emPower! uses a liquid crystal reading zone between two pieces of optical media, and can be turned on manually or automatically.
While it hasn’t been on the market very long, emPower!™ from Pixel Optics, Inc. has received international attention from the optical industry as well as the media and a host of other industries like electronics and engineering. Touted as the world’s first electronic eyeglasses, emPower! eyewear uses a liquid crystal reading zone enclosed between two pieces of optical media, and this reading zone can be turned on and off manually or automatically. Because of this, the carrier lens only has distance and intermediate powers, allowing for much less peripheral astigmatism than conventional lenses.
To get some insights into how the lens is being received in the marketplace, I interviewed Dr. John W. Clardy, an optometrist in Mobile, AL.
FIRST TO USE EMPOWER! Dr. Clardy became an emPower! dealer during the original rollout, which occurred about a year ago. “It was really exciting because being the first to have this kind of unique eyewear made us feel very special,” said Dr. Clardy. “The company has a significant buy-in of 36 pieces and a tower to showcase them. It is awesome. The tower has a short video that shows how the lens works. It’s simple and explains it all. Patients can see the distortion in conventional lenses and the lack of distortion in emPower! It’s a terrific sales aid,” he added.
Dr. Clardy uses the tower as the central focus in his dispensary. “We try to make a big deal about dispensing emPower!,” he said. “All the opticians and staff gather around, so we often have three or four people fussing over a patient. Since everything stops, all the other people in the office start looking at the emPower! patient and we hear: Wow! Electronic eyeglasses! The glasses change power, wow! The buyer loves all the attention,” he explained.
EXCELLENT RECEPTION The initial reaction from his staff was excellent because they were involved in the product’s inclusion from the start. “We all went to the initial rollout event and everyone got to hear all the details, which got them all pumped up. This is something very new and different and I think including them in the initial education about the product was a good idea,” Dr. Clardy said.
emPower! is a unique new eyewear category that promises to bring prescription eyewear patients a new level of visual comfort, clarity, and convenience.
When asked who the ideal candidate is for this lens, Dr. Clardy answered, “Anyone over 40. The buyer is a high-tech guy or gal. It’s for anyone who has all the latest toys and enjoys cutting-edge devices. They are always impressed with emPower!. When I first bought my iPhone, I told all my buddies how cool it was and what it could do. I was enamored with it and I was a real salesman for it because I was excited about it. I’m finding people with emPower! doing the same thing.”
IT SELLS ITSELF As an independent optometrist, Dr. Clardy feels emPower! sells itself. He told a story about when some friends and he were at a wine bar when the owner brought them a new bottle. “One lady picked it up and said: I can’t read the label. So my friend, who’s wearing emPower!, says: Well, I’ll just ‘empower’ myself, and we started laughing. There were about 10 people at the table, four or five whom we didn’t know. When they saw my friend’s eyewear lights flashing, they wanted to know about the eyewear. When we explained it to them, we heard things like: My doc doesn’t have that. Do you have a card? We want to come to your practice.”
emPower! is a unique new eyewear category that promises to bring prescription eyewear patients a new level of visual comfort, clarity, and convenience. As more patients discover it, Dr. Clardy’s experience will no doubt be replicated.
John Seegers is a licensed optician at Ryan Vision Center in Henrico, VA, and the creator of opticianworks.com.