Tag: digital refraction

The Art of the Story: How Storytelling Can Help Your Practice Thrive

By Jennifer L. Stewart, OD

As business owners, we are always looking for ways to improve. How can we attract new patients, improve optical sales, increase ancillary testing, and overall increase our revenue? While we often focus on the details and the facts, telling our patients a story may be the optimal way to success.

Why is storytelling so persuasive, and why should we consider it in business? Stories elicit an emotional response, and research has shown that 80% of purchasing decisions are made with emotion. We often overload our patients with statistics and technical jargon, but stories are more memorable and persuasive than our facts and figures. According to professional storyteller Kindra Hall, “People don’t buy the thing. They buy what the thing will do for them.” Stories in our practices need to be real, organized, relatable, and delivered with great communication to be personable and effective.

How can we change the narrative in our practices and focus more on emotion? What goals have you set in 2023, and how can a little bit of creativity help harness the power of persuasion?


Are you looking to increase your capture rate, sell more high-end progressives, double your multiple pair sales, or increase your photochromic lens sales? One of my favorite ways to get patient buy-in is telling stories about patients just like them who were faced with a similar choice and what the outcome was. In our office, we noticed our photochromic sales were not as robust as we would like, and we started by using the common knee-jerk reaction of “sell more photochromics!” When that didn’t work, we changed our delivery. Our opticians would ask patients about certain situations where their glasses may not be ideal and offer a solution that another patient found worked well.

An example of this could be: “Mrs. Jones, I love that new crossbody bag you have. My guess is the only downside is that you can’t fit all your glasses in there! Is that correct?” (At this point, the optician nods and the patient nods along thinking, she has got it!) “Another patient of mine had the same issue, and found she often was leaving her prescription sunglasses behind! We found a great solution for her. There is new lens technology that allows your lenses to change from light to dark with the sunlight, simplifying your life and lightening your pocketbook? She just kept her sunglasses in the car and wore her new pair for everything else. Wouldn’t that be a great solution for you as well?” Mrs. Jones now has invested in the story of this other person, has found a common ground, and is interested in the same solution that helped them.

Ancillary Testing

Many offices are embracing technology and adding equipment to improve the care they deliver to their patients. Unfortunately, many of these tests are not covered by vision care discount plans and are an out-of-pocket expense for patients. While this can often be a barrier for practitioners looking to add diagnostic equipment to their practice, harnessing the power of stories to help patients understand the value and importance of these tests is extremely effective.

Our practice provided annual OCT wellness screening for patients at an out-of-pocket cost. As many new patients were not familiar with this type of care so it often fell to our front desk and technicians to help them understand why we did it and why it wasn’t covered. To help them better explain this to patients, we once again used stories.

Patients often have a hard time understanding why they need a test when “nothing is wrong” and they “feel fine.” My staff began to use stories about patients “just like them” who came in for routine, comprehensive care and thanks to the detailed testing we did, were identified as being a glaucoma suspect. We used a true patient case of a new, young, patient coming in for an updated glasses prescription. Our screening discovered that she had elevated intraocular pressure and suspicious OCT images. Thanks to the baseline imaging, we were able to start the patient on our protocol for glaucoma suspects and protect her sight. We all have patient stories like this, but making sure your staff know the stories and can share them with patients will make adding diagnostic testing more powerful and increase patient compliance.

Where else can you use stories to change patient behavior? Do you have a great story about how happy a patient was when they changed to daily disposable contact lenses and were able to wear their lenses all day due to better comfort? Do you provide dry eye testing and treatment and have a patient success story? Myopia management is another great specialty where stories can be powerful. Parents want all the information possible about treatments for their children, and being able to share ways that you have helped other children can help with buy-in and compliance.

Take a step back from your practice and look at the patient journey. Are there places that your front desk, technicians, optical team, and doctors can infuse storytelling to change behavior? Think about the last purchase you made.as it based on a recommendation from a friend, an online review, or a target influencer ad on social media? Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool that we can all use in our practices for increased success.

About the author:

Dr. Jennifer Stewart is an optometrist, internationally recognized speaker, writer, consultant, and entrepreneur.

She has a passion for helping optometrists and organizations with operations, sales success, practice management and sales team training through her advisory and consulting firm, OD Perspectives. She is the Professional Editor of Independent Strong, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the New England College of Optometry and a consultant for Coopervision, MacuHealth, GPN and Zyloware. She is also the recipient of the 2022 Emerging Leader Award from the Optical Women’s Association.

With a deep interest in sports vision, Dr. Stewart is the Co-Founder and Chief Vision Officer for Performance 20/20, which provides services for sports and performance vision training. She is a recipient of the Theia Award for Innovation by Women in Optometry and serves on the Executive Board for the International Sports Vision Association.

