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Defocus Media Podcast Network
39 minutes | 4 days ago
Four Eyes Optometry Podcast: Personal Branding and Transitioning into Canada with Dr. Chan
Dr. Kimberly Chan, an optometrist in Toronto, joins the Four Eyes podcast to discuss how to brand yourself as a clinician. Dr. Chan shares her experience of developing her own brand, the dos and don’ts, and emphasizes the authenticity of self-branding. Dr. Chan also shares her transition into Canada after graduating from an American optometry school. The post Four Eyes Optometry Podcast: Personal Branding and Transitioning into Canada with Dr. Chan appeared first on Defocus Media.
57 minutes | 10 days ago
Four Eyes Optometry Podcast: The Psychology of Optometry and Need for Self-Care with Dr. Maharaj
Dr. Maharaj joins the Four Eyes crew as a returning guest to discuss how optometrists have common personality traits that could either benefit our careers or become our downfalls. These traits also reveal an interesting perspective on why optometry is beginning to shapeshift towards specialization and tiering of medical optometry and refractive care. In the second half of the conversation, Dr. Maharaj brings up the status of our mental health and the presence of mental exhaustion and burnout within our profession. The conversation leads into what strategies we’ve done or need to start doing in order to conquer those feelings together as a group. The post Four Eyes Optometry Podcast: The Psychology of Optometry and Need for Self-Care with Dr. Maharaj appeared first on Defocus Media.
51 minutes | 14 days ago
Optometry Podcast: 2021 Digital Marketing Strategies for Eyecare Professionals
The post Optometry Podcast: 2021 Digital Marketing Strategies for Eyecare Professionals appeared first on Defocus Media.
43 minutes | 21 days ago
The 4 Eyed Professor Episode 1: Drs. Lievens and Lyerly Discuss Optometry
The post The 4 Eyed Professor Episode 1: Drs. Lievens and Lyerly Discuss Optometry appeared first on Defocus Media.
29 minutes | 23 days ago
Lunch Date with Rachel & Kate: Time to Hunker Down with your KMK Books
It’s that time again! Time to hunker down with your KMK books, get caffeinated to within an inch or your life, seek the advice of a therapist, and #DOMINATE. We’re discussing boards survival tips from the comfortable distance of at least 2 years. Until Next Time, Rachel & Kate The post Lunch Date with Rachel & Kate: Time to Hunker Down with your KMK Books appeared first on Defocus Media.
40 minutes | 23 days ago
Four Eyes Optometry Podcast: Neurovisual Performance with Dr. McCrodan
The post Four Eyes Optometry Podcast: Neurovisual Performance with Dr. McCrodan appeared first on Defocus Media.
38 minutes | 25 days ago
Four Eyes Optometry Podcast: New Grad Case Reflection
The post Four Eyes Optometry Podcast: New Grad Case Reflection appeared first on Defocus Media.
28 minutes | a month ago
Optometry Podcast: The Negative Impact of Tea Tree Oil on the Meibomian Gland Cells and Ocular Surface
Over the past decade, eyecare providers have been increasingly drawn to the presence of Demodex mites on the eyelid and lash follicles as potential contributors to a string of ocular health issues – from chronic styes to blepharitis to ocular rosacea. Current standard of care for eradicating Demodex associated blepharitis is treatment with 50% tea tree oil-based eyelid cleanser and 5% tea tree oil ointment for up to 4 weeks. “But there are almost no clinical studies looking at the impact of these treatments on the eye,” Dr. David Sullivan explains during this podcast. Dr. David Sullivan, TFOS Founder Dr. David Sullivan, founder of the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society and current Chairman of the Board of Directors, is a PhD whose lab at Schepens Eye Research Institute/Harvard Medical School has brought forward many new insights into ocular surface disease treatment and management over the last 40 years. Working as a fellow in his lab, Di Chen, MD, PhD, had the idea to investigate what tea tree oil was doing to meibomian gland cells if we knew from prior research that tea tree oil had endocrine disruptive hormonal effects on human cells. “We wanted to test if tea tree oil would have the same effect on meibomian gland cells because we know that a lot of doctors use tea tree oil products on eyelids, and we don’t know its’ effects,” Dr. Chen explains about the inspiration behind her research. “We know [tea tree oil] can kill Demodex, but we don’t know it’s effects on human cells so why don’t we test this on human meibomian gland cells. To our surprise it killed those cells.” Her new study demonstrates that tea tree oil at the concentrations currently used in commercially available eyelid cleansers (and even considerably lower strengths) will not only kill Demodex populations, but the healthy meibomian gland