Calculating Capture Rate in Your Optometric Clinic or Optical Practice

by | Aug 18, 2020 | Business Management, Metrics

Most likely, at some point you have set a revenue goal for your practice, but do you have a strategic plan for meeting the goal? Remember: a goal without a plan is simply a wish. One area that must be included in your plan is capture rate. The challenge is that “capture rate” can be a bit of a catch-all term. Methodology for calculating it often varies, and it’s sometimes unclear exactly what is being measured. As we’ll see, there are a lot of different possibilities, and the results can vary radically, so it’s REALLY important to understand what you’re talking about when you use the term “capture rate.”

The good news is that you can use capture rate formulas to measure almost anything! Here, I’ve provided some methods for calculating the capture rate in your optometric clinic or optical practice that will provide you with valuable insight into the effectiveness of your strategies.

There are many definitions of “capture rate”. The industry commonly considers capture rate as the percentage of pairs of spectacle lenses sold against the number of refractions, but I am big fan of assessing complete eyewear sales (frame and spectacle lenses). I will tell you why in a moment. First, let’s look a bit deeper and review some examples.

Optical Capture Rate Method #1: Number of complete pair sales ÷ number of refractions

We’ll use this ratio to demonstrate the basic concept of capture rates. Essentially, what you seek to understand with capture rate is how many times a desired outcome (like the purchase of a particular product) occurs for every instance of a particular event (like a refractive exam). The particular product can be whatever you want to track or understand, like multifocal lenses, AR treatments, even specialized testing or referrals. When you quantify these results, you have a way to measure how effective your staff is when interacting with patients. Using those percentages, you can compare that effectiveness from one week or month to the next. It’s an ideal way to track progress towards your goals, and improvements in capture rates typically have a direct – and positive – impact on the bottom line.

In this example, we’re looking at one of my favorite KPIs, which is Complete Pair Capture Rate. It measures the number of times a practice has sold a complete pair of eyewear (frame + lenses) against the number of refractive exams. EXAMPLE:

Optical Capture Rate Method #2: Complete pair sales ÷ number of patients with Rx who shop in the optical dispensary

EXAMPLE: 10 patients walk into the optical with an Rx and we sold 8 complete pairs of eyewear = 80% capture rate. This calculation includes outside Rx’s.

The reason why I like to track capture rate by complete pairs of eyewear is because you cannot operate a profitable optical without selling frames! The sale of lenses alone will not get you to your goals and since most vision plans have a frame benefit, complete pairs should be the result. Your goal should be 65% sell-through on complete pairs of eyewear and 75% to 80% sell through on pairs of lenses. Achieve these numbers and you will be taking more vacations.

Capture Rate in the Clinic

Now let’s jump over that imaginary line and talk about services and contact lens sales. The clinic has many opportunities to calculate and track capture rate. Here are three high-impact capture-rate KPIs that you can use to set goals and improve performance.

1) Number of Contact lens exams ÷ Annual supply of contact lenses sold

2) Number of Contact lens exams ÷ Any supply of contact lenses sold

3) Number of Comprehensive exams ÷ Number of Optos performed

EXAMPLE: 20 comprehensive exams performed and 10 Optos performed = 50% capture rate.

When you really think about capture rate is all about whether or not your patients are taking full advantage of all that you offer in products and services. After deciding on any one, two or three capture rates to track, share this information with your team.

Advanced Analysis Using Capture Rate

As you become accustomed to analyzing your practice performance with capture rate, you will discover unique ways to measure and understand the finer aspects of your business. Most importantly, consider the relationships and logistics involved in providing opportunities to your patients. If you are a practice with multiple doctors and / or multiple opticians and technicians, it can be really enlightening to break down the capture rate of each individual, or combinations of individuals.


1) Patients that see Dr. A vs. Dr. B

2) Patients that see Dr. A and a specific optician vs. Dr. B and the same optician

3) Patients that are pre-tested by one technician vs. another technician

It is true that “knowledge is power. Knowing your capture rate gives you the knowledge and ability you need to increase your revenue. Embrace the math, and start using this powerful KPI to drive performance in every area of your practice!

By Evan Kestenbaum

Co-founder and COO of GPN Technologies, Evan spends his days finding ways to "make things better."


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