Contact Lens Spectrum Supplements

Special Edition 2017

Contact Lens Spectrum

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46 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 OR THOKERA TOLOGY B uilding an orthokeratology (ortho-k) practice begins with the motivation to make a difference in patients' lives as it relates to their vision and quality of life. In the past, ortho-k was used primarily to obviate the need for wearing correc- tive lenses for some time during the day. For many adult patients that was transformative, yet, to- day ortho-k promises much more. Ortho-k is a tool for addressing the myopia epidemic with myopia control. Reducing the need for corrective lenses is still beneficial but preventing high myopia and the ocular complica- tions that arise from large myopic shifts is arguably more important. If ortho-k is in your wheelhouse, the chal- lenge is making this subspecialty a viable business. BUSINESS BASICS The first step is to build your expertise. Your skill in ortho-k will attract, retain, and delight patients. Busi- nesses that delight their customers rarely fail. High pro- fessional skill enables profitability for ortho-k but also requires substantial investments in materials, technol- ogy, training, people (staff), infrastructure, and opera- tions. Excessive chair time and multiple remakes will quickly erode patients' confidence and your profits. Be- coming an ortho-k expert is, therefore, the foundation for success. With ortho-k, your skill is the product, and it must be spectacular. In addition, the support of your staff and your environment reflects on you. The pro- cess of ortho-k justifiably involves a substantial financial commitment by patients, and those in a position to take advantage of ortho-k expect a superior product deliv- ered by white-glove service. Make sure your staff and your physical space are up to the task. Assuming you are willing to make the investment, the next step is a business reality check. Successful businesses have a plan that includes not only the motivation driving the vision but also more mundane aspects that support the viability of the ven- ture. Honestly assessing the need in your addressable patient base is critical. The process for determining the need, called customer discovery, is essential for deep- ly understanding the patients you could be reaching. There are multiple techniques for customer discovery but basic demographics is an easy way to start. For ex- ample, are you located in an area with a preponderance of people who have medical insurance? Is your practice located near an established ortho-k provider? The goal of customer discovery is to understand how your poten- tial patients consume eye care, and the power is in how it shapes your responses to the results. One benefit of ortho-k is its flexibility; that is, you could tailor your practice to adults seeking to reduce dependence on spectacles, or you could focus on myo- pia control in kids. Let your customers be the guide. Af- ter figuring out what your patients need, make sure you can deliver on that need better than anyone else in your market. Delivering outstanding results with high-touch customer service in a pleasant environment will create a barrier that protects you from competition. ORTHO-K BASICS In ortho-k, learning equals earning. This includes your professional training in addition to the education of your staff and your patients. Basics include the history of ortho-k, technical requirements, capabilities, limita- tions, and risks of ortho-k. In 1962, during the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists meeting, contact lens pioneer George Jessen introduced the concept of "orthofocus," which was the first deliberate attempt to mold the cornea to reduce myopia. At this meeting, Newton Wesley termed A s t e p - by - s t e p g ui d e BUILDING AN ORTHOKERATOLOGY PRACTICE M E L A N I E FR O G OZO, O D

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