Contact Lens pricing

By Dr. Trevor Miranda. 

Dr. Miranda contributes his thoughts and perspectives on the topic of Independent Eye Care Practice in Eye Care Business Canada. Check out all of Dr. Miranda’s articles in Independent Insights category.

The modern consumer is egocentric. By that, I mean that they generally make purchases based on what is best for them, not what is best for the retailer.

A wise Optical Owner once told me that I wasn’t magic! How dare he dash my dreams of one day becoming a magician?! “You can’t make people buy from you.” He continued, “people will buy if they think it’s in their best interest to buy from you, so go ahead and take your shot by making your pitch.”

The Current Reality

 Today’s contact lens consumer is bombarded with online offers to purchase contact lenses directly. Clearly Contacts and other online retailers invest heavily to attract your contact lens patient into their online channel. At Kits, the online retailer’s fastest growing retail segment is a contact lens subscription that is taking your patient out of your purchasing channel for an average of 10 years (extrapolated based on European stats). Canadian studies have shown that a contact lens patient makes 2.9 purchases per year. Is this consumer using their friendly neighbourhood ECP, a convenient Big Box store, or online retailer to fulfill these purchases? Another industry statistic shows that less than 25% of patients in an optometrist office purchase annual supplies of contact lenses and the redemption rate of massive consumer rebates is less than 50%.

Contact Lens Pricing Strategies:

The Annual Supply: Many contact lens companies offer rebates and train our teams to recommend annual supplies of contact lenses. This allows the consumer to tap into “the lowest price after rebate.” There are quite a few flaws in this strategy:

  1. Most patients do not require or want to buy an annual supply of contacts.
  2. Rebates are a hassle factor and are not universally redeemed. The sticker price is artificially high and can be a shock and disincentive to purchase, rebates also require the patient to do some math to figure out if it is a “good deal” or not.
  3. Many Optometrists are compensated on a percentage of gross sales basis. The inflated price is overly expensive to the clinic owners, as that initial higher dollar amount paid potentially reduces overall profitability to the clinic.
  4. The rebates change, often quarterly, and the office staff needs to constantly update price quote sheets to keep up to date pricing.
  5. Pricing is often tiered so smaller purchase increments are not competitively priced

Per Box Pricing: The easiest way for a consumer to understand and compare pricing is on a per box basis. It is challenging for ECPs to flat price per box because of better incentives to sell larger amounts resulting in better pricing to the owners and thus better profit margins. There are, however, ways to implement this strategy in a way that is staff and consumer friendly:

  1. Negotiate with your Contact Lens Manufacturers for instant rebates or no rebates with better wholesale pricing on the lenses.
  2. Consider a small contact lens inventory where you buy “smartly” in increments that give you the best pricing and thus enabling flat per box pricing without reducing your margins.

Subscription: Studies have shown that many Canadians view contact lenses as an unaffordable luxury purchase. The sticker price keeps them from taking the plunge into full time contact lens wear. The world has moved to subscription: Services such as Netflix, gym memberships, wine clubs and, I have even heard of subscription toilet paper, are now the norm and accepted by the modern-day consumer. This allows contacts lens purchases to be considerd as “sunk costs” thus making available money to purchase other items such as sunglasses or mulitple pairs of glasses. Here are some advantages of subscription contact lenses:

  1. Affordable consistent monthly payments that reduce sticker shock
  2. The ability to consolidate a receipt to tap into insurance coverage
  3. Auto-preparation for rebate submissions.
  4. “Stickiness factor” – On average a patient stays on contact lens subscriptions for 9.9 years in Europe.

Web Stores: The pandemic drove many ECPs to develop an e-commerce strategy. While allowing the convenience of shopping at your clinic/store 24/7 is great, it has also led to some unintended consequences for some offices. Here are some e-commerce tips:

  1. Your online store offering should mirror your in-office offering. If you offer a sale online ensure you promote it in store.
  2. Inform your current patients of this convenience. Unless you spend money to elevate your search ranking, the bigger online players will  appear first.. You might be unwittingly pushing your patient to be crawled by bots on the internet and potentially taken out of your channels by Clearly and other online players.
  3. Make it easy to navigate and order online.
  4. Offer direct to patient delivery. Many manufacturers are still offering free delivery.

