Virtual r'eye'lity changing the focus at RA Glass Opticians

Optometrist Michael Dorman outside RA Glass in Larne

VIRTUAL reality is becoming increasingly popular in big businesses - and now it's even helping some customers in Larne decide what glasses they want.

For RA Glass Opticians, which has operated in Larne for more than 25 years and has five other branches across Northern Ireland, is now using VR headsets to show patients what it's like to wear certain lenses before they buy them.

The simulator, which is worn like a pair of goggles, shows you a 3D representation of the optical effects of various lens designs and treatments.

Michael Dorman, optometrist at RA Glass Larne, says it helps customers make informed choices.

“It's a great way for our patients to try before they buy. Glasses are such an important purchase for people that need and wear them every day, so it's great to be able to show our customers what certain lenses will look like.

“Spectacles can be a big investment, and you're able to test drive cars, view houses and even try on clothes before you invest in them, so why not your eyesight?

“We had one elderly lady in who absolutely loved wearing it. She was able to see what it was like to change to varifocals and try out different tints before she ordered them, meaning she was completely happy with the end product.”

The headset is controlled by an app on a smartphone which is placed inside, then the optometrist will change the prescription to suit the wearer and they can see exactly then and there what lenses and treatments they like.

The new technology has not only helped RA Glass boost sales, but they've had more customers coming in to try it out and less product returns.

“We've noticed a huge difference in only a matter of weeks since we got the headset in,” Michael said.

“It's always a bit of risk if a patient changes their lens design or adds tints that are different because they don't really know what it's like until they've ordered them.

“We've had really good feedback from customers who've been happy with their new spectacles and the change hasn't come as such a shock, especially with varifocals which can sometimes take a bit of getting used to.”

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