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Thursday / May 30.
HomemifashionRx-able Sunwear

Rx-able Sunwear

When the World Health Organisation (WHO) came out in 2011 and classified UV radiation as a class one carcinogen – the highest rating carcinogen that can be given, it was hardly a surprise.

Yet few optometrists – let alone their patients – are as disciplined about wearing their sunglasses as they are about wearing suncream when they go outside.

Optometrists are obliged to protect their patients’ eyesight by educating them about the need to protect their eyes from UVA and UVB because 90 per cent of all skin cancers happen from the neck up and around10 percent occur around the eye. That’s not to mention other vision threatening diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium, which have all been linked to UV.

Interestingly, it’s not the middle of the day, or the hottest season of the year that poses the greatest UV risk to the eyes. Because when you think about it, our eyes are anatomically positioned to be protected from the sun when it sits high above us in the sky. According to research conducted by Japanese researcher Sasaki in 2011, the most dangerous seasons for the eyes are spring, autumn and winter. And the most dangerous times of the day are around 10am and 4pm, when the sun is low to the horizon and hitting the eye at an angle.

Optometrists are obliged to protect their patients’ eyesight by educating them about the need to protect their eyes from UVA and UVB…

Additionally, much of the sun damage comes from scattered light, from clouds and from light that is reflected from surfaces such as buildings, concrete, the ocean, sand and car bonnets.

While most sunglasses fitted with UV lenses protect the eye from 95 – 100 per cent of UV passing through the front of the lens, many sunglasses allow UV to penetrate through the back and sides of the frames where it is reflected off the back of the lens and onto the eye and surrounding skin.

Some lens manufacturers are now countering this with differentiated anti-reflective coatings on the front and
back of the lens.

Personal Safety Too

But it’s not only the dangers of sun that optometrists need to concern themselves with. According to a study conducted by the Optometrists Association of Australia in 2011, 25 per cent of people who require distance spectacles, don’t wear them when they drive – instead they choose to wear plano sunglasses. It’s a frightening thought when you consider the number of cars on the road and the speed at which we drive.

So how can you encourage your patients to wear sunglasses?

According to Helen Venturato, Professional Affairs Manager at Essilor, it’s simple.

“When a customer calls to make an appointment, whoever takes the call in your practice should ask them to bring their sunwear along for the appointment. That immediately does two things: it says you are serious about protecting their vision and it creates an awareness of the need to wear quality sunwear,” said Ms. Venturato.

“When they’re in the testing room, ask them abut their family history of sun and skin damage and whether they’re on photosensitising medication that requires sunwear.

“And when it comes to prescribe, prescribe sunwear as well as spectacles – even if you’re not doing the dispensing, make the point, this is not a recommendation, it’s not up for discussion, it’s a prescription.

“An optometrist’s recommendation is an amazing driver,” she added.

Surprising as it may seem to those immersed in the profession, many people – whether they need vision correction or not – are simply unaware that sunglasses are available with prescription lenses. Ms. Venturato recommends that rx-able sunwear displayed in your practice is labelled as such to increase customer awareness of the ability to buy prescription eyewear.

A Practice Builder

David Burch, Corporate RX Training Manager for Maui Jim believes a practice can increase its annual turnover by around 10 per cent, simply by selling sunglasses.

“Its not that difficult – sell one pair of premium sunglasses per week, over the course of a week, and based on a practice turning over an average of AUD$680,000 pa, you’ll get to a 10 per cent increase on turnover,” he told delegates at the Eyecare Plus conference in October.

“As your patient is waiting to see the optom, get them to fill out a lifestyle questionnaire – find out what they love to do on the weekends, put it into a database and refer back to it, every time they come in… ‘Are you still playing golf? Driving to work in the early morning six days a week?’

“Ask them very specific questions: do you regularly wear sunwear when you leave the house? Do you experience any discomfort when you’re outdoors?

“These are the pain points customers will respond to.”

Mr. Burch said it’s a “no brainer” that optometrists will be financially better off if they put more focus on selling sunwear. “You can sit and charge AUD$60 an hour for a consultation, or you can combine it by selling frames worth hundreds of dollars,” he said.

He recommends showcasing the sunglass collection on a ‘sun island’ and showing customers their sunglass options immediately after their vision assessment.

“Push them into products that protect their vision. Get them to choose the sunglasses then naturally, they’ll need to buy the second pair (of spectacles).

