Article Date: 9/1/2006

Wise to the World

Keep Your Patients Coming Back

VISTAKON HAS LAUNCHED a complimentary online service designed to facilitate appointment scheduling for new contact lens patients. Consumers who respond to a free contact lens trial offer at are provided with a list of doctors in their area. When they choose the Click-to-be-Contacted icon, they en-ter their contact information, which is sent to the doctor's office. The practice then gets in touch with the patient to schedule an exam. Doctors who wish to participate in this program should visit

This service is in response to research conducted among consumers who visited the Web site. While the site provides a list of Acuvue practices near consumers, nearly 64% interested in an eye exam did not make an appointment originally, citing the inconvenience of scheduling a visit as the main deterrent. With the Click-to-be-Contacted feature, Vistakon removes that deterrent and offers consumers a quick, easy way to schedule an appointment.

Claim Your NPI Number Now

IF YOU ARE A NEW OPTOMETRIST, you need to apply for your National Provider Identifier (NPI) number now, according to the American Optometric Association Advocacy Group. The new standardized identification numbers are a key part of the plan by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to encourage greater administrative efficiency in the nation's healthcare system for healthcare providers who conduct electronic transactions.

Starting May 23, 2007, the NPI will replace all of the provider numbers you currently use to bill Medicare, Medicaid, third-party plans and other healthcare payers. You can apply online for your NPI number at

Patient Service Tips Off the Farm?

WHAT DOES dairy farming have in common with patient services in an optometry practice? You'd be surprised!

In a new book called, "Got Service? Everything I Learned About Patient Service, I Learned From Dairy Farming," author Lynn Schmidt (a.k.a. eyecare educator Sue Connelly, fellow of the Contact Lens Society of America), offers optometrists and their staff a fun, easy read about various patient-service issues and ideas on how to solve them.

Each of the 12 chapters ends with a short, thought-provoking exercise you can read on your own and share with employees to spark ideas for improving patient care.

The 56-page book also offers 12 unique messages to create the basis for a year's worth of staff training.

To view a sample of the book, receive pricing information or place an order visit, or call (574) 277-0718.

Tips for Refitting Toric Lenses

Manufacturing tolerances of soft toric contact lenses are not the same as spectacle lenses. Therefore, I advise over-refracting for the resultant cylinder axis as well as the sphere and cylinder powers.

Be careful when refitting a patient wearing hydrogel toric lenses into a new material, such as a silicone hydrogel. The over-refraction may change after the initial refit due to the increased oxygen transmissibility and modulus and the manufacturing tolerances.

Bruce Hankin, O.D., F.A.A.O., Penfield, N.Y.
For more great fitting tips, visit

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2006