State-of-the-art digital devices paired with broadband internet can offer patients a  comprehensive eye exam with a live refraction by certified technicians, and a clinical review by a  licensed optometrist via HD video conferencing.   20/20NOW provides on-demand (no appointment necessary) comprehensive eye exams from 9:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Saturday in most time zones, which allows patients greater flexibility. With the growing challenge of being able to afford an optometrist, let alone find one, 20/20NOW has become a truly viable solution. Many private opticals and OD practices working with 20/20NOW have already avoided cancellations and down days due to OD absence, as existing staff and equipment could be used to continue seeing patients during an OD absence.   It didn't take long for Sandy and Nick to agree that the tele-health coverage offered by 20/20NOW would help them operate their diagnostic lanes with the full, convenient schedule they wanted to provide for their customers and do what they do best; offer patients the best experience, along with the finest eyeglasses available.
Next, they turned their focus to dispensing. Nick ruled out sourcing from a lab because of the high lens costs and slow turnaround times, and he reasoned that "by now there had to be a way to make a progressive lens in-office." His research led him to a webinar hosted by Perry Brill discussing in-office lens production with FastGrind by Super Optical, and this provided Nick and Sandy the second piece to their puzzle.   FastGrind is an all-in-one system that utilizes a modified lens blank and pad system to generate, fine, smooth, and polish lenses in a compact machine.
Nick learned that FastGrind is able to produce a pair of ready-to-edge lenses in about 15 minutes, which meant that Nick and Sandy would hit their goal of being able to dispense glasses next-day or even same-day, drastically reducing the turn­around time customers were used to.   Additionally, Super Optical's extensive lens catalog for FastGrind allows progressive, bifocal, and specialty single vision lenses with a wide range of lens features such as anti-reflection, photochromic, anti-blue light, and even polarized (with or without mirror).   Nick sent his prescription to Super Optical so they could make him a sample pair. He was amazed that Super Optical's photochromic brand Conversion "is comparable to, and maybe even a little better than, the market leader." Additionally, the design of the ADDvantage Plus progressive offered crystal clear distance, a smooth intermediate, and generous reading area that Nick says, "he would put it up against any premium progressive design, and the fact that we can make it in-office just can't be beat."
Lastly, Nick analyzed the CLARITY super hydrophobic anti-reflection that is offered on the front side of FastGrind lenses. Since it was front-sided, Nick was concerned about reflections, but "seeing is believing," he says, and reports zero reflection problems. With the lens test complete, Nick and Sandy were confident that FastGrind was going to be a key profit generator for the in-office lab.
Now that Nick and Sandy had diagnostic exam lanes and lens production planned, one puzzle piece remained: vision insurance. Tennessee is not a Lab Choice state, meaning that vision  insurances can still dictate which labs are used when filling their insurance jobs. This often led to slow turnaround times and reduced margin on lenses, which were exactly the kind of problems Nick and Sandy wanted to avoid.   They needed a solution for how to serve the significant percentage of their customer base who relied solely on vision insurance programs for their care and glasses. Anagram provided the last piece of the puzzle. Anagram’s insurance billing software was built from the ground up to make serving patients as seamless as possible, even for those with out-of-network vision insurance.
With Anagram, all Nick and Sandy have to do is enter basic patient demographics (name, date of birth) and Anagram identifies eligibility and helps calculate out of pocket costs and  reimbursements the patient can expect from their vision plan. Once the purchase is made, the patient can then easily file a claim with the vision plan through Anagram’s easy to use  software.   Nick and Sandy liked how Anagram allowed them to avoid "Big Optical's" game. Nick concluded with, "We know that the same conglomerate owns the insurance company, the lab, and the chain retailer down the street we're competing with; why would I want to give them money? By using Anagram, we can offer straightforward pricing, which is a great relief for our customers; and by being able to select our own lens source we retain the margins we need, which is a great relief to us.  “We see others in our area that accept insurance who are forced to mark things up just so they can mark them back down with insurance, and that's just not a game we want to play. That's not the customer-first culture we set out to create."
20/20NOW's innovative tele-health connectivity, FastGrind's state-of-the-art in-house lens  production, and Anagram's billing software were the building blocks that helped Nick and Sandy’s dream come true.   They opened Cutting Edge Optical in 2022, and they are happier than they ever imagined with their new set-up---and so are their customers.   "We routinely have patients tell us that they chose us because of the speed we can offer," Nick said, "and that is thanks to FastGrind."   It's estimated that in the first year of FastGrind usage, Cutting Edge saved over $23,000 in lens costs that would have otherwise been paid to outside labs. Super Optical's FastGrind will continue to be a leader in entrepreneurial in-office lens production and looks forward to the innovative solutions that they, along with 20/20NOW and Anagram, bring in the future to help more dreams come true.