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Daniel Williams
United Kingdom
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The Business Case for Low Vision

Online publication :
07/2019
Reading time :
3 min

After sharing his experience and a low vision patient’s perspective on what more can be done to improve services Daniel Williams (UK) gives key points to better orientate business for low vision patients.

Content

When you’re in business, it’s often tempting to think only of the majority, dismissing those who may not fit into the ‘most people’ bracket as too expensive to cater for, and therefore affecting vital profit margins. For example, people with low vision will have assistants so you give a cheerful smile, apologise, and do your best to help.

But as any good business owner will know, it’s when you embrace the wider sphere that you often win far more reward in terms of reputation and new niche markets through word of mouth referrals

It’s the biz

Even some optometrists can fall wide of the mark when it comes to offering services for low vision customers by not being aware of what is required, so forget lots of sympathy and apologies and become business-minded and practical. That doesn’t mean being brusque and abrupt, but showing you care, with empathy and engagement.

Welcome customers with low vision, and with the right approach, making them feel they are coming into a comfortable environment. Don’t try to avoid common expressions like, ‘See you later’ or, ‘Nice to see you again’ which will make you sound nervous, alienating people. Create a positive and relaxed experience for both business and customer from the outset, which will always help raise your profile and lift profits.

Business is booming

Give thought to how you deliver your service to those with low vision by getting familiar with the equality laws and consider offering your staff visual impairment awareness training and arrange an access audit of your premises. Many people without sight loss such as wheelchair users and mums and dads with pushchairs, will also welcome increased ease of access and you’ll attract new customers with your forward-thinking, inclusive approach.

People with sight loss or limited vision need to be able to get around, not be expected to bump around; they may be independent and unaccompanied, and when a customer feels valued, they return and tell their friends.

Many adaptations are low cost, such as a handrail on stairways, clear signs, using contrasting colours and markings for steps or other obstacles; and remember, glass doors are a partially sighted person’s nightmare.

Business as usual

Having low vision doesn’t mean you don’t need the same information as anyone else so offer brochures or instructions in large print and Braille. A magnifier is a must-have for many people with limited vision, but it isn’t always available at opticians or not in a very wide range. The same applies to sunglasses so offer a high-quality range with different tints/filters and watch your new customers come back for more.

There have been great advances in assistive technology for low vision patients, from video magnifiers to large print phones, and word of mouth spreads fast in business. Stocking simple optical aids can also make a big difference. Adjustable lamps are a great help and carefully consider aspects such as glare, sunlight, artificial light, combination and directed lighting. These can all make a huge difference to visual comfort and safety and will keep customers returning and referring. It’s one thing to talk about lighting it’s another thing to demonstrate effective lighting.

Home is where the business is

Offering a home visit for patients with a visual impairment will be popular with other groups in society too, including older people and their families who may feel obliged to give up a day’s work to help a relative.

Off to market

It’s fine to advertise to the general public but by updating your marketing strategy to target more focused areas such as health clinics and surgeries, local support groups and hospital areas where patients with low vision will visit regularly, is likely to bring in more customers who are seeking a modern, access-aware optometrist. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Embrace the wider market to benefit from enhanced reputation and new niche markets through word of mouth referrals.
  2. Offer services for low vision customers - forget lots of sympathy and apologies and become business-minded and practical and show you care, with empathy and engagement.
  3. Welcome customers with low vision by making them feel they are coming into a comfortable environment and create a positive and relaxed experience which will always help raise your profile and increase profits
  4. Don’t avoid common expressions like, ‘See you later’ or, ‘Nice to see you again’
  5. Become familiar with equality laws, offer your staff visual impairment awareness training and arrange an access audit of your premises. Many people without sight loss such as wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs will also welcome increased ease of access.Many adaptations are low cost, such as a handrail on stairways, clear signs, using contrasting colours and markings for steps or other obstacles; glass doors are a partially sighted person’s nightmare
  6. Offer brochures or instructions in large print and Braille. A magnifier is a must-have for many people with limited vision. A high-quality range of sunglasses with different tints and filters provides upselling opportunities. Consider offering video magnifiers and large print phones.
  7. Adjustable lamps are helpful and carefully consider aspects such as glare, sunlight, artificial light, combination and directed lighting.
  8. Offering home visits for patients with a visual impairment will also be popular with other groups including older people and their families who may feel obliged to give up a day’s work to help a relative.
  9. A marketing strategy that includes targeting health clinics and surgeries, local support groups and hospital areas where patients with low vision visit regularly is likely to bring in more customers who are seeking a modern, access-aware optometrist.
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Author
Daniel Williams
United Kingdom
About us

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