Article Date: 11/1/2013

Dry Eye Disease and Marketing
MARKETING & MERCHANDISING
marketing

Dry Eye Disease and Marketing

Disease identification and unique education promotes your practice.

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LEAH COLBY, O . D .

Practicing in the Midwest with its frigid winters and lack of humidity, I don’t have to look for possible dry eye disease (DED) patients. They find me, and I see lots of them. Identifying these patients is an excellent means of marketing your practice. After all, when you provide symptom relief from this debilitating disease, patients sing your praises to potential patients.

Here, I discuss how to find these patients, provide DED patient education and a unique approach to the disease that will make your practice stand out from others that provide DED care.

Ask every patient about DED symptoms

With EHR, our technicians go through the DED questions in the exam room for the sake of efficiency and thoroughness.

When the doctor reviews the list of symptoms, if any, they can schedule the patient for the necessary tests to determine whether the patient has the condition and, if so, the best course of treatment.

Patient education

Once I have determined a patient has chronic DED, one of my favorite “spiels” is: “Mrs. Jones, your dry eye is not a temporary condition like a cold. It’s kind of like being diagnosed with diabetes. You need to follow your treatment plan, and modify your lifestyle to help manage your disease. Our goal is to find the least invasive and easiest treatment plan for you to follow.”

After this script, I discuss computer use, caffeine intake, diet, exercise and alcohol use. Further, my practice disseminates a DED packet that contains bullet points from this discussion. Finally, we give samples of an Omega-3 product and how to order it.

Providing this education markets our practice as one that genuinely cares about its patients’ well-being.

Standing out from others

When it comes to DED, we discuss how the application, location and removal of makeup can stress the tear film. Specifically, we tell patients that the powders, minerals and metallics in eye shadow often dust into the eye and serve as tiny microscopic pieces of sand that can cause irritation.

In addition, we tell patients that when they apply liquid or a pencil-style liner along their lid margin, it plugs the meibomian glands, which decreases their tear lubricity and introduces the potential for makeup debris to further irritate the eye.

Finally, I instruct patients to go “au natural” when removing their makeup, as the plethora of creams and chemicals available to do so, can be a contributing irritant to the eye, if not used properly. Specifically, I tell them to use water and a washcloth, followed by a moisturizer.

After this discussion, patients tell me that no other doctor has ever discussed makeup’s affect on their eyes and how doing something so simple can help to alleviate their DED symptoms.

Putting it all together

By being diligent in identifying DED in your patients, providing clear patient education on the disease and focusing on a related subject that others who provide such care simply do not, you not only improve the likelihood of positive patient outcomes and satisfaction and loyalty, but also patient referrals, as your practice is marketed as patient-friendly and unique. OM

DR. COLBY OPERATES EYEWEST VISION CLINIC IN ROGERS AND ST. MICHAEL, MINN. SHE WAS NAMED THE “YOUNG OPTOMETRIST OF THE YEAR” BY THE MINNESOTA OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION. TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, E-MAIL OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.



Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: November 2013, page(s): 45