • Checking lens powers and sending back lenses that are out of range.
  • Mentoring support staff.
  • The training of supporting staff.
  • Marketing the practice.

There are likely to be other benefits that I haven’t included here.

Distance learning courses are available through ABDO with exam centres in the UK, Malaysia, India and Australia.