“Show the middle to high-end sunwear first, don’t start at the bottom. Then if they can’t afford the mid to high end, show them the lower end of the market… Why work harder? Work smarter – sell premium – one premium is worth three cheap pairs,” he advised.

So what are your options?

When it comes to recommending sunglasses for your patients, you can point them in the direction of brands that fit their own proprietary lenses, and brands that can be fitted with quality sun lenses in a lens laboratory. The decision should be based on your customer’s vision needs, lifestyle, budget and style preference.

Rx-able Sunglass Programs

Rx-able sunglass frames are the most convenient for optometrists – once your patient has selected the frame, you simply send the order to the manufacturer, along with the script to the relevant brand. The customised sunglass is usually sent back within about seven days and your customer is assured that they’re benefiting from sunglasses fitted with premium lenses that have been purpose ground, cut and fitted, to the manufacturer’s highest specifications.

Many of the world’s leading eyewear brands now offer a comprehensive Rxable program to ensure the integrity of their product reaches the customer.

Mako RX Program

The much-anticipated Mako Rx program has started to roll out nationally. Using only digital freeform for both single vision and progressive lenses, the Mako Freeform Active Lens is tailored perfectly for 8-base high wrap prescriptions with the absolute minimum of distortion and aberration.

Like the Mako plano range, Mako Rx uses the highest quality polarised lenses and a vast array of options to suit everyone’s outdoor needs. Four different indexes are available including three different coloured photochromic polarised options to suit any patient. For ease of use and greater customer service each Mako Rx stockist receives a full set of lens samples and easy to use power charts.

The Rx program is backed with Mako’s two year warranty and the brand’s assurance program for any accidental loss or damage to their prescription sunglasses. All Mako Rx jobs come as a complete package including frame, lens and multi-coat for one set price, making the process of 8-base wrap freeform simple, consistent, quick and affordable. Distributor: Mondottica (AUS) 02 8436 6666.


All Oakley prescription sunglasses are made in the Oakley lab in California. Lenses are fitted to order there too, and returned to the optometrist in Australia within five to 10 days. Optical doors that stock Oakley typically keep a range of prescription ready sunglasses on display. Customers can choose a pair from the display and the dispenser will check that their script is within the parameters for that particular frame. This is an important step as all Oakley suns are either 6-base or 8-base.

Oakley’s B2B CRM website provides all the information required for ordering frames with lenses, and the ability to follow the process of any placed orders.

The company says its system works best when the lab provides the frame and lenses, and while an eyecare practitioner can also send a patient’s frame, this does slow the process considerably. Oakley does not supply prescription lenses without a frame due to issues of counterfeiting – the company states it will never put genuine Oakley True Digital lenses into counterfeit frames. Distributor: Oakley South Pacific (AUS) 03 8598 3100

123 Bang Bang by Eyres

The versatile new 123 Bang Bang sports frame is one in a vast range of Rxable sunglasses that Eyres creates for the workplace, sport and leisure activities.

This new model incorporates thermoplastic material, which moulds to the wearer for increased comfort and impact resistance. Ratchet arms ensure superior fit and vision for the wearer.

When an optometrist orders an Eyres sunglass with an RX, Eyres manufactures the frame and fits the lens inside its own factory to the exact specifications of the original lens and safety certification. Sunglasses are delivered nationwide within fourteen days of being ordered.

123 Bang Bang is medium impact certified to AS/NZS1337.1:2010 (Eye and Face Protectors for Occupational Applications).Distributor: Eyres (AUS) 02 08 9325 2444

Magic RX Sun

Magic RX Sun is a prescription only range of sunglasses that Shaan consigns in store using a front curve specific blade cutter to cut – not grind – the lens edge, so there is no rounding of the lens bevel. This results in a tight fit and close interface with the groove of the frame. The company’s 20mm diameter cutter facilitates bevel reproduction on high base lenses and enables complex shapes to be edged with accuracy. Shaan supplies tinted, polarised and Drivewear lenses in all designs, material types and indexes.Distributor: Shaan (AUS) 07 3205 3324


General Optical’s Sun.Rx program has plenty of designer sunglasses with premium prescription lenses at an attractive package price, which includes the designer sunglass frame and single vision lenses. The range includes 36 styles from six designer brands: ck Calvin Klein, Gant, Guess, Nike, Nautica and Michael Kors.

