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Focus on Your Rep Relationship

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If you have to choose between having a great relationship with a company or vendor and having a great relationship with your rep, I would choose the rep. You never know where that rep will go. Once you’ve created a great relationship with that rep, they are looking out for your (and their) best interest. Diana Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL


This article originally appeared in the September 2018 edition of INVISION.      

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Lisa Genovese, O.D., strives to give her patients the very best. At Insight Eye Care’s multiple locations, Dr. Genovese provides optimal care for her patients using the Reichert® Phoroptor® VRx Digital Refraction System. In this second Practice Profile Video from Reichert’s “Passionate About Eye Care” series, take a closer look and see how this eye care professional achieved a better work-life balance with equipment that’s designed and engineered in the U.S.A.

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Historical Data is the Future of Optometry

Eye scans and retinal images going back decades can help predict diagnosis and progression.

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OPTOMETRY IS BEING cast as a declining profession thanks to the advent of procedures like LASIK and “robot optometrists.” In 2017, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, MD, suggested his healthcare directors get rid of optometry and audiology services. According to him, “LensCrafters on every corner” means the VA does not need to provide this service any longer. Whether it’s true or not, the perception that optometry’s days are numbered is evident in today’s generation of aspiring healthcare professionals; but despite the decline in applications, there is reason to be optimistic in about the future of optometry.

“The eyes are the window to the soul” may be more than a poetic turn of phrase. The eyes truly are windows into humans because, simply put, the eyes provide a non-invasive way to see inside people. This window could allow for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, by measuring the choroid. The identification of amyloid plaques early on offers a window to monitor disease progress.

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The growing awareness of the long-term effects of concussions presents another opportunity for optometry to have a positive impact. CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, caused by repeated head injuries, is a cause for concern in many sports. The eyes may be a window into how bad a concussion is. More importantly, the eyes may be a record of brain injuries that can be decoded and evaluated. There may also be ways to evaluate if individuals are fully recovered from concussions or just becoming functional again while accumulating damage. The parents of young athletes will press hard for certainty on whether their child truly has recovered. Because CTE requires accumulation and time, there is an opportunity to limit the damage by recognizing the signs early on.

This is where historical data will play a part in an optometry renaissance. In practice management systems across the country, there exists an untapped wealth of eye scans and retinal images going back decades. Right now doctors have patients suffering from CTE and Alzheimer’s disease, who had pictures of their eyes taken throughout their lifetimes.

The historical data is a gold mine of information to be sifted through for early indicators of the diseases. With foreknowledge of diagnoses, the historical data can be targeted effectively, and paired with today’s automation, those images can be evaluated in large volumes to identify the early indicators.

The collective historical data of patients represents a lifeline to a profession that the U.S. government is beginning to consider potentially obsolete. The likelihood that additional diseases besides Alzheimer’s and CTE can be detected early through the eye seems strong. Given how much information can be gleaned from the eye, there are probably quite a number of diseases that can benefit from early detection methods. Those methods will in turn be applied to the historical data to detect additional diseases creating standard operating procedures in optometry practices for disease identification. In the 21st century, it seems ironic to consider 20th century history as the path toward the future, but in the case of optometry, it is.

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When You’re Rushed for Time, Don’t Take Shortcuts

These time savers help you stay on schedule, reduce stress, capture more, and make more revenue with happier, less confused patients.

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THE DOCTOR RUNS on a schedule and optical must do everything possible to stick to that schedule. If the doctor is running a 30 minute comprehensive exam, it’s not near as difficult to adhere to the same patient schedule in the optical, but today, most practices run 10, 15, or 20 minute exam schedules and it likely causes a backup in the optical.

In a comprehensive exam, the doctor is typically not disturbed by phone calls, or other interruptions. But in the optical, it is common to answer phone calls inquiring about when glasses will be ready, to service walk-in patients looking for an adjustment, repair or dispense, or for a patient who ran out of time to return to shop for eyewear. These “interruptions” cause us to get behind schedule. Then, we find ourselves hurrying to catch up. What suffers? Sales and attention to detail.