ocular tissue we are trying to preserve. Terpinen-4-ol (T4O) is the active ingredient in tea tree oil that is most effective in killing Demodex; in vitro studies show that exposure to 1% T4O for 88 minutes or 4% T4O for 44 minutes can kill Demodex mites. In routine use today are eyelid cleansing wipes containing between 2-4% T4O for eyelid hygiene or even makeup removal. In this study, researchers tested cultured human meibomian gland epithelial cells in vitro with exposure to dose and time dependent concentrations of T4O. After just 15 minutes of exposure to 1% T4O, human meibomian gland epithelial cells exhibited cell morphology changes and atrophy, and after 90 minutes of such treatment, all cells died. At the same concentration and exposure time that it takes to kill Demodex mites, the human meibomian gland cells we are trying to “treat” with tea tree oil-based lid hygiene prescribed for posterior blepharitis or chronic styes or chalazion are also killed. Dr. Di Chen, MD, PhD There has been very little literature published on the effects of tea tree oil and T4O on the health of the ocular surface tissues being exposed during treatment. We do know that T4O is a small molecule that can rapidly penetrate through the skin epidermal tissue. Prior studies have demonstrated that after application of 2-4% tea tree oil ointment to the skin, tea tree oil components permeate the tissue and remain at concentrations of 0.23 – 0.37% after 24 hours. Extrapolated to eyelid skin, a concentration of 0.2% T4O for 24 hours would kill human meibomian gland cells based on the results of this study. The toxicity of tea tree oil in human tissue has been documented and well reported outside of eyecare specific applications. Multiple studies cite tea tree oil and T4O as toxic to human hepatic, cervical, breast epithelial, and bone marrow cells in vitro. Additionally, they have been cited as endocrine disruptors, expressing both estrogen and anti-androgen effects. The European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association in 2002 published the following recommendation: “TTO should not be used in cosmetic products in a way that results in a concentration greater than 1% oil being applied to the body.” “What are people doing?” Dr. David Sullivan encourages doctors to ask. “There are a lot of companies making these tea tree oil products, but we need to know more about what they are doing in vivo to humans. Caution needs to be exercised in repeatedly giving these things to patients.” More research is needed to understand the risks of repeated tea tree oil exposure to the health of the ocular surface tissue. Eyecare providers should be aware of these potential risks and caution patients against the use of tea tree oil based ocular cleansing products for routine use. Dr. Sullivan outlines several alternatives available to practitioners that have shown to be effective against Demodex including microblepharoexfoliation, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), and Manuka honey. “In daily practice we need to balance the benefits versus risks,” explains Dr. Chen. “It may kill the Demodex but we need to pick the appropriate patients. Not all patients with Demodex should get tea tree oil treatment. Some patients will feel much better with tea tree oil treatments, but not every patient with blepharitis should be using tea tree oil. There may be more harm than benefits in those cases.” In addition to a lack of research on the safety of tea tree oil-based products, there is also a fundamental lack of research on how important treating Demodex is for patients with chronic meibomian gland dysfunction. Demodex mites are extremely common, with 84% of humans age 60 and older and 100% of humans age 70 and older being found to have Demodex present on their eyelid skin. Studies have found association with the presence of demodex with a variety of ocular health issues, but the clinical significance of Demodex infestation remains debatable because it is also found in asymptomatic patients. “Why are we killing those little bugs?” Dr. Sullivan encourages doctors to ask. “What do they do? What is the evidence that they cause meibomian gland dysfunction? There’s almost a complete lack of data as to whether Demodex have any effect on the meibomian gland. Think of the microbiome as well. Bacteria help you. Is it really important to get rid of them?” Dr. Di Chen sums it up nicely: “We have to be more responsible for the decisions we make and put the patient’s interest first by balancing the benefits versus harms of any products we prescribe or recommend.” The post Optometry Podcast: The Negative Impact of Tea Tree Oil on the Meibomian Gland Cells and Ocular Surface appeared first on Defocus Media.
26 minutes | a month ago
The 20/20 Podcast: The 5 Step Plan
The post The 20/20 Podcast: The 5 Step Plan appeared first on Defocus Media.
