Capture rate is a frequently discussed number in the eye care community, with several variations on how to calculate the number. Simply put, the capture rate is the percentage of people who are refracted that purchase eyewear from the practice. The most frequently suggested method is to take the number of glasses sold and divide it by the number of patients refracted. This is an easy number for the practice’s management software to produce, but unfortunately it is totally wrong!

For example, if the practice gets a fair amount of outside Rx’s coming through the doors, that makes the number appear higher. Another factor is if the practice does a high percentage of second and third pairs that also spikes the number. This formula for capture rate can make things look great, while they may in reality need some serious attention from the practice’s managers.

The realistic way to calculate capture rate, which is a vital number for the practice to know, is to take the total number of patients who purchase eyewear (glasses or contacts) and divide by the number of refracted patients. It may be a little harder to get to the number of patients who purchase eyewear, but at least you will be dealing with the real numbers.