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This Healthy Vision Month Dig Deeper into Children’s Vision Issues

Our eyes look, but our brain sees and sometimes for kids there is a disconnect between the two.

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AS WE REFLECT ON Healthy Vision Month, let’s consider the following: There are 1.3 billion people living with some form of vision impairment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). About 80 percent of those impairments are considered avoidable.

The American Optometric Association estimates up to 80 percent of a child’s learning is through vision and 10 percent of children have a vision issue significant enough to impact their learning, according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD).

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Unfortunately, it is not always easy for parents to identify symptoms or impairments in children.

For starters, their kids may not have the vocabulary or awareness to describe what they’re experiencing. One of my granddaughters struggled with her vision until she was prescribed -6.00 lenses. She was two years old. The issue is complicated by the following statistic: nearly two-thirds of children with some kind of vision impairment are also living with at least one developmental disability, according to the CDC. Poor vision can exacerbate the severity of a disability; the latter can sometimes mask the existence of the former.

All of the above underscores the importance of early and regular eye health exams. It also creates opportunities for new kinds of vision therapy, such as Neuro-Visual Training (NVT).

According to Dr. Stelios Nikolakakis, a Canadian optometrist who runs Mind’s Eye Neuro-Visual Optometry in Toronto, NVT goes above and beyond traditional eyecare with a holistic approach to vision health.

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Our eyes look, but it is our brain that sees, and any disconnect between the two can create significant learning challenges.

He reminds us that while reading challenges, frustration, and poor grades could be the result of a learning disability, they could also stem from poor communication between their eyes and brain. He also says about 80 percent of the symptoms of someone who needs NVT are identical to the symptoms of someone with ADHD.

As a result, the COVD says typical vision screenings can miss at least half of vision problems.

It is easy for parents and teachers to miss or mistake signs of vision impairment. If a child cannot sit still, is easily distracted, complains of headaches or eyestrain, consistently asks others — including parents — to read to them, or confuses their b’s and d’s, the child could be struggling with underdeveloped visual systems. Rather than dismissing their behavior or complaints, it is critical to consider whether a relatively small amount of training could help address these issues, and ultimately set a child up for success in the classroom and in life.

There are several ways optometrists can help. They can have their recallers book eye health appointments for parents together with their children. They can ask parents whether their kids have demonstrated any of the above behaviors. By learning more about the applications of NVT, and by encouraging patients to do the same, we can start to broaden the scope and impact of Healthy Vision Month by considering the health of all elements of our vision for all ages.

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Pauline Blachford consults with ODs on reducing un-booked appointments, increasing sales, and improving staff engagement and productivity. She is a sought-after speaker at industry conferences and events, and writes regularly for a variety of industry publications. Visit her at paulineblachford.com

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Know Your Niche

Otherwise you may end up compromising.

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Know your niche as a retailer and stay true to that niche. Don’t try to meet everyone’s needs – if you try you will compromise somewhere else. – Carter Johnston, OD, Physicians Optical Luxury Eyewear, Oklahoma City, OK

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The Best Call to Actions to Convert Visitors to Patients

CTAs are probably the most important part of your marketing or campaign strategy.

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HERE’S A RIDDLE for you … what can be as simple as two words but is the key to bringing new patients in your door? The answer is: a CTA or call to action.

A good CTA will keep your phone ringing, fill up your appointment calendar and turn your website visitors into new patients. So, what exactly is this magic little phrase and what makes a good one?

What is a CTA?

A CTA is phrase that instructs or encourages a user to take a specific action, such as booking an appointment, signing up to a mailing list, calling the office, or getting more information about a promotion. It can (and should) be used in basically any form of marketing from your website, to a landing page, to a Facebook promotion, email or even a radio ad.

Each element of your marketing is designed for one ultimate purpose — to bring in appointments and optical sales — and if you fail to include a CTA, you risk losing potential patients who may delay or not otherwise take the next step toward that goal.

Making the call to your office or action easy and quick reduces lag time and drop off rates.