34 minutes | a month ago
Optometry Podcast: Retail Favorites and Best Selling Products with Dr. Claudine Courey
Dr. Claudine Courey The last thing any practice owner wants is to turn over the bottle of the 50 vitamins they purchased that are still sitting on a display shelf only to see they all expired last month. You know you’ve been there. So we’re sitting down with Dr. Claudine Courey, dry eye specialist at Bellevue Clinic in Montreal, Canada, and founder of the e-commerce site Eye Drop Shop to discuss products that are her best sellers both in practice and on her website! Dr. Courey shares that in 2020 she also launched a US-based version of her popular online store at www.eyedropshop.com and is partnering with ODs across the United States and Canada to manage e-commerce order fulfillment for their personal practice websites with easy to embed affiliate links. Some of the products featured in this discussion include: OPTASE Hydrate Dry Eye Spray – Do your patients (or their kids) HATE putting in artificial tears? A quick spritz is a great alternative. I-Lid n’ Lash Hygiene Wipes – These lid cleansing wipes are gentle, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory and packaged in a convenient and easy to use tub instead of in individual packets. Perennial best-sellers, these wipes are so quick to fly off the shelves they sometimes go out of stock. Fog Stopper – Say goodbye to foggy glasses when you have on a mask with this product. Since COVID this has been a big seller in Dr. Lyerly’s optical and a product that when you post about on your social media, you’ll get people calling in to the office to hold a bottle for them! As a special value to our listeners, Dynamic Labs has created a special 10% off discount link here: http://dynamiclabs.net/welcome-fans-of-defocus-media/ BluTech Glasses – Additional screentime during COVID has increased awareness for bluelight glasses significantly, but many of our patients are purchasing inferior products online and not receiving any benefits. BluTech specifically blocks the 455 nm wavelength of blue light responsible for digital eye strain, increased light sensitivity, and disruption to sleep/wake cycles while preserving other wavelengths of the blue spectrum. Stocking plano and low plus “non-Rx” blue light glasses from ClearVision Optical has been a great addition to our optical this year. The post Optometry Podcast: Retail Favorites and Best Selling Products with Dr. Claudine Courey appeared first on Defocus Media.
28 minutes | 6 months ago
Optoturban: From the Superbowl to Optometry School
Vince played for the LA Rams including in Super Bowl XIV as the quarterback. He joined the podcast to discuss his experience playing in the NFL and why he decided to attend Optometry school for a short period of time In the 1980’s Vince was considering future job opportunities outside of football and decided to attend the Southern California College of Optometry. However, after becoming more successful in the NFL, Vince decided to pursue football and not pursue an Optometry degree. The interview was conducted by Dr. Alex Corbin Liu (Instagram: @dralexcorbin), Rachel Villareal (Instagram: @rachelvyoutuber) and by Jasdeep Singh Soni (Instagram: Optoturban)
34 minutes | 7 months ago
The 2020 Podcast: Kendall Watson
45 minutes | 8 months ago
Optometry Podcast: Take your Practice to the Next Level with Neurolens
This Podcast is in Partnership with Neurolens Optometrists may be surprised to realize that there is a very common condition that they might have never heard of that’s causing our patients to suffer from chronic headaches, eye pain, and visual discomfort. And it’s completely treatable by optometrists with a novel new technology to help you diagnose and prescribe glasses that relieve the issue. Sound like a game changer for our profession? We sit down with Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Aric Plumley and Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Pierre Bertrand of Neurolens in this podcast. Neurolens technology was inspired by the work of Dr. Krall in Mitchell, South Dakota who was treating chronic headaches with glasses. To investigate his results, researchers visited a team of neurologists who were treating patients who suffered from chronic headaches that were not responding to conventional medical treatment, which included Topamax and Botox injections. These patients were labelled as refractory because no traditional medicine was working for them. They convinced the neurologists to let Dr. Krall try prescribing his headache glasses, and found that 81.6% of these refractory headache patients achieved symptom relief with the glasses. It was a complete game changer for the neurology clinic, and they immediately added an optometry specialty to their office. Around that time, the Vision Council ran a study about the prevalence of computer vision syndrome – headaches, neck pain, and visual eye strain. They found that 65% of US adults are experiencing these symptoms. At that point the founders of Neurolens decided the best place for their technology was with independent optometrists who were seeing these patients on the frontlines. Mr. Pierre Bertrand, Chief Commercial Officer of Neurolens “I see Neurolens allowing optometry to expand their scope of practice,” Bertrand explains. “We can own headaches. We can own eye strain. These are things that cannot be treated