Dry Eye Syndrome: Causes and Treatments

Many people prefer contact lenses over eye-pieces because they are comfortable and convenient. Modern and technologically advanced contact lenses are designed to adapt to the environment. They provide adaptive vision without the need of wearing spectacles and modifying appearance. Contact lenses are easy to handle and neither do they require care like eyeglasses nor do you have to carry them in horizontal boxes wherever you go.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30 million Americans wear contact lenses claiming better comfort and ease. But not all are happy candidates in this category due to a condition called dry eye syndrome where patients experience discomfort and reddened eyes.

If you feel uncomfortable with your lenses on, and your eyes do not produce enough tears to provide lubrication, then you might have dry eye syndrome. If not treated on time, it can further lead to conjunctivitis or glaucoma – conditions that add to the optometric severity.

Possible Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome

Many times, people do not realize the likelihood of having or catching a dry eye syndrome because they are unaware of its possible causes. A study by National Eye Institute (NEI), approximately 5 million people in the United States suffer from DES. The figures are huge and show the prevalence of this threatening ailment.

If you happen to wear contact lenses for longer time periods, it can also be the reason for you developing dry eye syndrome.

Here are some causes of Dry eye

  • DES may occur due to aging – mostly the case with older patients
  • Damaged tear ducts and tear glands across the eyes might cause DES because when tear ducts get blocked, tears do not drain, causing irritated and watery eyes. Meibomian gland dysfunction is a major cause of dry eye.
  • Menopause and hormonal changes – case with elderly women.
  • Heavy medications such as anti-depressants, antihistamines, birth control, antibiotics, and blood pressure.
  • Auto-immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome as well as dry mouth.

Possible Solutions of Dry Eye Syndrome

  • A professional optometrist can identify the severity of your case and the reasons that caused you DES.
  • You might also be prescribed some lubricating eye-drops to treat your syndrome in case your eyes do not produce tears or induce friction. Some artificial tears include Refresh or Systane.
  • In severe cases, after trying all the medications, if the syndrome still persists then you might have to undergo a procedure where a drain is plugged in the eyes to create moisture. This usually can be done by warm compresses. Many ODs choose Bruder pads.
  • Many times switching to a different contact lens can relieve symptoms.
  • There are also lenses that contain water in the form of a silicone hydrogel. Daily lenses might be a good option for dry eye patients.
  • Switching to hydrogel lenses that are silicone-based can be better compared to normal hydrogel lenses because they avert water evaporation.
    • Other treatments include Restasis, Cequa and collagen plugs.
    • A new biologic Regener-eyes can help with dry eyes as well.

Creating an Inviting Eye Clinic Reception

Eye clinics may not always invoke positive feelings among patients. People rarely look forward to eye tests, especially people who are squeamish about someone getting close to their eyes. While this may seem like dramatization, it can be more prudent to do something actionable.

By creating an inviting eye clinic reception, you can appease apprehensive patients. Creating a good atmosphere to welcome patients with can make a great first impression on them. The first impression will dictate how they feel about the rest of the experience too.

Here are some ways to create an inviting eye clinic reception.

A Welcoming Environment

Generally, eye clinics rarely radiate warmth. Clinical and cold colors are often used, which can lead to a lack of warmth. By adding more color to the reception area with soft furnishings, you will experience

more friendliness and warmth in the reception. You can even have some gentle music playing in the ground. You can even add some games or toys for kids and magazines for adults. If you think no one actually reads newspapers anymore, you can simply provide free Wi-Fi so folks can use their phones in peace while they wait. It can set patients at ease.

Welcoming and Warm Staff

A lot of patients may be on edge, so they don’t really need the extra bonus of a non-empathic staff. Some kind words and welcoming staff at the reception can be crucial for setting the patients at ease. It can also create long-term, loyal patients if they feel welcome in your clinic.

Make sure the person who manages the phone is also warm and kind. An abrupt or cold approach can lead to the patient not even attempting to enter the clinic in the first place.

Flexible Payment Mediums

You need to understand that healthcare is definitely expensive for a lot of people. If you provide patients with plenty of options to make payments, such as mentorship programs, it can make them feel much better about visiting your clinic. Considering their needs means to be upfront about costs and have transparency in the billing portion too.