The Secret Sauce:

Keys to Successful Contact lens Sales:

 The doctors and ECPs need to approve the wearing of fitted contact lenses. Let the patient know that you have great pricing on contact lenses before the hand off to the optician or dispenser. A confident word from the doctor that buying from your practice really goes a long way and is in the best interest of the patient.

  1. Ensure that per box pricing is competitive. Be aware that patients will Google the brand and immediately compare pricing  from online retailers.
  2. Consider fitting brands that are ECP exclusive or “channel protected”
  3. Partner with manufacturers that give you the best margins while also making future purchases from your office more likely.
  4. Everyone approved for contact lenses should leave with a contact lens quote even if they are determined to buy from another source. The quote should include a per box price and a per month subscription price.

Good luck prescribing contact lenses and retaining your patients!



Dr. Miranda is a partner in a multi-doctor, five-location practice on Vancouver Island.

He is a strong advocate for true Independent Optometry.

As a serial entrepreneur, Trevor is constantly testing different patient care and business models at his various locations. Many of these have turned out to be quite successful, to the point where many of his colleagues have adopted them into their own practices.


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It is more important than ever to win the war for talent

The press lately is flooded with coverage of the talent shortage and hiring crisis, and it’s an ugly picture for any organization that runs on people. Until the robots rise up and free us all up to do higher value work, we still need a workforce to keep the wheels turning (literally).

All executives are abundantly aware of this crisis, but few truly know what to do about it.

Traditional recruitment approaches are dead. Truth is, they have been dead (ineffective, damaging, costly) for a long time, it’s just in our face more than ever before. Attracting qualified applicants requires a more strategic approach. You can weather the storm and win the war for talent – you just need to act differently than your competition.

The secret to hiring (and retaining) great employees is not what most people think it is.

Good hiring does not start with screening pools of resumes. Period.

If you (or worse, an AI in your Applicant Tracking System) are relying on the resume as the ‘admission ticket’ to decide who you’ll look at and who you’ll ignore, you’re missing out. Credentials, education, and experience may be non-negotiable qualifiers for a small handful of your open positions, but they are not reliable predictors of how an employee will perform for you or how long they will stay. The degree to which an employee is engaged in their job determines how long they will stay, how productive they will be, how happy your customers will be, and how much money they will make you.

So, how do you go about finding people who are going to be engageable? Well, you can’t mandate it or even ask for it. Engagement itself is the outcome of fit, and the best predictor of how engaged a person will be is fit across four different levels.

Fit between employee and their direct manager
This is self-evident and well documented, but most organizations pay little or no attention to getting it right, opting instead to throw people together and hope they jive.

Fit in their role
How much of an employees’ time will be spent drawing from their strengths, performing tasks that interest them and for which they have a natural affinity?

Fit with their coworkers, internal or external customers, and others
Will the employee enjoy interactions with key people, or will they find them stressful?

Fit with the company’s culture, values, and mission
Does the employee feel they are contributing to something worthwhile, and that they are in a place that’s right for them?

Here’s the real secret – if you don’t place a premium on (and invest resources in) getting the fit right, and if managers aren’t focused on using the tools at their disposal to build and nurture productive relationships with and between each of their people, you’ll never achieve and sustain the levels of engagement that are required to achieve your turnover, productivity, satisfaction, and financial targets.

Hire right, right from the start.

This post is sponsored by and Fit First Technologies

Learn more.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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Uniting passion and purpose, the FYidoctors | Visique Enhancing Life Foundation is a non-profit foundation with the aim of making a positive difference and helping to better the lives of Canadians. 