outside of optometry. Our vision for optometry is that we can play a part in redefining good vision beyond 20/20.” He shares how before progressive lenses came to the market in the 1950s, vision was limited to 2 set distances by bifocal glasses. Prescribing generic, standard glasses for digital eye strain complaints is similarly limiting to the relief of headache and eye strain symptoms caused by our high demand digital lifestyles. Neurolens is designed to relieve the underlying issue that is causing the strain – ocular misalignment and trigeminal dysphoria. Trigeminal dysphoria is a condition that many doctors may not have learned about in optometry school, but it is a common cause of asthenopia resulting from misalignment of the eyes. The extraocular muscles are connected via proprioceptive fibers to the trigeminal nerve. When the extraocular muscles are strained, they send a signal to the trigeminal nerve, resulting in a feeling of referred pain. That’s why when eye muscles are tired, feelings of headache, neck strain, and eye pain similar to a dry eye sensation are the result. Only 2% of glasses that are sold in the United States have any prism component to address ocular misalignment. “The problem lies in the difficulty in measuring eye misalignment,” Plumley explains. There is no uniform measurement for the amount of fixation disparity or the prescribing criterion to address it. “The Neurolens diagnostic device is an objective measuring device for ocular misalignment,” states Plumley. “It’s three times more reliable than any other alignment measurement.” The researchers at Neurolens then wrote a prescribing algorithm based on the input of several highly successful doctors who have experience prescribing prism for this category of patient. Using artificial technology and machine learning, the technology has now been refined with the input from hundreds of doctors and a hundred thousand patients. “We know that 56% of the 60,000 patients that we’ve measured are symptomatic, and 90% of those patients have eyes that don’t turn in enough at near,” says Plumley. The issue with prescribing typical prism for these patients is that their misalignment is larger at near than at distance, so traditional prism that is the same throughout the entire lens won’t relieve symptoms effectively. To solve this issue, Neurolens uses a contoured prism design which allows for the distance portion of the glasses to have no or lower amounts of prism and then gradually increases the amount of prism to achieve the needed amount when looking through the near point of the lens. “Just like a progressive lens gives a different accommodative relief at near versus far, Neurolenses give a different vergence relief at near versus far,” Plumley states. Data shows that the technology works; 93% of symptomatic patients who were prescribed Neurolens experienced symptom relief. A lot of optometrists have experienced the challenge of relieving the symptoms of chronic dry eye patients who have improved ocular surface health after treatment, but are still suffering from the tell-tale symptoms of dry eye –ocular pain, discomfort, and irritation. In a recent webinar Dr. Paul Karpecki dubbed this condition of “phantom dry eye” or neuropathic dry eye. “We call it the pain, no stain group,” Plumley says. These patients could be continuing to have symptoms not because of dry eye, which you’ve treated thoroughly, but due to ocular misalignment that is causing referred trigeminal nerve pain. Case studies performed by Dr. Vance Thompson treating post-LASIK patients suffering from chronic dry eye pain with Neurolens glasses showed great improvement in symptoms. Mr. Aric Plumley, Chief Technical Officer of Neurolens Most patients that benefit from this technology have very low amounts of ocular misalignment in ranges that were traditionally defined as normal (less than 6 prism units of exophoria at near). But even low amounts of exophoria can cause symptoms. Doctors may be concerned about adaptation or risk of returns with prescribing prism for patients that have never worn prism before, but the data shows extremely high patient satisfaction with Neurolens technology. Only 4% of all Neurolens glasses sold to date have been returned by patients stating that they did not relieve their symptoms. “What we’re delivering is not a pair of spectacles, but relief of their symptoms,” states Bertrand. “So if patients aren’t happy with their symptom relief, we provide a lifetime satisfaction guarantee and a 100% refund return policy, so that they are still happy with their experience.” Patient satisfaction is a hallmark of what makes Neurolens stand apart from other optometric technology on the market. 93% of patients experience relief of their symptoms with Neurolens glasses. Compare that to Sight Science’s recently published study comparing TearCare versus Lipiflow which showed that Tear Care achieved 72% patient symptom relief and Lipiflow achieved 59% patient symptom relief. If a doctor is considering investing in a new technology, the prevalence of digital eye strain and the high patient satisfaction with the prescribed treatment of Neurolens glasses stands apart. Head to Neurolenses.com to learn more, and take advantage of a new offer to help optometrists add this new technology to their practices during the difficult financial time of COVID-19 which delays payments until January 2021.
