IDOC actively shares industry-focused articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos and other thought leadership with our members and other optometric practitioners. Below, you will find links to our growing library of educational materials and multi-media assets written and created by IDOC's team of seasoned industry experts.
Patricia Basile | 7/18/2019

How many private pay opportunities do you have each day?

With so many of your patients now covered by vision care plans, you would probably say, not many. I could ask you to look at the percentage of patients you see in each plan, I could ask you what percentage of patients are private pay. But instead I will ask, how many refractions do you perform each day? Virtually, every one of those refractions have the potential to be a private pay purchase. The sunglasses purchased by a contact lens wearer after using vision care benefits for their lenses is a private pay purchase. The second pair as computer glasses purchased by a progressive wearer is a private pay purchase. The prescription sunglasses purchased by a patient in addition to the single vision eyeglasses they ordered with their benefits is a private pay purchase.

Actively seeking to understand the needs of your patients beyond that first product covered by their plan is our responsibility as eye care professionals. Most vision care plans only offset the cost for one pair of eyeglasses or a supply of contact lenses. As eyecare professionals, we know that one pair of eyeglasses will rarely, if ever, address all our patient’s needs. We must not be shy about making the recommendations and writing the orders for these additional pairs.

If we fail to suggest appropriate products, these additional needs may be met by an online retailer or a merchant at the mall. People shop outside our office for several reasons including:

  • Convenience
  • Price
  • Impulse vs. Information

We can address each of these reasons and not only compete, but completely outperform these other outlets, keeping our patients happy while producing additional revenue for the practice.


If we provide clear, simple pricing and make the selection process fun and engaging we save them the shopping trips, the uncertainty and risks involved in ordering glasses from anyone other than you. You are their trusted eye care provider; they are predisposed to give you their business if they feel that you respect their time and have the same passion for the final product as you have in getting the prescription right. You need to make the point that it is far more convenient to be fit now, today, by professionals that care about all of their optical product needs.


Most consumers are not looking strictly at price, but at value. Consumers are very put off when they get the sense that you have a complicated pricing system that is a complete mystery to them. Adopt package pricing that simplifies the sales process and provides transparency, especially for the products they will pay for themselves, after benefits have been used. These packages do not have to match the competitors’ unrealistic offers dollar for dollar, as long as the case is made for the value of the products and services provided.

Impulse vs. Information

If you, meaning you personally as the doctor, your receptionist, technicians, opticians, fail to educate the patient about the vast array of options available to them, someone else will, and they will make the sale. You will never know the number of people you may have lost if they found out through another source (retailer) that there are glasses available for computer use or hobbies, that different sunglass lens colors have different benefits and uses. The merchant or optical retailer that they casually stopped to talk to educates them and offers these solutions. They will have gained their trust and future business, you may not see them back, even for exams. You never want them to have to say, “My eye doctor/optician never told me this was an option!” And, by the way, they paid for these additional pairs out of pocket.

Many times, we may be reluctant to offer these product solutions, assuming we will be perceived as pushy. There is no element of overselling if you are making your recommendations based on determining their unique needs by asking lifestyle questions. These conversations may take several more minutes but provide the opportunity to offer greater comfort for a patient’s everyday activities.

Pat Basile


IDOC Optical Management Consultant

Patricia Basile
Optical Management Consultant
Pat Basile has extensive experience in sales, customer service, management and laboratory operations in the optical field. Licensed in Connecticut and certified by the ABO and NCLE, she has had great success in developing and implementing growth plans, providing training and leadership to achieve greater sales and productivity results. She believes that the consumer is much better served by the personal care provided by small, independent and caring optometric practices. Pat will listen to your concerns and help you identify those things that can be done to bring your practice to the next level. Some of these things may include training and setting goals for sales and customer service, inventory management and frame board management.
Trending Blogs

12/2/2022 | Author: IDOC

Hayley Stewart, IDOC Financial Services Manager

The end of the year is quickly approaching, which means you are probably thinking about your practice’s bookkeeping and all the many year-end deadlines that are going to be here before you know it. One of those deadlines you... Read more

11/4/2022 | Author: Nathan Hayes

IDOC is excited to announce the first benchmark report for our new Books & Benchmark; Financial Statement Benchmarks are live.  With over 30 practices connected to the database, we’re now able to run benchmarks.  Let us share a couple of aspects of how we do benchmarks that... Read more

9/9/2022 | Author: Maddie Langston


If you are looking to increase the number of new patients at your practice, then your marketing strategy should include working on how to get noticed in local online search results. One powerful way to increase your visibility in local search is to optimize and maintain the... Read more

8/22/2022 | Author: Kelsey Garcia

So you created a Facebook and Instagram account for your practice, but now what? Coming up with post ideas can be overwhelming and can quickly leave your creative “well” feeling dry. By categorizing your posts into three main buckets, you can easily streamline the brainstorming... Read more

8/5/2022 | Author: Dr. Steve Vargo

As I type this, the news is dominated by concerns over the economy, including unease around inflation and a looming recession. This has practice owners understandably concerned and asking, “What should I expect, and how can I prepare?”

I’m not an economist, and I... Read more

7/22/2022 | Author: Nathan Hayes

Do you worry that your staff aren’t consistently doing the little things in your practice? Do you lose sleep because you just ‘don’t know’ what’s happening outside your lane?  Do you struggle to find the time to oversee things?

Let me suggest that... Read more

7/15/2022 | Author: Amy Alvarez

I think I would be hard pressed to find an independent practice owner who doesn’t understand the power that marketing has on their ability to attract patients to their practice. Keeping patients, new and existing, visiting the practice is an important part of a successful... Read more

7/8/2022 | Author: Lana Greene

I have never spoken to a practice with a zero patient-owned-frame (POF) percentage. I encourage practices to strive for less than 25% POF percentage at a minimum, and less than 15% for the best-in-class. You may see a slight increase year-over-year, which will happen when you sell quality... Read more

5/19/2022 | Author: Dr. Steve Vargo

As research for launching a new service called IDOC Specialty Services, I interviewed several industry experts of various specialties. At the end of each call, I asked everyone the same question: “What prevents more ODs from succeeding with a specialty?”

Their answers were insightful.... Read more