Listening to your pa�ents’ visual needs can generate high revenue for your prac�ce. Are you just prescribing eyeglasses or are you prescribing “lifestyle solu�on” glasses and contact lenses? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Selling glasses and contacts starts with the doctor. The doctor must be able to link the importance of each type of eyewear or contacts with the pa�ent’s personal needs. Ask about hobbies, work, driving at night and during the day, and daily rou�nes. These are the sorts of ques�ons that pa�ents expect from their doctor and they help set the stage for addressing all of their needs. Let cataract pa�ents know that AR coa�ng helps with night driving. Inform pa�ents that polarized sunglasses are the best for cu�ng glare while driving and show them the difference. Let pa�ents know it’s important to protect their eyes from the sun. It’s as easy as saying, “You have a family history of ARMD. Wearing sunglasses is one way to reduce your chances of acquiring it.” In regard to mono vision contact lens pa�ents, they usually have a lot of glare while driving at night or less clear distance vision. A lot of ODs tell pa�ents to use +1.00 readers for small print, but what about balancing out the reading eye with distance glasses for driving at night? This is the responsibility of the doctor; it makes the op�cian’s job easier but also provides your pa�ent with the best possible vision. For contact lens wearers, are you prescribing daily lenses in addi�on to their year supply? Some factors to consider sharing: 1. If the lens wearer has seasonal allergies, tell them daily contact lenses work best at this �me of year to relieve red, watery, itchy eyes. 2. For pa�ents planning a vaca�on, dailies provide the most convenience because they don’t have to worry about packing cleaning products or losing a lens. 3. For eyeglass wearers who use contacts on weekends or for hobbies, you definitely want to get into dailies, as there is less chance of contact lens over-wear and you’ll probably sell more when they run out. If, as an independent doctor, asking these things makes you uncomfortable, a ques�onnaire might be an op�on. Sample ques�on: “Would you be interested in colored contacts in addi�on to your current contact lens op�ons?” Simple as that. Even in a corporate se�ng, doctor-driven dispensing is important. Though the doctor is not seeing the profits from the op�cal sales, it s�ll grows your own business because pa�ents that buy from the op�cal are more likely to return. Pa�ents value your exper�se and opinion, and become loyal to you. If you ever decide to leave, they will follow you. Doctor-driven dispensing also yields valuable data. If a pa�ent spends more than the average, you want this data for your exit strategy; if you leave, you want them purchasing products at your new office. A corporate se�ng lets you build the communica�on and other skills needed to prac�ce doctor-driven dispensing. Dr. Maria Sampalis is the owner of Sampalis Eyecare in Warwick, RI. She is a prac�ce management consultant, the founder of Corporate Optometry on Facebook and founder of and, as well as consul�ng for the FDA. She can be reached at This ar�cle originally appeared in the June 2017 edi�on of INVISION. To Really Serve Your Patients (and Profit), You've Got to Ask Questions Written by Maria Sampalis-May 27, 2017