Article Date: 10/1/2011

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Congratulations and don't forget …

By Pete & Howard

Congratulations to all the graduates of 2011 (especially Ali Kehoe). By now, boards are behind you, and hopefully you've settled into your first practice opportunity. If you graduated in the last few years, we hope you've landed in your “ideal” practice situation. If not, remember what excites you about optometry and keep looking. Remember that the perfect practice opportunity might be across the state — or maybe just around the corner.

It's an exciting time to be an optometrist with all of the new technologies and treatment modalities available now and expected in the future. In addition, the baby-boomer explosion will put our services in high demand for years to come. As a couple of young baby-boomers, we're experiencing first-hand the degradation of vision that comes with a few decades of birthdays.

As we travel to state and national meetings, we frequently hear comments such as: “Optometry has forgotten its roots,” meaning schools and continuing education focus on the medical aspects, so some doctors have forgotten that the majority of patients enter our offices simply wanting to see well. Patients appreciate the medical diagnoses and treatments we offer, but their main objective is to see the best they can in all environments.

A consumer survey in 2010 confirmed that 73% of patients expect their doctor to make specific eyeglass and contact lens product recommendations. They want YOU — their doctor — to make very specific recommendations about eyeglasses and lens options that will help them see the very best in a variety of daily activities.

You know all the drugs and contact lenses, but do you know the entire spectrum of new lens and lens treatments available? Take the time to meet with your lab representative the next time he or she is in your office; or stop by their booth at the next meeting. Learn the advantages between traditionally surfaced PALs and a digitally produced, individualized progressive lens such as Varilux Physio Enhanced Eyecode. Understand the differences between Transitions VI lenses and Transitions XTRActive lenses, and realize that photochromics don't mean patients can't also benefit from polarized sunglasses.

Whether you call it doctor-driven dispensing or doctor-driven solutions, and regardless of your practice setting, take the time to learn about all of your patients' visual needs, and take the time to discuss the benefits of ALL of the different prescriptions that may be needed to satisfy those needs. Be sure to help patients prioritize multiple prescriptions and try to find creative ways to allow patients to experience the benefits of multiple types of eyewear.

Another key take-away from the 2010 study we mentioned earlier: Only 63% of patients remember their doctor making specific product recommendations, so there is a 10% “disconnect” between what patients want and what they receive, and that spells: OPPORTUNITY! By the way, if you make specific recommendations, patients are 16% more likely to recommend YOU to their friends and family.

As optometrists, we are primary healthcare providers. We're responsible for the overall health and wellness of our patients, not just their eye health. We're uniquely positioned to deliver for our patients the best vision possible in nearly all situations. Your patients want your recommendation/prescription for eyeglasses and lens treatments and if you deliver, they'll send friends and family your way. What a GREAT profession! We hope to “see” you at an upcoming meeting!

Dr. Peter Kehoe
Professional Development Advisor,
Transitions Optical, Inc.

Dr. Howard B. Purcell
Vice President, Customer Development Group,
Essilor of America

Optometric Management, Issue: October 2011