To hear more tips from Dr. Jennifer Stewart, click here to register for her upcoming webinar, “Building Your Vision: Design and Aspire” on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

Filed under: Marco BlogTagged with: ,

Five Benefits of Digital Refraction

Number one or number two? Better or worse? Refraction is about choices, and if you’re still turning dials, you’re missing out on the benefits of digital refraction.

Digital refraction technology has been available for nearly 30 years, but some practices still need to embrace it. So, if you’re one of the stragglers or are interested in upgrading to a cutting-edge digital phoropter, here’s your guide to the game-changing benefits.

1. Improved Patient Experience

Patient experience is a big deal, and digital refraction can improve several aspects of a typical office visit.

It can reduce patient stress.

While refractive tests are a standard check for vision errors like farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism, manually cycling through one lens at a time can be stressful for patients.

“No one likes pop quizzes,” says Chris Sarakaitis, Director of Sales, Eastern USA for Marco. “For many patients, manual refraction causes anxiety during and after the exam when they think back and worry if they made the appropriate choices.”

Digital refractors allow the patient to see two images simultaneously, eliminating the back and forth of manual devices and enabling patients to feel more confident about their responses.

Happy patients generate revenue.

A pleasant, comfortable experience can not only decide whether someone schedules another appointment with your practice, but it also influences how much money patients spend during those visits.

“The Marco TRS Automated Refraction System has proven to be the most significant addition ever made to our practice,” says Dr. Richard K. Levin of Levin Eyecare in Baltimore, MD. “The ‘wow’ factor has increased optical sales by 15% in the first year and continues to enhance the patient’s experience in our practice.”

Provide a cutting-edge experience.

Thanks to smartphones, consumers have endless decision-aiding information in their hands. They want state-of-the-art care, and if you’re not offering it, it’s easy to find someone who will. Providing a high-tech experience with digital refraction will not only increase patient retention, but also referrals.

“I’ve gotten patient referrals from other customers exclusively based on how impressed they were with my equipment,” says Dr. Andrea Knouff of Eyeclectic Vision Source in Atlanta, GA. “In today’s internet-savvy world, we must stay up to date on technology and separate ourselves from the competition.”

2. Superior Accuracy

When technology outperforms the status quo, it’s a sound investment. For example, where traditional refraction relies on manual measurements and subjective evaluations, digital refraction uses sophisticated computer algorithms.

The result is highly accurate and precise measurements of a patient’s visual acuity, allowing optometrists to quickly and easily identify changes in a patient’s vision. This translates to more accurate diagnoses and the ability to provide more effective treatments.

“You can do more testing, more precisely and efficiently, with digital refraction versus a manual refractor,” says Sarakaitis. “Simply put, digital refraction makes you a better doctor.”

3. Reduced Human Error

While optometrists and ophthalmologists still need to interpret the data generated by their automated refraction system, digital refraction makes it easier to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of patients’ vision. This can be useful for tracking changes over time and identifying potential health problems.

During the exam, optometrists will find that digital refraction eliminates the potential for human error caused by factors such as poor lighting or difficulty reading the patient’s responses.

When the exam is complete, that data must be entered into the patient’s records. No matter how careful or well-trained your staff is, transcription errors happen. Digital phoropters eliminate human error by transferring exam data directly to the patient’s electronic medical record, saving time and resources by freeing up staff for other tasks.

4. Better User Experience for Clinicians

While stressful for the patient, turning the dials for manual refractive tests is no party for the clinician. Throughout a career, seeing several patients daily can cause a lot of wear and tear on the neck and rotator cuffs. One study determined that more than 80 percent of optometrists surveyed reported work-related discomfort in their neck, shoulder, or lower back.

Digital refractors use automated technology that consolidates those manual adjustments to the push of a button. In addition, some models — such as the Marco TRS-6100 Automated Refraction System — can be operated with one hand. As a result, physicians can remain seated or find a position that makes them comfortable, potentially reducing repetitive stress injuries.

5. See More Patients

Traditional refraction methods can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, taking up valuable time that’s better spent on other aspects of patient care. Digital refraction, on the other hand, is quick and easy to use, allowing optometrists to see more patients throughout the day while spending more quality time with each patient.

“Without this efficient technology, I would not have the same amount of time to dedicate to conversing with patients,” says Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford of Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in Tampa, FL. “In this day and age, patients notice new technology in the practice and like the personal focus I can give them.”

Contact your Marco Area Manager for more information about how digital refraction can benefit your practice. 

Filed under: Marco BlogTagged with: ,