Monday, January 13, 2014

Behind the Scenes at the Carillon Optical

My blog entry this month is shifting the focus from eye care to eyewear, as I wanted to take a moment to discuss what our lead optician, Phyllis, has been up to in Carillon’s optical. With years of experience, Phyllis not only has an eye for helping patients find the most aesthetically perfect pair of frames, but she is also exceptionally knowledgeable of the latest brands and materials for both prescription glasses and lenses. I am quite proud of the services and products that our optical has to offer, and we work diligently as a team to make sure all patients’ vision needs are met.

Unlike many of the chain locations, which are owned by a vision insurance company, Carillon’s optical has the freedom to select the lines that we think are the best for our customers. Our well thought-out collections range from durable, yet fashionable children’s frames (with brands like Flexon, Nike) to designer lines (Fendi, Coach, Ray Ban, Kate Spade, etc.). Yet, what truly sets Carillon’s optical apart are the high quality, independent lines that are unique and more difficult to find (Lindberg, Tom Ford, Europa, etc), which offer glasses that are often fully customizable and/or entirely handmade. Our opticians meet with the representatives from each frame line at least 4 times per year to bring in the newest designs. Due to the volume of eyewear that we purchase, discounts are negotiated with our vendors, and these savings are passed on to our customers. We fully stand behind our products and choose to offer only the highest quality eyewear to our patients. Therefore, we intentionally do not carry outdated or consignment items.

The quality of the prescription lenses themselves are undoubtedly just as important. Although we do have a machine (called an edger) that allows us to cut prescription lenses in-house, it is typically reserved for emergency situations. Instead, we choose to use an outside optical laboratory, which offers extremely specialized and high precision equipment to manufacture most of our patients’ lenses. Carillon has worked with Hoya, a local lens laboratory, for over 25 years. Through this partnership, patients receive the best quality lenses in a timely manner and at minimal cost.

Within any optical, Carillon or elsewhere, the quality of the eyewear is a direct reflection of the staff, their training, and credentials.  The state of Illinois does not mandate that opticians have any licensing whatsoever, which means that an “optician” might have only had a few days worth of experience. Carillon only employs licensed and experienced opticians. The measurements of prescription eyewear (pupillary distance, segment height, vertex distance, etc.) are complicated and can greatly affect the quality of vision.

In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed our little “behind-the-scenes” look into how our optical runs and the reasoning behind some of our optical decisions. As always, we will continue to do everything we can to make both your exam and optical experience the best it can be at Carillon Vision Care.


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