Merchandising Red Eye?
Yes, you can. A well-prepared office won’t let this opportunity pass.
GINA M. WESLEY, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
we’ve all had these patients. Some of us enjoy treating them, and some of us would rather not. This is the red eye patient whose condition usually springs from varying etiologies that include viral, bacterial, inflammatory, dryness-exacerbated, allergy, contact lens-associated, foreign-body-issued, etc. Whatever the cause, have you considered what you can do to merchandise this condition? Yes, I did say merchandise… a red eye. Let me walk you through how this can be accomplished in three steps.
1. Educate patients.
First and foremost, your patients must know you diagnose, treat and manage red eye conditions. It may be hard to believe patients don’t think of you first when their eye gets red and goopy, but they may simply be ignorant of the fact you know how to manage this condition.
I make it a point to tell each patient at the end of every appointment when I expect to see him/her again, and that he/she should be sure to see me if he/she ever has a red eye issue. At this point, I proceed to briefly describe what may cause that issue or what it may look/feel like and how best to reach the practice both during and after office hours. Most often, this is greeted with a pleasant, “Oh. I didn’t know you did that,” or “Yes, you did help me last year with that allergy issue, so I’ll be sure to come in if it happens again.” Put this information on your website as well. Train your staff to triage these patients appropriately, and be sure to mention on your business cards and office hand-outs red eye treatment is a service you provide. Educate, reinforce and remind.
2. Carry the supplies needed to treat red eye.
Be prepared to supply the patient with all the products and equipment needed to help him/her overcome their red eye. Goggles containing inserts that can be either heated or cooled are great for your blepharitis, contact dermatitis and dry eye patients. You can sell high-quality artificial tears, as well, which service most red eye patients and may actually bring them back to purchase more for themselves or family members. Have you ever recommended a contact lens solution change for a red eye patient only to send him/her to the closest pharmacy to purchase it? Have a few bottles on hand ready to dispense.
3. Increase spectacle sales.
Unfortunately, not all patients are well-prepared for the red eye emergency, especially our contact lens wearers. Only when faced with the situation of not being able to wear their contact lenses do some patients actually think about the importance of back-up spectacles. This is an opportunity to re-educate and potentially make a sale. Can you provide glasses to them quickly to help them through their red eye situation? Make that service known. Or, if that’s not possible, you could still sell them a pair of glasses so they are prepared, hopefully, for any future red eye emergency.
Although the idea of merchandising red eye seems potentially limited, many ways exist in which your office can provide further products and services for each specific patient and situation. A well-prepared office won’t fail to let those opportunities pass them by. OM
DR. WESLEY PRACTICES AT COMPLETE EYE CARE OF MEDINA, WHICH SHE OPENED IN 2008. SHE WAS HONORED WITH MINNESOTA’S YOUNG OPTOMETRIST OF THE YEAR IN 2011. E-MAIL DRWESLEY@CECOFMEDINA.COM, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
Optometric Management, Issue: February 2013, page(s): 52