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    The ‘art’ of the optical deal

    Why a picture may be worth a thousand words, and a new customer

    Take-home message: A visit to two innovative optical shops reveals differing portraitures of providing better customer experience and increasing capture rate.

    Arthur De GennaroWhile attending the recent ASCRS/ASOA conference in New Orleans, my wife and I spent some time shopping in the Garden District. Those familiar with the area know that it is dotted with eclectic shops, most of which are locally owned.

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    Since I work in the ophthalmology and optical dispensing worlds, I am always on the lookout for innovative optical shops. On this trip, I found two. I’d like to tell you a little about them.

    Art and Eyes

    The first is Art and Eyes. This is a high-end, independent optician whose goal is described on its website goal as providing a hand-picked collection of frames for “people who appreciate eyewear as an opportunity for aesthetic expression.”

    From the name, one would expect to find eyewear and art—and indeed, you will find both on display. Beyond the obvious, however, the name evokes the idea of eyewear as art. This instantly elevates it from the practical to the aesthetic and gives it a strong fashion lift. In many cases, this too proved to be true.

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    For example, a salesperson who engaged me showed a line of frames crafted from vinyl records. She also showed titanium frames that are fabricated in layers, creating a three-dimensional look and feel.

    I, however, have a problem. When trying on frames, I cannot see them clearly in a mirror. Because I am over 55 and can only supply 1 to 2 D of accommodation, I see both myself and the frames as a blur. That situation makes selecting frames a challenge. For that reason, I generally do not shop for frames without my wife, who accompanied me on this trip.

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    Unfortunately, Art and Eye did not have a way of helping me with this situation, or at least did not offer such a service.

    Warby Parker

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