This Sun.Rx Program will help you grow your business by increasing your sales of sunglasses fitted with prescription sunglasses. And, as you’ll be ordering the complete package through GenOp’s Lab, you’ll simplify your ordering process and eliminate the freight charges.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the company’s complementary marketing support to help you promote the collections to your customers. Distributor: General Optical (AUS) 1800 251 025


McCann’s scriptable sunglasses are exactly what’s needed for patients that want cost effective, stylish sunwear. There are over 40 exciting models to choose from, including metal and shell frames, and they’re available as a package with frame and lenses.

Simply email or fax your order to McCann and it will arrive at your practice complete. It’s easy and fast – just what you need in today’s competitive optical market. Distributor: McCann Optical (AUS) 03 8773 4500

Instyle SunRange

The versatile new 2001 Instyle Fashion Frame is one in a range of many Rx-able sunglasses that Opticare creates for the sport and leisure activities. Lenses available include Younger Driverwear, and NuPolar (1.5,1.6, 1.67). To further improve vision the company can back surface multicoat all lenses in its Sydney facility.

When you order an Opticare sunglass with an RX, Opticare manufactures and fits the lens inside its own factory to the exact specifications of the original lens and sunglass certification. Sunglasses are delivered nationwide within seven days of being ordered. Distributor: Opticare (AUS) 02 9748 8777

Mars Fashion

Bonastar Rx-able sunglasses are available within the Mars Fashion range, which is one of the most popular brands for value and design. The company’s plano or prescription polarised sunglass lenses are able to cut out 99.5 per cent of glare and 100 per cent UV 400nm.

Bonastar’s Sydney based office and lab offers a full lens fitting and tinting service. Lenses within the Rx-able sunglass range include tinted, polarised (1.50 to 1.67), Transition VI (1.50 to 1.67), Transition Drivewear (1.5 to1.6), Transition Xtractive (1.5 to 1.67) as well as freeform progressive transition VI (1.50 to 1.67).

The company offers the convenience of an online ordering system. Distributor: Bonastar (AUS) 02 9310 1688

Rx-able Sunglasses

Most established sunglass brands, that do not have their own sunglass programs, can be fitted with quality Rx-able sunglass lenses in a lab. As an optometrist it’s important to keep the customer’s prescription in mind when helping them choose the frame to ensure the most appropriate choice. Once they’ve settled on a frame, you’ll need to determine the most appropriate lens to suit the patient’s lifestyle, vision needs and budget.

David Lawrence by Mondottica

David Lawrence eyewear is targeted at women aged between 30 and 50+.Styles are conservative, yet classic – a high end look taking in the feminine touches from the brand’s clothing line. Each season’s sun collection is designed to complement the colours from the season’s fashion.The Summer 2012-13 collection comprises 10 models. All are 6 base and will take the majority of prescription lenses. And, like its spectacle frames, all David Lawrence sunglasses are cut with a “V” groove rim.

Mondottica also offers David Lawrence sunglasses as a frame only at a reduced price with clear demo lenses. Distributor: Mondottica (AUS) 02 8436 6666


In 1972, as Australians crammed into cinemas to see The Godfather, Led Zeppelin, play its infamous Australian tour, the Jag brand was born.
Jag introduced contemporary sportswear design and re-invented denim, which became an integral part of the brand.

Jag Eyewear reflects the essence of the clothing: it’s stylish, accessible and affordable in the latest season’s colours. The 2012-13 Summer Sunglass collection has two distinct design collections, one being classical and the other following the latest European trend and colours. There are nine women’s models and nine men’s models available, all 6-base and able to take the majority of prescription lenses.
All models are cut with a “V” groove rim, as are the spectacle frames. Mondottica also offers Jag sunglasses as a frame only at a reduced price with clear demo lenses. Distributor: Mondottica (AUS) 02 8436 6666


Speeder Rx from 720armour is equipped with removable Rx-able gaskets that enable prescription lenses to be fitted. Featuring a wrap design with a wider coverage than basic Rx adaptors, Speeder Rx offers a great solution for precise, clear vision.

Speeder Rx also features 720armour’s patented Compressed Venting System, which creates an airflow between the lenses and your eyes to prevent fogging and reduce pressure on the face. Lightweight construction with adjustable nose pads and thin flexible temples ensure a comfortable fit. Distributor: Aviva Optical (AUS) 08 9353 2814

Bill Bass

Bill Bass offers optoms an entire sunglass range that is suitable for Rx.Perfect for no-gap and package deals, Bill Bass is a great way to maximise value and quality for your existing customers, while also attracting new customers through your door.