31 minutes | 8 months ago
Optometry Podcast: Contact Lens Residency
Before COVID-19 changed the landscape for the optometry school experience, we caught up with Dr. Jessica Vickery about her decision to pursue a contact lens residency at MidAtlantic Cornea Consultants. On this podcast, we talk about the state of contact lens education in optometry school, and what students considering pursuing residency need to know before they start the process. From applications to interviews, Dr. Vickery shares her personal experience and how she made the decision about which residency opportunity was the best fit for her. Since recording this episode, Dr. Vickery has gone on to be honored with the Bernard Blaustein Resident of the Year Award for the Residency Class of 2020. Congrats Dr. Vickery!
39 minutes | 8 months ago
Optometry Podcast: 2020 Eyewear Trends
This Podcast is in Partnership with Transitions What are the biggest trends in eyewear fashion in 2020? We sit down with Charlotte Hamel, Global Director of Communications, Events and PR at Transitions Optical and Dr. Melanie Denton, founder and owner of Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear in Salisbury, North Carolina in this podcast. We talk about what you need to do to refresh your optical and provide your patients with a unique and customized eyewear styling experience that delivers in both fashion and function. Hamel has worked in marketing for over twenty years, starting out in marketing at L’Oréal and then going on to help relaunch the Coach license in 2012. After working with marketing of several niche eyewear lines, including DITA Eyewear, she joined Transitions Optical in 2017 to work on accelerating the development of the brand. Dr. Denton graduated optometry school in 2009, completed a residency, and then opened a cold-start practice in 2016 in Salisbury, North Carolina. She’s found that opening on her own has allowed her to create a unique, fashion-forward practice that’s a reflection of her personal identity. “There are so many elements of my personality and my style that are so different from other practices in my area, but I’ve been able to incorporate all of that in starting my practice.” Dr. Melanie Denton, founder and owner of Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear Hamel shares that the biggest trend across all of fashion right now is color. Where a decade ago most designers were embracing black and white minimalism, the digital world we live in has introduced us to a vibrant playground of enhanced hues and saturated tones. “The power of Instagram is bringing a new, younger demographic to the center of the fashion world. Instagram is about enhancing light and colors, and we’re seeing vibrant colors like never before.” All of the trends in terms of eyewear are very reflective of the greater fashion industry shift towards color. Vivid hues like emerald green and sapphire blue are top trends of 2020. Dr. Denton agrees that the digital lifestyles our patients lead have greatly changed ocular complaints, as well as fashion trends. She’s prescribing much more for digital eye fatigue and light sensitivity than when her career began a decade again. In her practice, she’s found even in a small community that embracing fashion-forward, independent eyewear has let her stand apart. The highest compliment from a patient was when someone said, “This is where the cool kids get their glasses.” She often hears doctors balk at introducing color and interesting shapes and styles into their optical because they are concerned their patients won’t be willing to branch out from their basic frames. She’s found that offering broader selections in shapes and colors has excited her patients about shopping for eyewear, and driven much more interest in her optical. Prescribing for color and function in ophthalmic lenses is also a great way to offer patients a uniquely customized experience. “Transitions® lenses bring light and something very dynamic into a very static object which are frames. We also bring customization,” Hamel says. “Optometrists have been customizing each pair of frames for each of your patients for decades. At Transitions Optical, we want to empower every eyecare provider to customize even more, and a few years ago, we launched Transitions® Signature® style colors and Transitions® XTRActive® style mirrors to help personalize a patient’s eyewear. How do you get patients to try new things? Dr. Denton and her team encourage patients to try different things and consider the full scope of options when it comes to crafting their unique eyewear. She shares her experience wedding dress shopping – when she was at a boutique she was encouraged to try on every style and shape because you don’t know until you have it on how each style is going to make you feel. The optical experience is about styling the patient, and encouraging them to explore new shapes and features to create a unique, but functional look. Charlotte Hamel, Global Director of Communications, Events and PR at Transitions Optical To ensure that the medical recommendations that Dr. Denton prescribes do not get left behind when the patient enters the optical, she brings a team member into the exam room to do a hand-off, tying her recommendations for eyewear into the patient’s stated complaints. Patient complaining about headaches? She recommends anti-reflective coatings and light adaptable lenses so that the patient has the right amount of protection for every level of light. Hamel has great advice on how to educate patients about the color options available and how to differentiate between them to make the best fashion and functional suggestions: Gray: “Never sell it as a default option but as a real color!” Gray works best with bolder combinations, for example when paired with gold frames.Brown: “This is one of my favorite colors in the portfolio,” Hamel shares. “It goes with everything!” Brown pairs excellently with a variety of frames and offers fantastic high contrast vision. Transitions style colors are also available in Amber which is a warmer honey shade compared to previous iterations.Transitions offers two green options: Hamel states that Graphite Green is better for patients who spend more time outdoors and want to improve contrast, whereas the Transitions style colors Emerald Green is a vivid hue which is more fashion forward.Having a hard time deciding between Transitions style colors in blue or purple? Sapphire works best on lighter skin tones and pairs great with gray or silver frames. Amethyst pairs better with warmer skin tones and gold or rose frames. Top Eyewear Trends of 2020 1. Transparent Acetate “It’s easy to wear and it goes with every color!” Hamel says. This trend works for men and women, and for patients that are wanting something more minimalist in their eyewear. Dr. Denton recommends lightly tinted transparent frames are easier to wear than pure clear. Melon or tea colored translucent frames are flattering on many skin tones. 