Enhancing Life Foundation: then and now

Giving back has long been a core value of the FYidoctors | Visique mission. In 2011, the company launched the FYi Foundation for Sight, an initiative centred on improving access to eye care and vision correction needs for underserved patients. Wanting to evolve its corporate social responsibility efforts, the team repositioned the strategy, turning its former non-profit into what’s now known as the Enhancing Life Foundation. It’s not just a new look and name, this latest endeavour ushers in a new era of charitable action for the team, one with a broader focus and a mission to enhance people’s lives through fundraising activities and in-clinic events, social media campaigns, and donation collections to help Canadians everywhere, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic background.

It takes a village

The project aims to partner with charitable organizations in communities across Canada, operating year-round, with an emphasis on fundraising in October — known internally as Enhancing Life Month. Over 300 FYidoctors | Visique clinics are encouraged to each partner with and offer support to a local charity, whether that’s by participating in periodic volunteer nights or raising funds. Most clinic team members get involved with philanthropic non-profits that support youth, promote health and wellness, or education.

The main rule when it comes to choosing a charity is as long as their underlying goal is to help enhance the lives of fellow humans—it’s ultimately up to the team members in each clinic to decide. Charity Clinic Leader, and Licensed Optician, Kerri Nicholls, says that in her clinic, people are driven to participate when it’s a cause that hits close to home. “People work harder to raise funds when it’s something that’s personal to them,” she added.

Nicholls speaks from experience—her clinic previously partnered with a non-profit organization called Making Faces that helps children with facial differences step outside their comfort zones. Nicholls’ son was born with a cleft lip and palate, and so the charity holds a special significance for her. Seeing her co-workers get involved and band together to raise funds for the cause was moving and eye-opening, instilling a sense of community and belonging—just one of the positive outcomes of working with community organizations.

The charitable organization, Bowls of Hope, based in Chilliwack, British Columbia, has been partnering with FYidoctors for several years. The volunteer initiative, led by the clinic’s General Manager and Practice Coach, Patti Stuart, has fostered a long-standing relationship with the charity. In partnership with Bowls of Hope, the FYidoctors team have helped the charity prep and package food for delivery to thousands of students attending local schools.

Even the executive leadership team loves supporting the Enhancing Life Foundation. At a recent virtual cocktail hour with clinic team members unveiling the total funds raised, Martin says that the pride they feel is palpable—the leadership team was moved to tears. “It’s very personal to them to hear the stories of why they chose that charity and how they raised funds,” she adds. “It tugs at their heartstrings; the impact and difference our own team members are making in communities.”

Growing stronger every year

Now in its third consecutive year, the Enhancing Life Foundation has already seen dramatic growth in participation levels. During the inaugural Enhancing Life Month, participating clinics managed to raise over $154,000 in total. The foundation has almost doubled that financial goal—this last October, clinics and optometrists rallied to raise $320,000 for the charities of their choosing.

Not only that, but in its three years of operation, the program organizers have been delighted by upticks in involvement. While only 37% of clinics took part during the first year, 2022 saw roughly 69% of clinics get into the spirit of giving.

There’s a reason behind such a sharp increase in participation: it serves the added benefit of bringing teams closer and creating a sense of unity. Positive takeaway from the campaign are new inter-clinic friendships — even in different provinces — and the spirit of healthy competition in hitting fundraising goals.

Working for a company that cares not just about the well-being of its employees, but of the communities the business caters to, is important for the team who are a big part of Enhancing Life Month’s success.

For more information on the Enhancing Life Foundation and how you can get involved, visit the FYidoctors | Visique website.


This post is sponsored by FYidoctors.



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Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) is pleased to announce a newly expanded partnership with VuePoint IDS publications, including Eye Care Business Canada  and NextGen OD.  The partnership also includes CRO (Clinical & Refractive Optometry) Journal and Optik Magazine for the 2023 calendar year.

VuePoint IDS, a long-time supporter of OGS, was honored at the Beacon of Light Recognition Event held at Vision Expo West this past September in Las Vegas. The event recognized those individuals and companies that had generously donated more than $100,000 to OGS over the lifetime of the organization so it could meet its mission to end preventable blindness and vision impairment in underserved communities around the world.

This longstanding partnership will be expanded during 2023. VuePoint IDS will provide more than $100,000 of in-kind advertising to OGS in 2023 alone, across all of its Optik print and digital publications, as well as its Clinical & Refractive Optometry online continuing education platform, enabling OGS to reach an audience it may not have had easy access to before. The type and level of market saturation and reach being made available with this expanded partnership will enable OGS to continue to meet its mission to reduce the prevalence of preventable blindness and vision impairment.

Doctors of Optometry will also be able to donate to Optometry Giving Sight when registering for CE courses through CRO.

Click HERE for the full press release.


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Practices have faced huge challenges and have undergone an incredible amount of change over the past few years, and this won’t slow down in 2023. The time has come now for practices to deal with the aftereffects of the global pandemic, increase in interest rates along with the rise of inflation.

The market for optometry sales is becoming quite interesting. In the past, most practices were sold privately to partners or associates, the true values of these practices were not tested by the open market. As such, the level of value was not necessarily as high as that of their dental and veterinary counterparts. This is now clearly changing as the market develops.

In general, valuations for healthcare practices are driven by two overriding forces: the industry’s appeal and current macroeconomic conditions.

1. The attractiveness of the industry can be summarized by these key factors:
• You have shown that optometric services are recession and pandemic-resistant, demonstrating quality performance relative to other businesses in challenging times;
• Aging population; and
• Solid historical growth rates of four to five percent, with a good outlook on future growth rates.

2. Macroeconomic conditions, the second force impacting valuations, affect prices because of the following factors:
• Record low-interest rates during the past decade, making capital cheap for practice buyers;
• Stable economic conditions and slow, but steady, economic growth; and
• An abundance of investment capital, and many investors finding our resilient industry to place their funds.

The last 3 months have certainly had an impact on individual doctors looking to purchase. The sharp rise in interest rates and the above average offers from corporate buyers have impacted the decision to purchase. Furthermore, with corporates offering sizeable compensation packages and signing bonuses, the idea of owning vs., being an employee is significantly less attractive. Younger doctors are burdened with huge amounts of student debt and seeking better work/life balance creating less interest in ownership among those under 45 than prior generations.

For owners, this is where practice values become a bit tricky. We predict the value of practices will decrease. This is simply because if key expenses such as wages and supplies increase, then net income will decrease. Cashflow plays a huge factor in determining the value. Therefore, if an independent owner is going to compete against the corporates in attracting and retaining doctors and staff in general, the owner will not only have to pay more but also consider offering signing bonuses. This is certainly a tough pill to swallow. Owners had a difficult enough time accepting that younger doctors wanted work -, life balance, but signing bonuses? What could be next?

As much as things may feel or look bleak, all is not lost. Good practices, continue to appeal to the right buyer. Business cycles have a wonderful way of self correcting. If you are not ready to sell for at least 5 years, now is the time to plan and be prepared to manage your finances with this in mind. Find out what your practice is worth now and budget for the proceeds of sale in your financial plan. There are a few reputable and experienced appraisers to choose from.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I know the value of my practice today?
  • Are there any reasonable overhead reductions I can make?
  • Can I invest in new technology to add additional revenue or improve efficiency?
  • Can I keep my gross income stable or, even better, increase it? As a note, practices in any state of decline worry buyers and usually attract a lower sale price.

The final thought as we move into 2023 is to “Keep Calm and Carry On”. The challenges that may come are ones that can be managed provided they are faced head on. I would like to leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Barack Obama “The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I do not have time to complain. I’m going to press on.”

Jackie Joachim, COO ROI Corp


Jackie Joachim is Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation. Please contact her at or 1-844-764-2020.


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