All Bill Bass sunglass frames are made by hand, using high quality Italian style acetate, or high quality European optical metals. The result is outstanding quality and amazing value for money, giving you the greatest confidence and guaranteeing your customers total satisfaction. Distributor: VMD Eyewear (AUS) 07 5594 9845

Rx-able Sunglasses with Framelink

FrameLINK is an initiative that offers optometrists a convenient way to order frames from a number of brands, with lenses fitted. It relieves the practice from the financial burden of carrying multiple frames of any one style, saves on freight charges and increases practice efficiency.

Sunix Vision and Essilor Laboratories have joined forces to provide this simple three step service: the eyecare professional downloads frame data from the Sunix Frame Gallery into their inventory, attaches the frame to a patient record and orders the frame and lens in one click.

FrameLINK then transmits the order simultaneously to the frame supplier and to Essilor Laboratories. The frame supplier sends the frame directly to Essilor, which fits the lenses and returns the finished job to the practice. Frame display stock remains on show allowing the frame to be sold again and again.

FrameLINK is available to all practices using Sunix Vision with an interface with Essilor’s winLINX or essiLINK ordering solutions.


Launched early in 2012, OP’s Optical Products offers frames from Charmant, Elle, and Esprit. All are listed in the Sunix Frame Gallery, which is now open to all frame suppliers.

One of the company’s stand-out frames comes from Esprit. Featuring bold, slightly square rims in soft acetate, the temple is finished with a geometric print and discrete Esprit logo in metal. It’s available in colours of vibrant red as well as classic black and brown. Distributor: OP’s Optical products (AUS) 02 9894 1000


Capri has a range of Rx sunglasses that fall within this very successful Essilor- Capri Framelink program.
The Essilor-Capri Framelink program reduces the need to heavily invest in inventory, guarantees reduced freight costs and faster delivery to the patient, while ensuring a quality lens is always fitted into the frame.
Distributor: Frames Etcetera (AUS) 08 9248 1882

Rx-able Lenses

Essilor, Younger Optics and Hoya are some of the companies that have quality rx-able sunglass lenses to fit into sunglass frames. These lenses can be ground and fitted in your preferred independent lab.


Essilor’s new OpenView lens design offers high base curve lenses with excellent wide fields of vision without compromising optical quality. They’re specially-tailored for wrap around eyewear and available in a range of materials, including Xperio polarised lenses. The company’s recent advancements in Crizal UV coating technology is now available on sunwear. Using an enhanced UV absorption layer on the back surface of the lens, the E-SPF rating is boosted to 50+. For details contact your Essilor Account Manager.

Younger DriveWear

The polarised photochromic technology incorporated exclusively into Younger DriveWear lenses continuously adjusts to changing light conditions by reacting to both visible and UV light. This is the only polarised sunglass lens that darkens outside as well as behind the windscreen of any vehicle.
The lenses improve both contrast and depth perception and remove glare. Originally designed to assist drivers, they are great for outdoor activities like tennis, golf, and skiing, and ideal for lower light situations, such as late afternoon or early morning fishing. Drivewear won ‘Lens Product of the Year’ at the 2011 Optician Awards in London.

In addition to the lenses, Younger has just released new designer sunglass collection developed in partnership with German designers and Japanese luxury frame manufacturers. Available with both prescription and non-prescription lenses, there is a choice of eight frames, each in two colour variations.
Distributor: Younger Optics or your preferred lab.

Hoya Nupolar

Hoya NuPolar combines Hoya’s advanced digital surfacing and coating technology with NuPolar polarised technology to offer a premium range of single vision lenses.

This technology involves casting the polarising filter into the lens so it cannot separate or de-laminate.

Polarised lenses enhance the most important function of prescription eyewear: improvement of visual acuity. With Hoya Nupolar, this is further enhanced with digital surfacing, which provides prescription accuracy and a thinner lens.

Hoya NuPolar polarised lenses block out 100 per cent of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays and intense glare, providing complete protection for wearers, in any condition.

Consistent colour is achieved across the lens and superior stability in high temperature conditions. They’re available in 1.50, 1.53 & 1.67 indices across a range of colour options. For information contact your Hoya Account Manager