So, what makes a good CTA? A good call to action makes it very clear what action you want visitors to take and gives them the tools they need to do so. The best CTAs address the what, when and why of taking the next step and usually have the following traits:

WHAT: They use action verbs to direct conversion such as: “Call our office, Fill-out an appointment form, Book an appointment, Contact us, Visit our office etc.” The best CTAs are those that include the words that would follow the phrase, “I would like to…”

WHEN: They use time-sensitive wording such as, “Today, Now, Don’t Delay etc.”

WHY: They are often benefits-oriented, answering the question of why one should take the action: “Take care of your precious eyesight, Save time and money, etc.”

They stand out using bright colors and bold text. They are clear and easy to spot, and they are most effective when placed in the header and/or at least above the fold. They should also show up prominently on both desktop and mobile devices. And in case you’re wondering, circle buttons stand out more and work better than rectangles.

They are easy to use. Nowadays, clickable buttons, especially on mobile friendly sites, are the way to go. If your visitor can click a CTA button on your site and schedule an appointment or call your office directly, you’ve eliminated almost every obstacle. What could be easier? We recommend a CTA attached to an embedded online scheduler when possible that allows patients to instantly see your availability and book an appointment.

Now there’s one catch… there is such a thing as too many CTAs on a page. You don’t want to overdo it. Think top, bottom, and once in the middle is ‘enough’, they’re easily accessible and they get the job done.
The next time you’re working on your website or scheduling a promotion, stop and think about your CTAs. They are probably the most important part of your marketing or campaign strategy.

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Danielle Richardson

Feel Like Your Wellness Routine Could Be Missing Something? It’s Probably Sleep

We spend nearly a third of our life sleeping which makes getting quality sleep as essential as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

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WHEN YOU THINK OF your health and wellness, how often do you think of sleep? Chances are not often — but you should. Sleep is the newest frontier in wellness as public health consciousness continues to increase and we move to a more holistic idea of health. We spend nearly 1/3 of our life sleeping which makes getting quality sleep as essential as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The National Sleep Foundation defines quality sleep as occurring when you’re asleep within 30 minutes of laying down, wake no more than once, and sleep for at least 85 percent of the night. Unfortunately, quality sleep is an uncommon occurrence as the CDC reports a third of American adults experience poor or inadequate sleep on a regular basis. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep-related problems or disorders, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, or restless leg syndrome. As a country, we need to get some rest!

Sleep deprivation increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and triples the risk for type 2 diabetes according to Johns Hopkins sleep researcher Patrick Finan, PhD. Those not getting adequate sleep suffer from a weakened immune system, irregular metabolism, and obesity secondary to increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Not limited to just the physical body, sleep deprivation can also manifest as cognitive impairment and/or mental health changes including depression, irritability, anxiety, forgetfulness, and brain fog. Poor quality sleep is far less recuperative, which causes us to not feel rested when do we wake up.

Sleep depends on a number of factors, our body’s internal regulating system is chief among them. Our Circadian Rhythm functions as the body’s biological clock and regulates the experience of alertness vs. sleepiness. This rhythm is sensitive to fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol peaks in the morning allowing us to be alert and focused throughout the day. The secretion of melatonin — which helps us sleep — is highest at night.

These days, our minds are moving a mile a minute and we’re constantly on light-producing digital devices even though increased high-energy blue light exposure from devices decreases melatonin production and causes insomnia or sleeplessness. The disrupting culprits aren’t limited to devices though; increased stress, irregular work schedules, frequent jet lag, and sleep disorders can also disrupt our cycles.

The CDC recommends 7-9 hours of quality sleep for adults and more for teens and children. Here are some easy ways you can get better sleep tonight:

Build Consistency. It’s important to wake and head to bed around the same time each day — even on the weekends.

Use Sleep Monitoring Technology. Smartphones and wearable tech devices can help monitor the duration and quality of your sleep through downloadable applications and Bluetooth technology.

Sleep Habits. Limit screen time and diminish light sources in the bedroom. Additionally, use the automatic setting on your phone to warm the screen at night.

Bonus — Zen Out! Use essential oils or pillow sprays in scents like lavender as aromatherapy to help you sleep. Also consider meditation, light music, or other soothing sounds as a relaxing way to send yourself to bed.

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