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Consider the following ideas to reduce lost time:

Create an Optical Schedule

An optical schedule provides the control to reserve/schedule optical consumer needs; such as those who want to come back later for glasses, and reduces the many calls from patients requesting glasses updates, etc. It’s easy to get a fax daily from the lab for lens spoilages, and easy enough to reschedule the few of those that won’t make it back from the lab within 10 days.

Pre-Appoint Dispensing

The more patients you pre-appoint for glasses dispensing, the less bottlenecking occurs during ‘prime time’ patient schedules. Reserve this time during the glasses order and carve it out on the optical schedule before they usually head to work. In our office optical experts take turns two days a week dispensing eyewear from 7:30 to 8:45 as optical customers are headed to work; our doctors begin med checks at 8:30 while first comprehensive patients are in pre-exam.

Don’t Explain the “Add-Ons”

Don’t break down the individual lens treatment components. AR, Blue AR, High Index are “essential,” not add-ons. Your optical consumer wants to buy a pair or two of glasses, not a list of all-too-confusing add-ons, which you know leads to “Do I need it?” “Did the doctor say I need it?” “I didn’t hear the doctor say I need it?” “Is it covered?” Make it simple and simply include the “essentials” into the total lens price. You bought the blouse and the buttons came with it!

Don’t Walk Them to “The Boards of Confusion” to Find Their New Frames

When you walk the optical consumer to the frame boards, it almost instantly becomes overwhelming. Sometimes the consumer says: “I don’t see anything I like!” And you wonder how that’s possible. It’s called “Choice Overload,” a real human psychological dilemma. It’s just too much to take in. Simply ask what they want to change about their frames this time and then go pick them out yourself. Likely you’ll be right 99 percent of the time and you won’t disappoint them with the inevitable “That one’s too tight!” “Too loose!” “Too narrow.” “Too wide!” when they are left up to their own devices. Pick seven frames and help them purchase the three the doctor prescribed. You are the expert because you do it many times every day.

These time savers help you stay on schedule, reduce stress, capture more, and make more revenue with happier, less confused patients.

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You’re Having a Dinner Party … These are the Three People – Dead or Alive – You’d Invite

Some of you just want to laugh … others want some answers to life’s most existential questions.

