Contact Lens Spectrum Supplements

Special Edition 2017

Contact Lens Spectrum

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Page 17 of 75

C O N T A C T L E N S S P E C T R U M S P E C I A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 7 c l s p e c t r u m . c o m 16 PRACTICE BUILDING A lmost all businesses are chang- ing at a rapid rate, and the eyecare field is no different. Disruptive technology is ubiquitous, from online ordering of spectacles and online and kiosk eye examina- tions to soft lens self-evaluations combined with quick ordering from mobile apps. How can eyecare practitioners compete in this environment? The most obvious strategy is to find ways to continually connect with your current patients, because they have al- ready experienced you, your staff, and your office. Build- ing your marketing efforts through social media is another method. How will you attract a continuous flow of new patients, contact lens wearers in particular, to the practice? Organ- ic growth is possible through internal marketing efforts that raise awareness of everything you offer to patients. Another way to attract new patients is through referrals of friends and family members by that same group of cur- rent patients or through direct referrals from other eyec- are providers in your community. Let's look at how positioning your practice as a Spe- cialty Contact Lens Center of Excellence could impact your surviving and thriving in the future. Patients who wear specialty contact lenses are typically loyal to the practice, and they rarely price shop for their care, making your specialty lens practice a profit center that is not price sensitive. Not to mention, fitting specialty lenses is intel- lectually stimulating — and fun! First, let's define what specialty contact lenses are and are not. DEFINING SPECIALTY There are multiple ways to define specialty lenses. A definition could be design-related, meaning spheri- cal, toric, multifocal, etc., or it could be associated with specific ocular conditions, such as high refractive error, presbyopia, irregular cornea, meibomian gland dysfunc- tion, and contact lens-induced dry eye. A definition could even be material-based, such as soft versus GP versus hy- brid. Some practitioners might differentiate them as fee- based or reimbursement-based. My definition of a contact lens specialist is this: An eyecare practitioner who is aware of all of the lenses avail- able in a given category, knows when to use each one, and most importantly, understands what techniques are necessary to accurately use them. So let's get started along the path of positioning you and your practice as contact lens specialists. 1. MAKE THE COMMITMENT If only you could simply anoint yourself a contact lens specialist. If you happen to be one of the 20 to 25 cornea and contact lens residents who are trained annually, that is one thing. The rest of us need to make a strong commit- ment to take the time to learn the designs and products, invest in special instrumentation, develop relationships with lens manufacturers (in particular the consultants), read the latest publications, participate in pertinent webi- nars, and attend the important conferences to begin net- working with peers in the specialty lens field. This trans- formation will not occur overnight, but if you develop a structured path, you will be positioned as a contact lens specialist relatively quickly. 2. INVEST IN INSTRUMENTATION Hands-down, the key instrument for the contact lens specialist is one that measures the ocular surface. Of the numerous instruments on the market, some are more "contact lens friendly," while others are oriented more toward the surgical setting. Keratometric measurements P r a c t i c e - b u i l d i n g s tr a t e g i e s f o r c o n t i n u e d g r o w t h C R A I G W. N O R M A N, F C L S A 10 STEPS TO A SPECIALTY CONTACT LENS CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

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