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    Why you should offer children’s eyewear

    Follow the numbers and these tips on finding younger patients

    Kids eyewear represents one of the biggest opportunities for growth in the eyecare industry, says Mark Mattison-Shupnick, ABOM, director of education at Jobson Medical Information, who recently shared his advice at Vision Expo West 2015 in Las Vegas.


    Looking at the data

    Not convinced that selling kids eyewear is for your practice? Let’s take a look at the data.

    One out of every five people in the United States is 14 years old or younger—which adds up to about 60 million people—and one in four has a vision problem. Mattison-Shupnick estimates that 7.5 million children under the age of 14 have an untreated visual impairment.

    Mattison-Shupnick says that only seven percent of children have had a comprehensive eye exam when they start first grade. That figure increases to only 50 percent by the time children graduate high school. 

    While eyewear sales for adults dropped four percent between 2011 and 2013, sales for kids frames were up between 10 to 25 percent, Mattison-Shupnick says.

    Related: Solving optical complaints

    And more kids than ever have vision coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

    “Obamacare is now pushing coverage to kids, and the eyecare business is now recognizing that this is an opportunity,” he says.

    Once you get the child in the office, Mattison-Shupnick recommends using that opportunity to bring on the whole family as patients. A mother often makes many healthcare decisions for other family members—other children, a spouse, and more often, her parents or in-laws. When scheduling an appointment for a child, he recommends looking at the insurance plan to see if any other family members are included and offering to schedule those patients at that time.

    And finally, if you can gain a patient as a child and provide her vision care throughout her lifetime, she can bring in thousands of dollars worth of income into your practice in just eyewear sales alone.

    So, the opportunity is there—you just have to take it. 

    Next: Selling to Mom

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...


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