LAB: Homer Optical
Silver Spring, Md.

Don Barton, sales manager


“We started producing digital lenses last fall, and ramped it up in 2011. We felt there was a lot of confusion about digital among our customers, not just in terms of the benefit to patients, but for what it can do for the doctor’s practice as well. So we brought in experts such as Mark Cohen of TriSupreme, and Pete Hanlin and Tara Cook of Essilor to educate our sales team so we could take it out to our customers and work with them one on one. We use the ‘Demystifying Digital Lenses’ program that Mark developed. It not only explains what digital lenses are but explains how they are different from one another, such as Essilor’s Drx platform versus their Dual Optics platform.

“VSP was a big driver for educating the ECPs about digital lenses, when changes were made to their compensation. Previously, there was no real incentive for ECPs to use the highest end progressives. Now with the restructuring in 2011, there’s an incentive for ECPs to use the highest categories of lenses because they provide the highest compensation. For doctors who are VSP members, if they stayed with [Varilux] Comfort lenses or that category of lens, the compensation changed to negative for the ECP. That really made it a topic of conversation with our company, and the solution was to educate practices.

“We’ve also developed a Retail Price Calculator tool to show the doctors where they were in 2010 with VSP, and what changes needed to be made for 2011. We felt we needed to have proper pull-through to implement it. All of our sales consultants give the ECPs a financial analysis once a month that shows them where they are specifically with progressives and their digital mix, and compares to where our labs are in terms of digital lens penetration. It also helps them know how to mark up the lenses properly, retail-wise.”

Customer Comment:

Paul Ryan, OD
Owner, Dr. Specs Optical in Audubon, Pa.


“We started dispensing digital lenses a little over a year ago. Nine of out 10 patients who wear progressives get Varilux Physio Enhanced, unless they’re insurance- based. Since we got the [Essilor] Visioffice in May, we’ve been getting into more personalized digital progressives and have a good response, despite the price increase. We’re using it for more specialized prescriptions, such as a higher power or astigmatism.

“The difference with digital lenses is that they give a wider field of view. There’s less distortion, less pointing and shooting with the nose and more scanning ability.

“My practice is a younger practice with a lot of emerging presbyopes and younger families. My patients say it’s great. I don’t think we’ve had any non-adapts so far. Digital sells itself.

“We offer digital lenses at three different price points that reflect the different levels of personalization. We start with a Physio Enhanced for about $300 to $450 for a Physio Enhanced Eyecode (including eye rotation measurement) to $600 for Varilux Ipseo (including eye and head movement tracking).”

Customer Comment:

Barbara Hughes
Optician, Physicians Eyecare Center, which operates three locations in Maryland.


“Every progressive we dispense is digital. We just do Varilux. We also do single vision free-form.

“Our office uses the new Visioffice office machine that takes measurements. It really makes a big difference as far as fitting. We measure seg heights, pupil distance and how they hold their heads. We put the frame into a special holder. The computer reads the markings on it. Then all the data is put into a calculation program that we print out and send to Homer by courier, along with the frame. Eventually we’ll be able to send it to the lab electronically. We have very few redos.

“Homer has a good rep who educates us on anything that’s new and what we need to know to do our job better. They come in on a regular basis and bring us information packets. I consider them a partner, as well as the lens manufacturer’s reps.”