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  • Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly from Step Brothers! — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • Neil Armstrong (tell me the truth), Margaret Cho, and my bestie who passed away. — Sherry Berry, Eye against Eye and Ardmore Eye Care, Ardmore, PA
  • Jesus, Moses and Ghandi. — Richard Frankel, OD, Atlantic Cape Eyecare, Wildwood, NJ
  • My dad and my grandmothers. I miss them and I would like to learn more about our family history. They had some great stories they shared with us. — Dawn Christman Munoz, North Valley Eye Medical Group, Indian Hills, CA
  • My dad, mom and sister – all deceased. — Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, O.D., Pekin, IL
  • Chris Farley, Nelson Mandela and David Beckham. — Sarah Jerome, OD, Look + See Eye Care, Minneapolis, MN
  • Robin Williams, Queen Esther and Ludwig van Beethoven. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • Simon Sinek, Ayn Rand and Malcolm Gladwell. — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision of Edmond, Edmond, OK
  • Chester Bennington, Tom Hiddleston and Kate Hudson. — Selena Jachens, Urban Eyecare & Eyewear, West Des Moines, IA
  • My mother, father and sister. — Alexander Saper, Great Glasses, Houston, TX
  • Steve Martin, Ani Difranco and Amy Winehouse. — Nancy Revis, Uber Optics, Petaluma, CA
  • My spouse (of course), then Crazy Horse and Geronimo. — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • Ugh, I can only pick three?! I would love to have dinner with Ellen Degeneres, Dwayne Johnson and Jimmy Fallon. Although I’m not sure any eating would actually occur because there’d be way too much laughter! — Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • My father, grandfather and brothers. — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
  • My great grandfather Hollis (great business sense), Jesus (obvious reasons) and Martin Luther King (wisdom and vision). — Blake Hutto, OD, Family Vision Care, Alma, GA
  • INVISION staff. (Editor Note: You’re on Dan! What can we bring?) — Daniel R. Wolfe, OD, Discerning Eye, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • First will always be my grandmother. I would love to share a conversation with a leadership driven explorer type person like Ernest Shackleton, I could only imagine the things he could share. For the third, perhaps someone just incredibly FUN like Robin Williams, just to have the most fun dinner ever! — Carissa Dunphy, Monroe Vision Clinic, Monroe, WA
  • Trump, George Patton and my father. — John LaShorne, Brown County Eye Care, Nashville, IN
  • Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin and Marie Salomea Sklodowska (Marie Curie). — Leisa Lauer, Dr. H. Michael Shack, Newport Beach, FL
  • Jesus, Abe Lincoln and Albert Schwitzer. — Dennis Iadarola, OD, Center For Vision Care, LLC, Monroe, CT
  • Tom Hanks, Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Fiennes. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • My mom who has been gone for 12 years, my poodle that I just lost in April and Mother Theresa. — Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
  • Mary, Pope Benedict and Urban. — Bethany Cassar, Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI
  • Dave Chapelle, Charles Barkley and Neil Degrasse-Tyson. — Chris Lopez, OD, Roberts Eyecare Associates, Vestal, NY
  • Can they be fictional too? My Granny, The Rock and Superman. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • Stephen King, Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • The Pope, Flip Wilson (as Geraldine) and my husband. — Kathy Maren, Comb EyeCare & Eyewear, Western Springs, IL
  • Bob Marley, JFK and Marilyn Monroe. — Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA
  • Outside of my family, Mother Theresa, Katherine Johnson and Amelia Earhart. — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • Donald J Trump, Melania Trump and my wife. — Robert M, Easton Jr, OD, Oakland Park, FL
  • I don’t like hypotheticals like this. I am happy with the people I have dinner with now and the one many people want to eat with, Jesus, I know I will see someday when the time is right. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • John Lennon, Tom Ellis and Edward Norton. — Tim Gray, Visual Eyes, Huntingdon Valley, PA
  • Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres and Kevin Costner. — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • My grandmother. — Jocelyn Anderson, National Vision, Riverdale, GA
  • Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and my grandmother. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Johnson, and Freddie Mercury. Then I’d leave and let Edgar Allen Poe have my place. If Robert really sold his soul at the crossroads, I’d have to substitute. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • Joe Montana, Dwight Clark and Jerry Rice. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Assoc., Citrus Heights, CA
  • Barack and Michelle Obama. Maybe with Terry Gross so she can ask all the good questions. I also have really gotten into the podcast “My Favorite Murder” with Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgareth, but I would want those ladies over for cheesecake, wine, and murder conversations that go on crazy tangents. — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • Thomas Jefferson, Walter Cronkite and Robin Williams. — Judith Whitelaw, Dr. Gregory Char, OD, Orange, OR
  • Caesar, Thomas Jefferson and Stephen Hawking. — Michael Martorana, OD, Falls City Eye Care, Louisville, KY
  • Abraham, Martin and John! If unavailable, I’ll settle for Morrison, Lennon and Dylan. — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Jimi Hendrix, Albert Einstein and Hugh Hefner. — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
  • Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and Prince Harry. — Pam Neagle, Austin Eyeworks, Austin, TX
  • Barak and Michelle Obama, Nina Simone and Sandra Bullock. — Kim Hilgers, Monson Eyecare Center, Owatonna, MN
  • That’s a hard one. Robin Williams, Ronald Reagan and of course my wife. — Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • Do the New Kids on the Block count as one even though there are 5 of them? — Deanna Phillips, Clemmons Family Eye Care, Clemmons, NC
  • Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa. — Katie Root, Latham Family Vision, Latham, NY
  • Don Knots, Jerry Lewis and Sean Connery. — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • Andy Cohen, Dave Grohl, Gillian Pensavalle … this is assuming my husband and daughter are already coming. — Jessika Arena, The Eye Center, Asheville, NC

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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