As payer reimbursements continue to decline, smart eye care practices are focusing on non insurance-dependent revenue streams to shore up their bottom lines. Retail optical is one of those revenue streams. And if you want to sell more glasses, you’ll present them as a fashion accessory and a lifestyle product, not as a medical device. That often means assisting patients in finding the most flattering frames for their face.
An accurate assessment of a client’s facial features and advice on suitable frame styles sets your optical shop apart from discount chains and online emporiums.
It’s amazing how simple concepts like color and shape can transform a patient’s features. Many optician and optometrist training programs include such material, but it’s a mistake to assume that your entire dispensary staff knows the difference between oval and oblong. Who better to break it down than eyewear designer and beauty icon Bobbi Brown? With over 30 years in the business, the natural beauty advocate knows a thing or two about helping men and women look and feel their best. When fitting frames, the Everything Eyes author swears by these four basic tips:
- Contrast or complement? Contrasting shapes balance features; complementary shapes highlight them. Help clients decide whether they want to emphasize or downplay certain features. For example, angular frames sharpen round faces, but they can also accent a chiseled jawline.
- Keep frames proportional to features. If you’ve ever seen the classic Chris Farley comedy bit “Fat Guy in a Little Coat,” you’ll know why proportion is important. Sleek styles won’t overwhelm delicate features, while broader faces benefit from something more substantial.
- Center the eyes horizontally in the lens. Overly wide frames will make the eyes look too close together, while narrow frames will widen the face. Vertically, the eye should fill the top half of the lens, with the bottom of the eye meeting the midpoint.
- Follow the eyebrow. If the top of the frame is curved, it should mimic the shape of the eyebrows. A similar contour makes for a coordinated look. For regular glasses, the top of the frame should sit below the brows (halfway, at the least). In contrast, sunglasses may or may not cover the brows.
When it comes to choosing frames, there are a lot of guidelines, but fewer hard and fast rules. Every member of your optical shop staff needs a working knowledge of basic aesthetic concepts, and the confidence to apply them to any client that walks through your doors.