Personal campaigns can educate parents on the importance of eye exams
A recent Think About Your Eyes survey of more than 1,000 U.S. parents shows that 60% don’t feel an eye exam is an essential part of a child’s checkup schedule. As an optometrist whose mission in life is to solve my patients’ vision and ocular health problems, I find this appalling. I don’t blame the parents; I blame myself. How will we ever change this statistic?
I applaud Think About Your Eyes for the research they are doing and the campaigns they have created to get the message out about the importance of a comprehensive eye health evaluation. (See https://bit.ly/2Z2m4wt .)
CREATE YOUR OWN CAMPAIGN
I would challenge everyone to be a part of this campaign but, more than that, to create one’s own campaign right from the comfort of their own practice/exam room/website/social media platform. If we reach just a few thousand young patients, that is still a step toward helping children.
I often say that optometrists are outstanding at caring for their patients and doing the necessary testing (even upgrading technology when needed) to continue to provide awesome eye care. Our challenge is in telling patients how important we are and how vital it is that they see us every year to be certain they maintain excellent vision for a lifetime. It has been a focus of our practice for a few years now to continue to improve at telling our story. Not only do our patients appreciate it, but it is also good for our business.
The way to begin is to look at the areas in the practice where one can have an impact.
- Website. On our website, we created a video where I talk about the importance of an eye exam. I then added a video from one of our technology vendors, which educates patients further about specific disease and how O.D.s use technology to aid in diagnosis. That same video plays on a silent loop in our front reception/optical. We have had several consumers come to shop who have become patients after watching the video.
- Building’s outside. We had an artist paint eyeballs on the wall, with The Vision Council’s slogan, “Check Yearly. . . See Clearly.”
- Social media. Admittedly, we have not been the best at this, however, we are improving every day. The key with video on social media is to make segments short and have subtitles, so people are more likely to watch.
- Personal education. Educate each and every patient during their comprehensive eye health evaluation: Review images with them, celebrate healthy eyes and show concern, when needed, always emphasizing the importance of the exam and the need to repeat it — not only for them, but also for the entire family.
It is time for all of us to tell our story and truly make a difference in the lives of children and their families. Together, we can reach more. Let us learn from each other and make a greater impact. My hope is that in five years, data will show that 90% of all parents understand how vital a comprehensive eye health exam is to their child’s checkup schedule. OM