Let’s talk about the diversity of eyewear. There are 16,000 independent optometry offices in the United States. I’m guessing 1600 of those (that’s 10%) have a healthy selection of rimless eyewear. Why so little?
We guess what consumers want too often and decide for them rather than allowing them to see diversity. We think “well my patients are tradesmen and they need sturdy!” Or, “well my patients are divas and they want big bold plastics!” In retail, we really don’t know what the heck people want until we test product sales over and over.
There are a plethora of reasons why you should drop all old thoughts about rimless eyewear and reevaluate bringing it into your practice. If you think they fall apart, well then you are assembling them wrong or buying junk. Old junk used cars fall apart too. Rimless eyewear may just be your avenue towards a solid chunk of unclaimed customers in your area seeking an alternative to the usual plastic, metal, boring stuff out there.
1. Rimless eyeglass wearers are the most loyal consumers
Why? Because there’s a perception that they bought these rare eyeglasses and now must go back to you for repairs, future purchases, new lenses, etc. It’s kind of like buying a new fancy Ford truck for $75,000. You take it back to the dealership for oil changes and maintenance as you don’t want to risk some random repair shop messing your favorite vehicle up.
There’s a patient perception that rimless eyeglasses require skilled labor from the optician to make small delicate repairs and adjustments. They don’t want to risk going to Walmart for them even though it’s convenient since they are shopping there already.
2. The guy/gal down the street doesn’t sell them
We always talk about exclusivity when it comes to eyeglasses. We want a certain mile radius around us to prevent patients from price shopping. Most optometrists and opticians are scared to sell rimless. Either they think they are too expensive for patients or just a plain old pain in the ass to work with. These are both excuses. We can’t judge what patients spend. We also must properly train our staff to be competent in crafting and repairing rimless. It takes time and effort to learn the techniques (if you need rimless sales training, www.eyerockit.com is an optometry and optical consulting company that helps with this either virtually or preferably on-site).
In a tier 3 city like Kansas City or Saint Louis with metro populations of roughly 2 million people, you may only have 5-10 locations actually really pushing rimless and doing well. This gives you a really good chance at differentiating your optical.
3. They are not sold online
There’s a reason higher quality rimless eyeglasses are not sold online. They require professional style consulting and fitting of lenses to fit properly and see well out of. Now full-frame glasses are a different story. That stuff is easy to buy online with today’s virtual measurement tech.
With rimless, an optician must do the following for measurements:
- Segment height or Ocular Center
- Customize the eye size of lenses down to the nearest 0.5mm
- Choose from 3 different bridge widths
- Choose from 3 different temple lengths
- Choose from anywhere from 8-30 different colors and sometimes more
Next, they must be made by a skilled laboratory. There is no way a mass production lab in China wants to mess with assembling drill mounts. It’s not worth their time. Even in the USA, many lens laboratories do a poor job at drilling and assembling rimless eyewear. Make sure you chose a lab that is good at it so they don’t fall apart!
Now, patients can find rimless online actually, but it will be cheap nickel-based piece of junk that will fall apart
4. Rimless wearers repeatedly buy more pairs even if the frame is still in good condition
Rimless patients love to make repeated purchases. Rimless frames that are high quality are made of titanium or stainless steel. They hold up for many years and sometimes forever. Over time, patients just get bored with their frame or lens shape. They want to try something new. It’s kind of like painting your house; sometimes you just get that itch to choose something different even though the wall is in good condition.
These patients see the value in rimless because they hold up a long time. They are okay dropping $1000 on a pair of frames and lenses combined. The old frame can also be recycled with putting new lenses in them so now a patient has a primary multi-use pair and then one for computer progressives.
5. The comfort is unbelievable!
Rimless wearers love the comfort of a frame that weighs 2.5 to 5.0 grams. You can’t choose a clunky plastic or metal frame after wearing one of them.
I would say the core crowd wearing rimless is 45+. This crowd is usually not running around in high heels and pointy dress shoes. Comfort is important to them.
Imagine wearing a cloud for your glasses. This is what rimless feels like. It’s like wearing nothing. Patients repeatedly say they fell asleep in them because they forget they are even on.
The glasses don’t leave red marks on the nose, they don’t hurt behind the ears because the temples are so slender, and they don’t fall down or off because they are a feather weight.
6. Rimless eyeglasses can be bespoke made to fit a tiny person or large football player head
Every optician runs into fitting issues weekly. Face it, there will never be enough companies making petites and extra-large frames that are stylish. A big dude or small woman does not necessarily want to be fit into some chunky frame that consumes their head!
You can make a rimless frame in a 40 eye size or a 60 and everything in between. The versatility of measuring for the perfect size is truly wonderful for our “special fit” patients. It’s no different than getting a pair of pants hemmed. Patients just need a little extra fitting advice when selecting rimless eyewear.
You will have to present this option to patients that you can make any size. Otherwise, they will look at your rimless frame selection and have no clue you can customize shapes and sizes.
Quick tip: big frames usually end up with deep B measurements which can look silly and touch cheeks. Modify big shapes to have wider A measurements, but cut down on the B to be narrower.
7. Great for patients that say “I don’t want to make a statement” or “I want my glasses to disappear on my face”
As eye doctors and opticians, we love eyeglasses fashion. We want people to notice us as we are walking advertisements for our businesses. However, many people want a minimalistic look and feel.
Glasses to some people are just looked at as a tool to help them see well. They are myopic and need to be able to see to drive and live life. Some people don’t want their glasses to be the first thing people see when they meet somebody for the first time. They want newcomers to look at their face instead of a bright colorful frame.
8. When a frame breaks, just replace the part instead of the whole frame
Rimless eyeglasses wearers find it comforting that it’s affordable to fix the frames when accidents happen. If a patient steps on a frame and breaks a hinge, well you simply can just replace the hinge for a nominal cost of $50-$75 bucks usually vs. buying a whole new frame for $400.
Frame manufacturers of drill mount rimless eyewear carry parts for many years. I would guess they keep parts in stock for 5-10 years (even for discontinued frames). Parts that can typically break on rimless frames due to abuse are hinges, bridge nose pads being bent, temples being crimped, or lastly, temple tips being worn out due to time or chewing.
It feels good to buy an item that can be easily fixed. This is a major selling point if you have a patient on the fence about not wanting to purchase a frame that’s so expensive or different from what they usually buy.
What rimless frame lines do we recommend?