Getting out the word on BSCLs
Getting Out the Word on BSCLs
Patients won’t know you offer urgent medical eye care unless you tell them.
JASON R. MILLER, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
If we want patients to think of our practices as comprehensive vision and ey- health establishments, we need to tell them all the services we provide, including medical eye care, such as providing bandage soft contact lenses (BSCLs).
Many of you are probably familiar with the following scenario: A patient shows up and explains an experience in which they scratched their eye and went to the local urgent care center for treatment. By then, we’ve missed the boat — he/she may be a very loyal patient but just did not think to call us.
Providing medical eye care, such as BSCLs, can be a powerful addition to an optometric practice.
In addition to correcting refractive errors, BSCLs can help relieve pain and promote healing in patients who have cornea trauma. Corneal abrasions are one of the most common uses for BSCLs in primary-care practices.
In the presence of a corneal abrasion, BSCLs shield the corneal surface from the constant mechanical irritation of the blinking eyelids.
This results in a high level of comfort almost immediately postlens placement, which allows patients to return to normal function by controlling the pain.1,2
Are we missing the boat?
An example in my practice occurred when a child suffered an injury while playing with friends. The injury occurred over the weekend when the child fell into an invisible fence flag. It created a relatively deep corneal abrasion.
I met him at office and treated him right away. In addition to an antibiotic eye drop and a cycloplegic agent, a BSCL was applied on his injured eye. The next morning, the BSCL was removed and his cornea was 80% healed. This is a perfect example of the quality care eyecare professionals can provide, but may not have the opportunity if we don’t tell our patients.
We continually strive to educate our patients and advertise urgent medical eye care at multiple points throughout our office. One of the bullet points on our front window reads “Urgent Medical Eye Care.” We mention it on our on-hold messaging system. In addition, I discuss it during my eye exams with almost every patient. I tell patients, “If you even have any eye irritation, redness or different visual symptoms, call us right away. We have appointments available for urgent eye conditions on a daily basis.”
In addition to vision exams, contact lens exams and medical eye treatment, we need to let our patients know we provide urgent medical eye care when necessary, which includes BSCLs.
Developing the medical model and providing this service may take some internal changes, but the rewards may be high. Being reimbursed for this medical expertise may prove to be the most profitable revenue center and the most personally rewarding. Urgent medical eyecare, including BSCLs, can separate your practice and create patient loyalty. OM
1. Buglisi JA, Knoop KJ, Levsky ME, Euwema M. Experience with bandage contact lenses for the treatment of corneal abrasions in a combat environment. Mil Med. 2007 Apr;172(4):411-3.
2. Brujic M and Miller J. Alternative Uses for Contact Lenses. Review of Cornea and Contact Lens. 2009 Mar: 12-13.
DR. MILLER IS A PARTNER IN A PRIVATE PRACTICE IN POWELL, OHIO, AND IS AN ADJUNCT FACULTY MEMBER FOR THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY. SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
Optometric Management, Volume: , Issue: February 2013, page(s): 68