2. 70’s Inspired Oversize Acetate Hamel recommends oversize frames with very thin metals to make this trend wearable. Color blocking can be another way to embrace this trend. Dr. Denton has seen many of her patients embrace frames with different color temples versus the face, or frames with a contrasting stripe of color at the top of a frame over the brows. 3. Iconic Shapes Don’t sleep on aviators, double bridges, and classic round shapes which are still very in style. To make these shapes more fashion forward, Hamel encourages pairing classic shapes with unexpected lens colors. Tortoise frames with gray lenses for example. She feels that lenses will lead the next level of fashion – customized engravings and unique gradient effects. “This is a way to bring something really new. The lens is going to be the epicenter of eyewear fashion.” Practicing in the COVID-19 reality requires more contactless and virtual experiences throughout the patient journey and the Transitions Virtual Try On will allow patients to virtually try on various Transitions style colors lenses within different frame style options. Patients can snap a photo, share, email or bring it in to their appointment knowing the frame style and color options that work best for them. Head to TransitionsPRO.com to see all of the available resources for practitioners on available lens options and share Transitions.com/VTO with patients to help expedite the dispensing process. You can follow Dr. Melanie Denton on her professional Instagram channel @eyethinkican.
40 minutes | 8 months ago
Optometry Podcast: Reopening Eyecare with Drs. Katie Greiner and Justin Manning
Most optometrists around the country have reopened to patientcare after COVID-19 closures and are now facing the challenges of a new reality in patientcare. On top of navigating the financial setbacks, there are the new normal of performing patient care while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), screening each patient for COVID-19 symptoms and taking temperatures at the door, the extra cleaning and managing of waiting areas of optical spaces –and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. To complicate matters even more, there’s so much unknown about COVID-19 that as each new study gets published, our protocols for handling office and patient safety are needing to constantly evolve and change. Dr. Justin Manning, Executive Vice President of Healthy Eyes Advantage Feeling overwhelmed by that paragraph? That’s where a new initiative backed by The Vision Council is poised to help. ReopenEyecare.com is a hub for information, resources, and data to help doctors not just reopen their practice, but to maintain the health of their practices long term in the face of this evolving situation. We’re joined on this podcast by Dr. Justin Manning, Executive Vice President of Healthy Eyes Advantage and the leading member of the advisory board for ReopenEyecare, and Dr. Katie Greiner, Chief Operating Officer at Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons and a member serving on the advisory board. Dr. Katie Greiner of Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons “RepoenEyecare.com was born out of a collaboration of several industry leaders coming together to share how they were going to work to move their companies forward, and the idea of how industry can help support independent practitioners as they reopen their offices,” Dr. Manning explains. Everyone participating in the Reopen Eyecare initiative is volunteering their time and expertise to make this platform happen as a nonpolitical, noncommercial source of information. “A lot of our learning curves are built into the website,” Dr. Greiner explains. “Instead of you having to read through pages and pages of CDC material, it’s there on the website in digestible, easy to read segments.” One of the great additions to the website above and beyond office protocols, financial advice, marketing tips for reaching patients, and searchable guides to federal and state regulations on reopening, the website also shares consumer behavior insights to help doctors anticipate and gauge patient attitudes to purchasing eyewear or coming in for an eye exam during COVID-19. According to research by The Vision Council, patient willingness to pursue eyecare during COVID-19 is trending in a good direction. Back in April, 38% of people were saying they planned to postpone eyecare and eyewear purchases, but as of May 4th, only 25% of survey respondents say they plan to delay eyecare or glasses purchases. Dr. Manning and Dr. Greiner share that many offices have seen an increase in patient engagement and capture rates as offices have reopened across the country, even as offices are operating on reduced schedules. “Data and knowledge is power,” Dr. Manning explains about utilizing the information provided on the website, “Knowing this data helps you market effectively, communicate effectively, and if you feel like you’re struggling to get patients in, this data can help to point you in the right direction of where to focus your attention in your practice where the demand and opportunity is higher.” ReopenEyecare.com is a resource that will be continuously updated by the advisory board members with “on the ground” feedback from their own experiences and those of colleagues and peers that leave feedback on the website requesting content that is needed for their practices. The resources included on the website are available for use and distribution by anyone involved in the vision community.
