Ph#ck The Phoropter

Picture for a moment just about every eye care practice website you’ve ever seen. I’ll wait. What’s the one common theme just about all ECP websites seem to employ? If you guessed the phoropter, you are right. Then again, there was a giant clue hidden in the title wasn’t there?

Yes, the mighty phoropter seems to populate just about every eye care website out there. I will be the first to admit I’ve used it too in a number of websites. However, many of us try to learn from our mistakes and I will share my education with you here.

There is probably no more iconic an image in optical than the phoropter, save the Snellen chart. Ask a dozen friends what comes to mind when they think eye doctor and I bet half either say phoropter or Snellen chart, though I doubt any of the twelve will call either by their given name. You get the point though.  To a large extent, we have done this to ourselves. We continue to perpetuate that stereotype through our business cards, our recall cards, and our websites.

Many of you will ask, so what? The phoropter and the Snellen chart are useful tools you use with each and every patient as part of their comprehensive eye exam. True, but let’s take a quick look at other professions for a moment.

Have you taken a look at any dentist websites recently? I doubt you will see a drill or a pick on practically any dental website. Instead, you will see smiles…big toothy grins. The dentist doesn’t sell the tools of their trade, they sell the results of their work, the smile.


couple teeth dentist

Think of your favorite steak restaurant now. Do they picture cows on their menu or their website? No, they picture juicy rather rare thick steaks cooked to perfection. Your mouth waters to the finished product, not the steer.


The jewelry store always shows the sparkle of the diamond, not the miners who dug it up and not the exchange where the diamond was purchased.


Spring is just around the corner. How about a garden center? What images come to mind when you think garden center? Do you see beautiful flowers, robust bushes, or hardy tree saplings? Or do you see dirty shovels, hoes, and rakes? Like the dentist, a garden center is selling the results of their labor, not the tools used to create those results. Even the garden centers that sell all the tools feature the results over the tools themselves. The same thing goes for the lawn center that sells lawnmowers. They showcase beautifully manicured lawns over the riding tractors they sell. They are selling the results of their work, even when they sell the actual tools of the trade.

garden tools

How many of you have had a patient book an appointment because you highlighted you now have a Zeiss Cirrus in your office? Has anyone ever called and said they are coming to you because they have been waiting for an Optometrist in the area to finally get one? Yes, it was a wonderful investment on your part that will now allow you do even more with your exams, but let’s face it, your patients don’t come to you because you have a new OCT machine any more than someone books an appointment with the dentist because they just got in a new Rayscan Alpha Plus Panoramic 3D CBCT X-ray machine.

Ironically, it is the dental industry that has learned this lesson so well. Here is a medical business that is so much more associated with doctor-induced pain, who practically never talks about the pain. Instead, they almost focus entirely on the results. The optical industry, however, with virtually no doctor-induced pain wants to cling to our tools to define ourselves instead of our results.

dental delivery unit

Let’s lighten up a little. We should all be focusing on the results of our talent, our tools, and our trade, not the actual tools. Take a lesson from the dental industry. We should be showing happy people wearing great eyeglasses and sunglasses, working, playing, relaxing. We should be showing children in eyewear eagerly raising their hands from anywhere in the classroom. We should be showing people enjoying their lives based on the expert Rx you gave them and not how you came up with that Rx.


SILMO PARIS 20-23 September 2024