The query this month came about when I was approached at a CET event by a member with a query that had arisen at their workplace.
Theirs was a small independent practice in a secondary shopping area and the owner wanted to increase sales. He felt that selling the ready reader range of specs would offer their patients a cheaper option and allow the practice to compete with the larger High Street opticians. Our member had concerns that he would be asked to fit frames that were not of the best quality and he would be acting in a less than professional way.
It is a sad fact of professional life that a member of the public can reasonably expect the same care and advice when buying a £15 pair of ready readers as when they buy a £200 pair of bespoke spectacles from a registered optician. Of course, if that person went to a supermarket and bought the same £15 specs they could not expect any care or advice at all.
I’m sure you have all been asked to repair such specs on a regular basis. Would you feel you would have to replace missing screws or straighten bent frames if they had been bought in your practice?
Supplying such items may seem a good idea but if you factor in the time needed to advise patients which model and power to select, and give them the advice to have regular eye examinations to check the health of the eyes, recording all the details of the sale and advice given, it might not be such a money-spinner.
There is another consideration: when a potential purchaser asks you if they should have the +2.00D or +2.50D power, you have to be particularly careful in case you are accused of testing sight. It is never easy is it?
If you do decide to stock such items, have a discussion in the practice, with all staff, as to exactly what service you should offer. It is still a problem if an unregistered member of staff sells the ready readers if you are out at lunch; the patient can reasonably expect the correct care and advice from everyone in the practice. You can then price the item accordingly.