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CLINICAL: Contact Lenses

Create a Positive Contact Lens Culture

Three steps will get you started on this office personality

Culture is not something you can just state and expect everyone to believe it. I’ve always thought of a company’s culture as something you can actually feel when you walk into or interact with a business. For example, when you walk into an Apple store, it has a unique personality; I would classify this culture as innovation. When I go there, I expect that I will see the newest products and experience them firsthand.

As business owners, this is a question optometrists should also be asking about their own practices: What do patients feel about the office when they experience an eye exam and, specifically, what is the office’s contact lens culture?

Here are a few things that can help create a positive contact lens culture:

1 START AT THE BEGINNING

Create that contact lens feel at the beginning of an encounter. I’m not a big fan of clutter and adding a bunch of point-of-purchase materials around the office, but I do like classy, innovative ways of displaying contact lenses. It could be in a video loop in the front office or in an innovative photograph, but consider finding ways to start displaying contact lens imagery as patients enter the eye care practice.

OFFICE CULTURE

Optometric Management’s Tip of the Week editor Dr. Neil Gailmard has discussed office culture a number of times in his more than 800 tips, all of which can be found at bit.ly/TOTWsubscribe .

For example, Dr. Gailmard allotted $500 per month in a food budget to outfit his staff with the items they appreciate and saw positive results: bit.ly/34d4it5 .

Dr. Gailmard also tackled how to change office culture: “The culture is a reflection of the leaders of the organization.” Identify those individuals and encourage them to lead by example: bit.ly/2E8S8qu .

2 GET STAFF ON BOARD

Taking the time to educate all your staff on the variety of contact lens designs and allowing them to wear the products will create educated ambassadors for contact lenses in your practice. Do so through:

  • Education. Take the time to educate all staff members on the newest innovations in contact lenses. For 2020, consider developing an education calendar for staff meetings. One month, it may be on a daily disposable that maximizes comfort, next month it could be on the newest orthokeratology design. After that, it may be on the newest soft, myopia-control design and then demonstrating how a scleral contact lens works to vault the cornea and potential irregularities.
  • Experience. Fit them in the lenses. After learning about a product, there will most likely be a staff member or two who will want to wear that technology. Take advantage of that enthusiasm, and let them experience it. Those staff members are happy to share their positive experiences with patients and, in turn, may even create new patients who are willing to try something new.

3 WEAR THE LENSES

If optometrists can tell patients, “I wear” or “I have worn” a lens, that makes a powerful statement to patients. Being able to gain this hands-on experience with contact lenses was one of the reasons I chose not to have LASIK early in my optometric career. Having worn contact lenses since I was 12, I can speak from experience on the lenses I prescribe.

This doesn’t preclude those who don’t have a prescription. Get your hands and eyes on the lens, so that you can at least say: “I’ve had that lens in my eye, and it felt really comfortable.”

CONTACT LENS CULTURE

These few steps are a starting point to creating a contact lens culture in your practice. It is an ongoing effort that creates an office personality of innovation. Look for more of these unique ways to grow contact lenses in your practice in 2020 and beyond. OM