Article Date: 8/1/2010

When It's Back To School Time

When It's Back To School Time

The summer is a great time to promote education in your practice.

Jim Thomas

I was pleasantly surprised to find 40,800 results when I searched Google using the terms "back to school" and optometry. It's smart to educate patients on the connection between clear vision and good grades. Taking the school message a step further, many practices promote the message that good vision and eye protection are critical for success in extracurricular activities.

I'm impressed with those messages that remind those students who go away to school to pack an adequate supply of contact lenses, cleaning solution and a back-up pair of eyeglasses. You might also remind students of the connection between an effective contact lens cleaning regimen and ocular health.

(If you happen to be the parent of a student, take a moment to wonder what you'll do when you gain control of your home again.)

There are practices that promote the back-to-school message through other channels, such as e-newsletters, print advertising and various social media outlets, which may not show up in my Internet search. I invite you to send me an e-mail, which describes these experiences to me at

It's not just for patients

Why not make late summer a time to consider educational opportunities for you and your staff as well? For example, many doctors find value in earning advanced degrees.

"Honestly, if I had even 15 more years before retirement, I'd go back to school and get my M.B.A.," wrote John L. Schachet, O.D., in the article "Catapult Your Career With an Advanced Business Degree" (New O.D., a publication of Optometric Management, June 2009).

If an advanced degree appears too great an investment at the moment, learning can still be a priority. Where can you start? Here are a few ideas:

► As this month's cover theme of glaucoma illustrates, the management of ocular disease continually evolves. Even if your knowledge of the clinical side of your practice, including diagnostic instruments and therapeutic strategies, is up to date, consider educational opportunities for your staff.
► The business of optometry, from finance to managed care to information technology, has never been more complicated. Yet learning about leading-edge issues — such as Web 2.0 (see the article ‘How to Design Your Website’ of this issue), for example — provides practices with tangible competitive advantages.

You might read a book about business management, learn a new language or network with your peers — the possibilities are endless and exciting. Now, excuse me while I dust off my slide rule. OM

Optometric Management, Issue: August 2010