LEADING OFF: CEO Challenge: Develop Your Business Skills


Dr. Vargo

My challenge for you this month: Make a daily habit to learn something new about the business of eye care.


If I were to in-quire about your ongoing efforts to sharpen your clinical skills and stay current on ocular treatments, you would likely tell me you’ve taken CE, read the latest articles and attended industry conferences. But what would you say if I asked about your efforts to sharpen your business skills?

Revenues and profits get reinvested into office upgrades, technology and other costs directly tied to clinical care and the patient experience. Without them, it’s financially difficult to provide the highest level of patient care.


  • Read business books. Or, listen to audio business books during your commute or lunch hour.
  • Listen to business podcasts. These are available online (e.g. Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts) and are 10 minutes to 90 minutes, also making them ideal for commutes.
  • Take a business course. Available at a local college or online, use what you learn.
  • Attend practice management lectures at industry conferences.
  • Join an O.D. alliance or group. OM

What Your Patient Might Ask You


Dr. Garlich

Common Patient Question: “How likely am I to get AMD if a family member has it?”

The Answer: That depends on several variables, but we do have an online calculator that can offer some guidance. Authors of a study comprised of over 2,800 patients used statistical analysis to develop the calculator, which provides an estimated risk of developing advanced AMD for up to 10 years out.

Background Information: The Advanced AMD Risk Calculator can be accessed at . It asks for three main descriptors:

  1. Risk factors. The patient’s age, smoking status and family history of AMD in first degree relatives (i.e. parents or siblings).
  2. Retinal exam information. Are there large drusen? Macular pigmentary changes? Age-related changes in the macula are graded on a scale of 0 to 4, and the reference for the grading can be found at .
  3. Genotype information. This is optional, but if genotyping results are available for gene variants CFH (rs1061170) and ARMS2 (rs10490924), you can input these.

Given that smoking and diet are modifiable risk factors for AMD, this calculator may be a useful patient education tool to encourage your patients to pursue healthy lifestyles. OM

The purpose of this new column is to offer clear and succinct answers to common patient queries.

Dr. Garlich practices in Boston and produces 20/20 Glance (, a newsletter to keep optometrists up to date on clinically relevant news. Do you have a patient question you’re not sure how to clearly and succinctly answer? Send it to jaclyn

CORRECTION: In April’s “What’s New” section (p.50), the incorrect URL was published for RevCycle Partners in the item “Credentialing Service.” The correct URL is . OM apologizes for the error.

CORRECTION: Several readers have brought to our attention a misleading statement that appears in April’s “Leading Off” story, “O.D.s Discuss Using a Compounding Pharmacy“ (p.14): “Because compounded drugs are not FDA evaluated, those who prescribe them must evaluate compounding pharmacies to ensure patient and practice safety.” To clarify, while compounded drugs aren’t FDA approved, each ingredient in the formulation of a compounded drug is FDA-approved. In addition, compounders that are designated as 503 B (that is, outsourcing facilities) are, in fact, inspected by the FDA. They also must meet certain conditions, such as reporting adverse events to the FDA. (For additional information, see ). OM apologizes for any confusion the original statement may have caused.