“I like to give consultation,” Lee Wei Seong, owner of Bangsar Optomerty Centre, said with conviction. “I believe that people want to know more about vision care. With the knowledge, they can then choose the eyeglasses they need to improve their vision.”
With over 33 years experience in the optometry practice, Lee has looked after the eye health of his patients as a Registered Optician. When Bangsar Optometry Centre opened in 1984, Lee strives for the absolute best to help his patients, not only to get the appropriate pair of prescribed glasses, but gain insightful education about their vision health, comfort and long-term physical health condition.
“Most of the time, many people are surprised to find out that their vision also depends on their physical health condition.” Lee explained the reason why some people need to check their health with their doctors instead of replacing their glasses. “One lady came to my shop and upon checking her vision and the glasses she had, we discovered that her vision was affected by her cervical stress. So, if I have just heeded to her request to replace her glasses, it will not solve her vision problem.”
On the other hand, her cervical stress which caused her neck pain could also be due to an ill-fitting glasses. Chances are that she may have been advised to change her glasses without having the advise to take a more serious look at her own physical health previously.
Not only is Lee stressing on the need to take care of his patients’ physical health, it is important to change certain habits to regain good vision health. In a 2012 survey from the American Optometric Association, more than half of the respondents reported that they valued their eyesight more than their memory or ability to walk. However, you may be making little decisions every day that could be compromising your most indispensable sense. “Constantly interacting with screens, missing out on essential nutrients, forgetting your sunglasses—these innocent-sounding habits can stealthily take a toll on healthy eyes,” says optometrist Hilary L. Hawthorne, a trustee of the American Optometric Association.
There are times Lee will send his patients home without changing a thing, unless the spectacles are ill-fitting which is already affecting the person’s vision. One of the reasons why Lee would not recommend a pair of new glasses is because the person needs to readjust some lifestyle habits to stabilise his or her vision first before getting an eye check again. “One young woman walked in to my shop after being recommended by her boyfriend. Once I tested her eyes, I advised her to do five things to improve her vision. The five things are:
- use eye drop;
- stop reading with device or book too close to eyes;
- rest in between work and give eyes a light massage;
- get a pair of new glasses (if the current one is clearly ill-fitting);
- workout with regular routine to improve physical health.
I imposed these five conditions for her to work towards improving her vision. Later, I followed up with her on her progress and found to my amazement, she diligently followed through and she has shown a great improvement after two weeks.”
“In my practice, I try always to use simple terms. I tell my patients that sometimes they would not get 100% vision, in optometry, most will say 20/20 vision.” Being in his patient’s shoes, Lee feels that many patients would not be able to understand what it means to have a 20/20 vision. “The reason why some patients are not able to achieve 100% vision could be due to ageing, cataract growth and other health related problems. So, they may need to understand that even putting on a new pair of glasses may only help them to attain 70% to 80% vision.” Lee trying to put it straight that optometrist may not be the right person you should see if you are experiencing blur unclear vision.
“Another misconception is that when we talk about the vision power, people tend to be worried when the power is 800 compared to a person having a power of 200. But the fact is that, a person having a power of 200 may not necessarily achieve 100% vision. The person having power of 800 may have 100% vision. A person having a power of 200 may not necessarily achieve 100% vision due to his or her health condition, lifestyle habits and ill-informed vision care.” Lee gave further examples. “So, don’t get carried away with the power of your lens.”
Lee’s service has always been in Bangsar. Even after more than 30 years, Bangsar Optometry Centre has never been in popular public places like shopping malls or departmental stores. Yet, Lee has developed loyal customers over the years who came to get their new glasses prescribed. Many even said that they believe in Lee, whatever Lee prescribes or asks them to do to improve their vision, they will do it. “Many just say – I believe you, just choose any frame for me. I am always left speechless when they have so much confidence in me,” Lee confided.
Business is always about expansion. With so many happy customers, Lee could easily open an optometry chain to serve his customers all over the Klang Valley. Even Lee’s counterparts in the optometry business mentioned the idea of expanding his practice but Lee is adamant that expansion is not in his mind. “I really like to give consultation. For a full consultation, I only charge RM50. I find it a pleasure to educate and share with my patients how to regain their visual comfort rather than just recommending a pair of new glasses.” Lee expressed his joy about his work.
“When a listed public hospital invited me to open at their premises, I declined.” Lee is adamant. “I feel that I can’t just sell frames and conclude a deal just because patients want a pair of new glasses. I want to sleep well at night, and I don’t want to be awakened in the middle of the night worrying about sales figures. I would not like knowing that customers bought a pair of new glasses which I know will not help to improve their vision.”
Even his wife has advised him to expand his business, knowing that his patients will go with him wherever his practice is located. In business, the more shops you have, the more publicity you get. Hence, sale increases. But Lee likes to do consultation one-on-one, providing an opportunity for Lee and his patients to discuss about the patients’ lifestyle and vision care.
There is a well known phrase that many inspiring salespersons have shared – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Lee’s passion in taking care of his patients have definitely turned in a long list of loyal customers. True to the fact that customers, in Lee’s case – his patients, return again and again because they have found a solution to their problem. Ultimately, vision care and health condition are the fundamentals to achieving 100% clear vision – not necessarily getting a pair of new glasses.