Typically, when a patient is handed off to the optician, a conversation has already happened between doctor and patient establishing some detail on what type of visual needs are to be addressed with new glasses (or contacts) and what recommendations the doctor might have for the patient.
The vast majority of the time, this doctor/patient conversation hits the broad strokes of what the patient needs, and what is left for the optician is a conversation to nail down the details (i.e. which progressive lens, does patient need transitions as well).
Sometimes, though, a key component of the patients lifestyle, be it work or hobby, is missed and this is why a good optician often will rehash much of that conversation that already happened with the doctor.
Sometimes the scenario is Deceiving:
Case in point, I recently helped a patient who is a helicopter pilot. When I was given this patient from the doctor I was told the recommendation with progressives with anti-reflective. This is a common enough recommendation for a patient who needs reading help, so I nodded along and prepared myself to ask my usual questions to pinpoint the best progressive design.
But the more I conversed with the patient, and realized he wasn’t just a pilot, but a pilot of helicopters I realized it was critical to get down to where his near vision needs were located. As we talked through where he needed to look and at what distances, it became crystal clear that a progressive would be a terrible experience for him. He had a need to see at full distance out of the lower corner of his eyes, where a progressive gives the greatest “distortion” and the clear vision is set at a closer focal length.
So what could have been a very quick session in the dispensary to help him find frames turned into a fairly long and involved conversation to really nail down his specific needs. While he may have spent quite a bit more time than he intended, I was able to make sure he’ll have a pair of glasses that will function for his lifestyle
Take away Lesson
As a patient, it’s easy to be intimidated and expect that the optician and doctor know what’s best for you. And for the most part this is quite true, but it’s ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that you share specifics of your needs. Even what you may assume is not important or trivial could be the difference between a pair of glasses you LOVE to wear and a pair you’ll LOVE to get rid of.