By John Sailer
How 947-EYES Got Its Name
Optix Ophthalmic is the corporate name for the optical practice doing business as 947-EYES at four locations in Oklahoma. When he first started the business in 1986, he lucked into the availability of the phone number 405-947-3937, with the last four numbers spelling out the word "eyes." With his first location highly visible along Interstate 40, he put up signage that spelled out 947-EYES. Eventually the name stuck. Now, when patients tell others that they go to 947-EYES, not only are they telling them the name of the practice, but they are also giving them the phone number at the same time.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—With the rising costs of lenses shrinking profits at his four optical locations, Joe Madore of
947-EYES decided it was time to invest in an in-house free-form digital processing system. So, in 2011, he went to Vision Expo West in Las Vegas to find out what was available. After visiting the booths of all the companies with systems he had already heard of, he ended up with something unexpected,
Augen Optics' EasyForm Digital Free Form Processing System.
"I liked the idea of owning my own software, owning my designs. That was my goal, getting my progressive costs down and buying my lenses for a buck a piece," Madore told dba about the reason he was willing to invest nearly half a million dollars to start producing his own digital lenses.
After considering some other potential equipment suppliers, he settled on Augen. "I have their whole free-form lab set up," he said "their generator, their blocker, their polisher, their laser engraver, their whole package."
At the same time, he also bought the Optikam system to take the measurements necessary to properly produce free-form lenses—vertex distance, pantascopic tilt, and frame wrap. "I decided I would do it right," he said about purchasing the extra measuring equipment.
Prior to installing the system, 947-EYES had been offering three different styles of progressive lenses, promoting them as good, better and best. By switching over to digital processing, he was able to eliminate the $70,000 worth of progressive inventory he previously had to keep in stock.
"Not only can I lock in my pricing on all the different designs and know what my costs will be five years down the road, but I can also be competitive using the newest technology to offer free-form for as low as $99 per pair to the consumer," he said.
He still offers his good lens, the standard, for $99, the better lens, the premium, for $149, and the best lens, the personalized, for $199, but now his costs are within his control and no longer subject to the whims of the lens companies that would lock in their prices for a couple of years but eventually begin raising them after a while.
"Every progressive we do is free-form," Madore told dba. "We're building a custom lens for each individual patient. I know it's working. We installed the system in February of 2012, and profit-wise it's absolutely paid off already."
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