Optician and entrepreneur Marcus McNeill is interviewed by Fayetteville Business Connection CEO Don Matheson about how technology is used to produce better results in the vision field.
McNeill, owner of Seek Eye Care, a unique optical boutique in Fayetteville NC, shares his position on emerging technology in the optical field along with his business philosophy and tips for better eye health.
FBC: Marcus, thanks for taking the time to speak with the Fayetteville Business Connection. I know you are extremely busy.
MM: Thank you for having me. I love sharing anything with the public that will help their eye health and understanding of our industry.
FBC: Excellent! So tell us what is your motivation for being an Optician?
MM: What motivates me as an optician is the burning desire to be better and do better for every individual I encounter, by educating on all things visually related i.e., disease, digital eye strain, increasing myopia (nearsightedness) in children and more. I’m also very excited about investing in new technology to better serve my patients.
FBC: Yes, I’ve experienced some of your high tech exams which were very interesting and I’ll get you to expound on that later. Let me ask you what would you say to people who think that all opticians use the same old process?
MM: (laughter) I’d say they were right a year ago, but things are changing and the process does vary. Overall, the fabrication and design of prescription lenses have changed dramatically in the last five years. The primary reason is we now have the ability to fabricate those lenses by way of free form technology. This is when the power of a patients prescription is made on the back surface of a lens blank, which results in sharper acuity 25-35 less periphery distortion and a truly high definition vision experience.
FBC: Sounds fantastic. I have watched you move ahead of many of your peers in applying the advancements in your field. I specifically remember you being the first in our area to invest in some of them. Why don’t you tell us a little more about the technology you use?
MM: With advanced technology in virtual reality and ophthalmic measuring, we utilize a new piece of equipment called Optikam, which allows us to photograph and share on the big screen the appearance of frames we have selected, then email those photos to friends, family, or to themselves.
Optikam allows us to simulate what driving glare looks like with and without non glare coating, as well as demonstrating transition lenses and the elapsed time between lightening and darkening of the lenses.
Most importantly though, and I love this, is our ability to measure 1/100th of a millimeter which ensures any eye wear Seek Eye Care produces is more visually precise than years past; and you know the speed of it, taking multiple measurements of temple, bridge, length, width distance from the eyes and more in one minute or less. It still amazes me.
FBC: Yes, it is definitely impressive and useful. So, is it possible for a person to attain high quality prescription eye wear without your services?
MM: That is an interesting question. Certainly the raw materials are out there in lenses and frames as all the big manufacturers are using them. What people can’t get as much of and where we are different, is how much time and caring we can apply in creating and selecting eye wear for our patients. The kind of eye wear that gives an individual confidence, comfort, and pleasure, displaying the highest level of integrity when sharing what lens technology or lens protective coating would be best.
FBC: I’ve known you for awhile now and there is more to your business than high technology. Tell us a little of your philosophy.
MM: Our goal is to serve each individual personally and cater to their specific need. We heavily employ solution based eye care that creates confidence and trust. We ultimately succeed when people see visually at their absolute best, cosmetically look their best and have the best information on the care and health of their precious gift of vision.
FBC: Toward that topic, what constitutes successful eye health for someone?
MM: The number of check ups and eye tests people have. The vitamins they use for eye health and now, judicious use of computer and hand held devices. I recommend regular eye exams yearly, every 3-6 months if diabetic. We want everyone to recognize and minimize digital eye strain by utilizing the 20-20-20 principle. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This has been shown to slow the progression of nearsightedness which is critical for our children as well as adults because of our digital device use daily from dusk til dawn.
FBC: How do people degrade their eye health?
MM: Taking it too lightly as if it will always be there. Exposure to uv and led lighting from digital devices is leading to, I feel, a surge in low vision in the next 10 years. Smoking, poor diet, wearing contact lenses longer than prescribed. I could go on, but I digress, it all comes back to patient compliance with the education we provide.
FBC: Give us an example of how you educate someone who is not familiar with your process.
MM: Certainly. Seek Eye Care creates an interactive experience that engages each consumer. We discuss why this medical device is needed and when they will be used most, as well as in what capacity such as computer use, driving and reading. When the needs are uncovered we can begin focusing on the cosmetic, where most want to begin. This allows us to better select eye wear that fits those needs described such as size, shape, environment and coloring.
FBC: What is the first thing someone would do to begin the process?
MM: Bring in or have your optometrist or ophthalmologist fax us the most current copy of the vision prescription. Then we do the rest.