I pulled out my crystal ball a bit ago to try and get a glimpse of what it might look like when you go to order glasses in the not too distant future, and this is what I saw:
Envision an optical retail space that has 4 - 8 large screen TV's with 100 styles of frames displayed per screen. When you touch a style, it toggles through all of the available colors, and maybe even price points or package options. When you (with help from your Licensed Dispensing Optician) find a style that looks interesting, just double tap a model, and it will put it into an iQueue for you. Once finished, you’ll head to the Order Center where an optician will bring up your selections, and allow you to see how the frame will look on you in a virtual mirror. When your final selection is made, an ultra-precise pupillary distance (PD) and “bifocal height” (MRP) will be taken.
You will then have an opportunity which online vendor you want to fill the Rx, which is then sent off electronically. There will be a fee for the ordering process: finalizing the frame selection, ordering, verifying and fitting the glasses by the optician (like the professional fee now charged for contact lens services). That fee may or may not be linked to the actual hardware purchase. For example, if you want to have your insurance billed, you’d pay your out-of-pocket portion to the OD practice at that time; otherwise, you would use your credit/debit card to pay the internet lab direct.
The technology to put this into practice is here and doable now. All we're waiting for is a visionary to bring out a package that puts it all together. Welcome to the future, coming soon to you!
So, what do you think? What do you like about this scenario? What is troubling? Let me know in the comments, and let’s get a discussion started!
Follow me on Twitter at @BillGregoryLDO
Check out my Facebook page at Bill Gregory Optician
Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved