Putting frames on faces is a much maligned aspect of optical practice but it’s time to rethink how powerful that process is.

Set against the sexy science of contact lenses, the worthy world of clinical practice and the high-tech arenas of spectacle lenses and coatings, it can easily be forgotten that for most people a visit to the optician is mainly about frames.

Optician has profiled, and presented, awards to those practices that understand the importance of frame style and fitting. A great example is described by Zoe Wickens in her visit to Mincher Lockett. By embracing styling it quadrupled its average dispensing value, changed customers’ lives and turned its business around.

This week features a new 3D imaging system which aims to add a little science to the fitting process. Research reveals that about one-third of optical practice clients have been unhappy with the fit of their frame. Fuel3D reports that more than a half have left a practice empty handed as a result because they haven’t found the right fit or style. Globally that could equate to $26bn in lost revenue.

Just as with refraction (see In Focus 12.04.19) the internet’s ability to assess and trade direct to people’s homes has raised the stakes. Fuel3D’s research shows customers would choose frames from home if they could and those technologies are coming.

Last week we heard how medical links needed to be forged to fight against the power of the internet but equally opticians need to own the styling space. Just as with the clinical side optical professionals already possess the skills to offer the services customers want.

To own that styling space you don’t need an iPad and 3D facial scanning technology, just a PD rule, a sense of style and the right attitude.