42 minutes | 8 months ago
Optometry Podcast: Path to a Healthy Practice with Dr. Millicent Knight
This Podcast is in Partnership with Essilor As many of us reopen our practices, we’re facing a new reality about how prepared our businesses were for unexpected challenges. How can we recover quickly and prepare for a stronger future? This podcast with guest, Dr. Millicent Knight, is focused on more than just a short term recovery – it’s time for doctors across the country to create a game plan for long term practice health. We’re sharing strategies for achieving your goals on this podcast. Early in the episode, Dr. Glover reflects that he is wearing many hats right now in his optometric practice, performing all of his own workups and helping out in optical even more than usual as the office slowly brings staff back on board. Dr. Knight shares that like many working women and mothers, her new reality is a delicate balance of her responsibilities as the Senior Vice President of Customer Development at Essilor as well as serving as a homeschool teacher and a short-order cook with the impact of COVID-19. Dr. Millicent Knight While the stress of these new responsibilities can be difficult, Dr. Knight encourages doctors to embrace possibilities and a time to reflect on what their practice is bringing to both their personal life and their community. “Out of this daunting situation is the opportunity to do better and to be better. It’s almost a reset opportunity.” COVID-19 gives doctors the chance to rethink their practice and ask the tough question: are they meeting their mission in serving patients in their community? Are they leveraging the opportunities to make their practice successful both clinically and financially? Along with her team at Essilor, Dr. Knight has authored the Healthy Practice Guidelines, available at essilorpro.com/COVID-19. These guidelines include five tips to re-energizing your practice: Tip #1: Choosing Your Partners “You can be the best clinician in the world, but if your office is closed because it’s not financially sound, it’s a disservice to everyone – you, your staff and your entire community,” Dr. Knight explains. Finding a personal banker, a lawyer, an HR specialist, and expert partners to work with you on the parts of your business that are not your forte is critical to long-term success and reduced stress. “During a crisis, it’s not the time to be looking for a relationship with a bank. This is not the time for transactional relationships. It’s the time for true partnerships.” Before entering industry, Dr. Knight owned a private practice for 20 years in Evanston, Illinois. She shares that in 2008 she took a hard look at her business and she decided to expand her office footprint and rethink many of her patient care services, including expanding her medical eyecare and prescribing optical solutions from the exam chair. “You’re only doing half the job if you don’t recommend an optical solution to address their ocular strain and fatigue.” She enjoyed partnering with Vision Source at that time to have access to a community of people that were business minded right at her finger tips. The relationship helped examine metrics and learn to understand parts of her business that were working and those that weren’t, as well as helping with making decisions on bringing in new technology to her practice. She encourages doctors to shore up their knowledge base with courses available through CE vendors. ECPU is a great place to get training on areas like optical and business management that are outside of traditional curriculum. Essilor as a partner has taken it upon themselves to do the research about the potential exposure risks and to develop a step by step protocol to safely performing patient care during the time of an epidemic. They have also developed protocols for how Essilor representatives can serve your office effectively without being disruptive to patient care, including ensuring that representatives bring their own PPE with them – rather than taking from your practice’s important supply. Tip #2: Stay Financially Sound Through the Crisis Managing finances is critical to surviving this crisis and any other unexpected hurdles we may face as business owners down the road. Dr. Knight encourages optometrists to leverage resources from the AOA and their state optometric associations for available government programs, loans, and deferments. Evaluating how to allocate money received from programs like the PPP loan can sometimes require the help of lawyers or financial advisors. She encourages doctors to think carefully about bringing back staff at full capacity when patient capacity is reduced and to develop a strategy for reopening that doesn’t put them right back into financial distress a month or two later. Because ECPs will be seeing fewer patients with new safety protocols in place, making the most of every patient encounter is that much more important. Dr. Knight encourages doctors to make sure they educate about common lifestyle issues that patients might not verbalize or realize are associated with their eyes. Headaches are a common example. Prescribing for ocular strain, computer fatigue, and sensitivity to lights or glare is an important way for ECPs to equate the products in their optical to solving the problems discussed during a comprehensive exam. Tip # 3: Prepare your Office and Staff for Patient Return When reopening your practice, safety for yourself, your staff, and your patients is critical. As an industry partner, Dr. Knight’s team has