Video Interview with Eric White O.D. – Doctor Driven Dispensing

Sep 23, 2014
7 min read

This is a video interview with Dr. Eric White. Doctor driven dispensing is the act of prescribing specific ophthalmic products, directly from the exam chair, and for a direct purpose, supplemented with a plethora of education as to why it fits the patients life.

I am lucky to have such a phenomenal mentor and employer.

That's right! I have the pleasure of working for Dr. Eric White of Complete Family Vision Care in San Diego. During our first year in practice together he has taught me about doctor driven dispensing. This little piece of advice is what changed Eric's practice and profits. Eric has lectured on the topic for companies such as Alcon, Transitions, Essilor, Allergan and more. He is an expert and there is an art to his expertise.

Through Dr. White I have learned that those who practice doctor driven dispensing all go on to change their practices. On the other hand, those who laugh at it remain in the same rut. In order to enhance the point Eric is trying to make, I decided to film him speaking about doctor driven dispensing in his own words.

What is doctor driven dispensing?

Doctor driven dispensing is the act of prescribing specific ophthalmic products directly from the exam chair for a direct purpose. It is supplemented with a plethora of education as to why it fits the patient's life. Most new graduates I know will finish their exam and send the patient to the dispensary to have the staff instruct them on what to buy. This often leaves the patient feeling like they have been "sold". Many doctors feel that their patients want to spend the minimum on glasses and contact lenses. Why do doctors make this judgment of patients? I have found that most patients want maximum visual performance and are willing to spend the money.

My personal experience with doctor driven dispensing

In optometry school, I never learned how to prescribe specific frames, lenses, coatings, or contact lenses. I was just told to give the patient their prescription and let the optical dispensary handle it. This embedded really bad habits that are hard to break, even after doing doctor driven dispensing for an entire year! Since I started practicing doctor driven dispensing, here is what I have found.

  • My patients are happier
  • If a patient doesn't want my recommendation because it is too expensive, they never get mad at me or think I am up selling them, they just let me know
  • My 2nd pair sales are up to at least 25% capture rate
  • 90% of patients are getting Essilor Crizal Avancé and digital lenses
  • I prescribe much more dedicated sunglasses
  • I prescribe much more Essilor Transitions Signature 7
  • Patients are happy to have invested the money in their eyes
  • My reviews have improved
  • I am generating more revenue for the practice
  • More of my patients are becoming contact lens wearers... Particularly Acuvue True Eye lenses in small supplies

An example of doctor driven dispensing

Keep in mind this sounds very "staged" when written down. In real life, it is much more personal and informal.

Here is a good example of doctor driven dispensing in effect. I have a 50 year old woman come into my office. She is myopic and presbyopic, she loves the gym, running outside and works long hours in front of the computer. I take a case history and then wet her appetite about the "new technology" that has come out recently for eyewear and contacts. When I pull away the phoropter, I go into prescribing mode! I tell her the following:

"Your prescription has changed this year and it is time to take your vision to the next level. I want 2014 to be a year of maximum visual performance for you. I am prescribing you Varilux Physio Enhanced Progressive lenses with Crizal Avancé No-Glare in a digitally surfaced lens with Transitions Signature 7. As we mature, imperfections in our eyes develop and it is critical that we maximize useable vision with the most optically pure variable focus lens. In addition, the No-Glare lens is going to greatly improve your night time driving when you pick up the kids from basketball practice and it will fix any glare that might bother your eyes at work. As an added bonus to choosing that No-Glare lens, you get a 2 year warranty. Should anything happen to the lens, there is a no-questions-asked, free replacement here at the office. Even little scratches are a pain and you shouldn't have to deal with that!

Transitions are going to be so helpful for you as well. Now while your running in and out of the house babysitting your granddaughter, the Transitions Signature 7 is going to keep your eyes comfortable and protected from the sun. You will no longer need to dig through your purse for your sunglasses. I myself am wearing my own pair right now and I love them for how convenient they are. This lens just hit the market about 9 months ago and the technology is outstanding.

It is also really important that we update your sunglasses. I know how you love to run outside so, I am going to prescribe you a pair of Nike polarized sunglasses to help you focus on your run and not on discomfort. The Nike X2 Run sunglasses are amazing for runners and allow lots of air flow through the glasses. I'm going to save you money by not using a prescription for your sunglasses. Instead, I am going to have you try a daily disposable contact lens called "Acuvue True Eye". You can wear them outside while running with your non-prescription sunglasses or at the gym. I know how frustrating glasses can be at the gym. All of my patients using this lens say it is a life changer! You can also wear these on special occasions when you don't want to be in glasses. Just keep in mind, you aren't buying an entire year supply... Only a few months will last you the year.

Before you go, I want to break it down once more. We are doing your Varilux Physio Enhanced Progressive glasses with Crizal Avancé No-Glare and scratch resistant lenses with Transitions Signature 7. You will use your insurance for this pair. Next is your polarized Nike sunglasses, but because it is a second pair, I am giving you 20% off! As for your contacts, this will be an out of pocket expense, but these lenses are the same price at all retailers because of UPP.

Now to finish up, I want you to consider for next time a pair of single vision computer glasses with Crizal Prevencia lenses. These lenses have been shown in clinical research to decrease retinal cell death by 25% and that is important for healthy aging! I will e-mail you an article I wrote about this and you can consider it for next time.

That basically sums up what I say to my patients. I prescribe with confidence, authority and I know that if my patients invest in their eyes, they will have years of happiness and healthy vision. I also did some calculations of what this costs and it's not much for the patient... We are talking a few dollars per day!

How to improve your doctor driven dispensing skills

One thing that helped me was using the ECP University free course on Essilor products. You can't prescribe unless you know your product and it was very helpful for me to learn about all the Essilor lenses.

Lens Training ProgramEssilor and ECP University

I found this most valuable for the doctors and staff in the practice. We are really big on “Doctor Driven Dispensing” so it was really important that Dr. White and I knew everything possible about the latest in lens technology.


You get in depth training on the following products -

  1. Transitions Signature VII
  2. Crizal Prevencia
  3. Varilux S Series
  4. Xperio UV
  5. Optifog Technology
  6. Crizal UV
  7. DEFINITY: Ground View Advantage
  8. Digital Dispenser Training
  9. Varilux DRx Lenses
  10. Visioffice for Dispensers
  11. Varilux Comfort Core

Have any doctor driven dispensing tips?

Share it with us in the comments!

About Matt Geller, OD

Dr. Matt Geller is an entrepreneur with a track record of developing successful online platforms to solve problems in the healthcare space. Matt is the co-founder and CEO of CovalentCareers and NewGradOptometry.