Article Date: 5/1/2007

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Wise to the World

Boasting the Title of ‘CEO’

If you want to maximize your earning potential and take your practice to higher levels of success, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and The Vision Care Institute LLC are offering a program you won’t want to miss. Called the “Chief Executive Optom- etrist,” this exclusive, first-of-its-kind course teaches advanced business skills and the core principles needed to succeed in practice in optometry’s competitive marketplace. You’ll learn about marketing as well as organizational and financial management. The curriculum combines cutting-edge business strategies and tactics from renowned Wharton professors with case studies and best practices from Fortune 500 companies and optometry industry experts.
The program will be held June 21-24, 2007, at Wharton’s Steinberg Conference Center in Philadelphia. Registration for the first session is under way. For more information, call (800) 255-3932 (United States or Canada) or +1-215-898-1776 (worldwide). Or, apply online at executiveeducation.wharton.upenn.edu.

Seniors With Vision Loss Can Live Independently


To help the millions of seniors with age-related vision loss and their families and friends, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has launched a multimedia Web site featuring instructional videos, easy-to-implement tips and encouraging testimonials.
The launch of the AFB Senior Site at afb.org comes amid concerns from health officials that diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, are expected to double as the nation’s 78 million baby boomers reach retirement age.
Visitors to the site will find articles on how to live healthy, independent lifestyles as well as resources to connect them and their families to vision loss specialists in their communities.
So share this site with seniors as an additional educational tool that will encourage them to lead fulfilling lives.

Great Networking Opportunity
There’s still time to register for the American Optometric Association’s upcoming Optometry’s Meeting, held in Boston on June 27-July 1, 2007. You’ll learn best practices, new concepts and tools to help grow your practice and improve patient care. Plus, you’ll get to test-drive the latest ophthalmic products, attend top-quality continuing education courses and network with your peers from around the country. To register online, go to optometrysmeeting.org.

New Online Appointment Scheduling Service for Convenience
Here’s a clever way to grow your contact lens patient base. Sign up for Vistakon’s “click-to-be-contacted” online service, designed to facilitate appointment scheduling for new contact lens patients. The service actually shifts the responsibility of scheduling appointments from patient to doctor.
“Click-to-be-contacted” works when consumers — who respond to a free trial certificate found at acuvue.com — are provided with a listing of participating doctors in their area who offer Acuvue brand contact lenses and a free trial pair of lenses. The search results give contact information only; they don’t recommend a specific eyecare professional. Clicking on the icon for enrolled doctors directs patients to a page where they enter their contact information and request to be contacted by phone or e-mail. This information immediately is sent to the doctor’s office, which contacts the patient to schedule an appointment.
Vistakon developed the service after conducting research among more than 25,000 visitors to the Acuvue Web site. Two out of three (64%) individuals interested in an eye exam for contact lenses said they didn’t make an appointment with their eye doctor because of scheduling inconveniences.

Educating Moms-to-be About Eye Health
The next time you examine the eyes of an expectant mother, educate her about the vision changes that can occur during pregnancy.
Inform her that increased hormones may cause temporary refractive changes, dry eyes, puffy eyelids that obscure side vision and sensitivity to light due to migraine headaches. Tell her to call your office immediately if she experiences blurry vision or spots before her eyes. These symptoms may indicate diabetes or high blood pressure. At excessive levels, high blood pressure can cause retinal detachment as well as serious pregnancy complications.
In addition, caution her that cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking and drug use can raise the risk of amblyopia, strabismus, significant refractive errors and physical abnormalities in unborn children. For more information and to request a free expectant parents vision care package, go to preventblindness.org.

Optometry Rated ‘Excellent’ Career Choice
Ever wonder whether you’ve made the right decision to study optometry? Well, according to a recent article, called “Best Careers 2007,” in U.S. News and World Report, you have.
In the article (March 19, 2007), optometry was rated as an “excellent” career choice. The profession was identified as a “career where the job prospects are strong due to the large number of aging baby boomers in need of vision care.”
The career guide also mentioned that optometry is one of 10 careers that will be in growing demand as “baby boomers age, the Internet becomes ubiquitous and Americans seek richer, simpler lives.” Job satisfaction in optometry was rated high, “since most vision problems can be corrected with lenses or relatively minor surgery.”
What’s more, the article projected increased growth in pediatric optometry in the near future.
Hector Santiago, O.D., Ph.D., president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, says the article confirms what practicing optometrists already know — that the profession of optometry as a career choice has several advantages. Visit usnews.com/careers.

Keep Patients Moving
We’ve developed a system to improve patient flow that’s worked wonders. I provide laminated, fluorescent-colored cards with different instructions printed on them to identify where patients are in the exam process. The cards say things like, “dilating,” “doctor needs to see trial lens,” and “referral.” After I’ve dilated a patient, checked the keratometry or chosen a contact lens, I place the appropriate card in the patient’s chart and send him to the front desk. The technician knows exactly what the patient needs. This helps our office run more efficiently and prevents patients from leaving before their dilation exams are complete or before I’ve assessed their contact lens fit.
Kelly Scott Hynes, O.D.
Columbia, S.C.
For more great fitting tips, visit CLToday.com



Optometric Management, Issue: May 2007