worked diligently on reopening guidelines for safety protocols that doctors can use to reopen their practices, to take the burden of research off of optometrists. “The most important thing you can do for your practice is to take care of yourself. If you’re not healthy, that can make the difference between your practice surviving or not. That means resting, eating good, healthy meals, and exercising. You need to set the example for your staff.” Dr. Knight recommends having healthy snacks available in the break room for your office and to make sure your staff knows you want them to have healthy stress levels and a healthy work environment. Having team huddles at the beginning of the day to talk through any issues from the day before and prepare for the day’s patients or challenges can make a big difference. Many doctors who have returned to patient care are already frustrated by the hurdles of performing exams with masks and PPE that cause fogging in equipment and difficulty performing routine procedures. She encourages doctors to prepare for the reality that PPE is here to stay for a long time; keeping protocols for safety in place is so important because many COVID-19 positive patients are completely asymptomatic. Ensuring that PPE is worn correctly is important to reduce self-contamination from incorrectly donning or doffing your protection. Tip #4: Communicate with Patients She encourages doctors to communicate with their patients about the precautions the office is taking for patient safety before they come into the office. “You need to let them know about new protocols and any new hours so that they are not taken aback and they are ready to have that new experience in your office. Having a staff member dedicated to discussing this with patients and personally confirming each appointment is important. With reduced patient numbers being scheduled, you can’t afford to have no shows!” Tip #5: Plan for the Future If you didn’t have an emergency fund before this crisis, we can all appreciate the importance of having one now. Dr. Knight encourages doctors to have access to emergency funds to cover 3-6 months of expenses. “You need to either have good credit, or a good amount of cash. Preferably both, but you’ve got to have one or the other. If nothing else, we’ve learned from this situation that you have to have a personal banker, a line of credit, and access to capital. The time to do that is now, not when you need it. Now.” She encourages doctors to continue to be agile and adapt their practice as needed to put their practice in a position to succeed even during difficult and unexpected times. Essilor is developing several program set to launch over the summer to help doctors recover. “We want to help you jump start your practices and generate revenue quickly,” she says. “We have some great programs this summer to help you sell multiple pairs, and our Smartbook™ technology to help patients schedule appointments at your office with an online platform that is available when it is convenient for them.” If a patient remembers at 1 AM that they need to make that eye exam appointment, they can schedule then and there instead of calling in to your office the next morning. Be sure to head to essilorpro.com/COVID-19 for more great resources and advice for building a brighter future for your practice!
31 minutes | 8 months ago
Optometry Podcast: Telasight with Dr. Ian McWherter
Do you ever call up your friends to ask for advice on a complicated patient case? Well, imagine if your friends were the top minds in their specialties – from Dr. Paul Karpecki advising you on ocular surface disease to Dr. Joseph Sowka, the founder and Chair of the Neuro-ophthalmic Disorders in Optometry Special Interest Group for the American Academy of Optometry talking you through a complicated neuro case. That’s the premise behind Telasight, a new start-up that connects optometrists with a team of consultants to help triage and talk through your most difficult cases, available on call to you whenever you need them. We sit down with one of the founders of this new service, Dr. Ian McWherter, a 2012 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University and the current Head of Optometric Telemedicine and Emerging Technology at the Kentucky College of Optometry. Drs. Darryl Glover, Jennifer Lyerly, and Ian McWherter The mission of Telasight is to help you manage more of the difficult cases that walk through your office door every day. “If a patient’s in your chair; treat them,” Dr. McWherter states. But he understands that optometrists can’t be experts on every subspeciality that the profession serves and that’s where being able to consult with a team of experts in real time can make a huge difference. His goal in founding Telasight was to help doctors treat more medical eye disease and embrace the scope of practice and care that we have been trained to deliver. Medical eyecare is an increasingly unmet need in many communities across the country, especially as we face a future with significant shortages of MDs pursuing ophthalmology. “The amount of eyecare needed in the US, ophthalmologists can’t handle it,” McWherter explains. “Optometry needs to step in and that’s where we can help.” We’d like to take a moment to thank Dr. McWherter and his team at Telasight for offering a discount for Defocus Media listeners. Use code DEFOCUS10 to enjoy 10% off your monthly subscription FOREVER!
50 minutes | 9 months ago
The 20/20 Podcast: Black Eyecare Perspective
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