Effective Scheduling and Appointment System

One of the biggest mistakes is to make patients wait around even after they are on time for their appointment. In rare cases, it can be quite inevitable, but you should still keep a strict check on time. An inviting eye clinic reception is one that operates on time so that no patient gets frustrated. You can automate the scheduling system to send patients text alerts for any schedule changes or delays too. The staff should also be trained properly in handling patient timings.

Creating an inviting eye clinic reception is more than just doing the bare minimum of adding furniture. You have to consider the needs of the patient and design your work culture and clinic accordingly.

Implementing an Optometry Compensation Plan

Optometry compensation plans need to be executed carefully since they are highly controlled expenses for an optometry clinic. You need to do is the right way to ensure that you don’t end up costing the clinic too much money. Here is how you can implement a proper action plan that will make the entire process more efficient.

1. Determining the Right Market Pay Rate for Every Position

Each position at the clinic will require a different compensation amount. You will need to use a salary survey to establish bands for salaries. These bands are basic groupings of existing salary rates based on

the experience of the candidate or the employee. You will need to determine the amounts for senior, mid-career, and entry-level positions. This can help you make decisions about hiring and raises.

2. Creating Comprehensive Job Descriptions for Every Position

You should think carefully about the responsibilities and duties of every position. Having a detailed and proper job description that includes duties, required skills, educational levels, and working hours can help the candidates and employees understand their position in a better way. The description should also have a summary of expected employee behavior.

The more accurate you are, the more realistically the employees can approach the task. The optometrists should make sure that the employees do their tasks well, and the job description can help with that.

3. Explain the Entire Process to the Team

Making sure you are transparent is the most important thing. You should answer any questions and make sure the employees know everything they can about the job. You can also meet with every employee individually to make sure they have a clear understanding of the expectations and compensation plan. This process will pay off in the long run.

4. Ensuring Team Accountability

The performance standards and responsibilities need to be met, but don’t wait till the end of the year to update the employees on their standing. You should give regular and clear feedback throughout the year to ensure that they are able to improve their performance. Frequent evaluations and reviews will help them, and they will definitely appreciate it too.

5. Reviewing Team Performance, Revenue, and Potential Raises

Evaluate who are the top performers for the year and reward them before anyone else. Then, you should look at the employees who may not have met your expectations and consider other options. For example, you can look for new hires or provide a chance for them to develop further. Offering formal reviews for all the team members can help.

Optometry compensation plans may not always be easy to execute, but only if you don’t follow the right steps. It doesn’t have to be such a complicated procedure if you have an action plan in place.

How to Attract and Retain Your Ideal Patient on a Budget

Visiting an optometrist is a fairly common practice as they offer patients a solution for bad eyesight, eye disease and help with detection of general eye problems. Research suggests that around 39 percent of adults in the USA consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist once a year.

Marketing your optometry business involves a careful analysis of marketing strategies and organizing a well through-out marketing plan. Here is how you can attract and retain your ideal patient on a budget:

Identifying the Ideal Patient

To make your optometry practice more effective and cover all your costs, it is imperative that you use relevant marketing tactics to attract the ideal type of patients. With the right patients coming in, you will be able to:

· Earn a higher return on investment

· Understand patient needs better

· Market your services in a cost-effective manner

Being able to target the right client base through better marketing strategies will enable your clients to have a better understanding of what services to expect. Having a good idea of what your customers want will also help you add value to your products and services.

There are 2 simple steps to identify the ideal target market:

1. Marketing Segmentation

Analyze the primary characteristics of your ideal patient. Start with segmenting the market into categories such as demographics, psychographics, geography and behavior. Evaluate where your target market stands to move closer to achieving a holistic overview of your ideal patient.

2. Patient Persona

Once you are done segmenting the market, you are bound to have a good idea about your ideal patient. Ask yourself what kind of patients you enjoy working with the most. List down some common attributes based on name, health attitudes, income, occupation, interests, habits, age and method of payment.

Figuring out the ideal patient does not mean you should refuse to treat those who do not meet your criteria. The goal is to make your business more profitable by prioritizing quality over quantity.

Marketing Tactics to Attract and Retain Your Ideal Patient

Good marketing strategies for your optometry business do not have to be expensive; they just need to be efficient. You should aim to market your products and services in a way that they provide valuable information to your target audience while increasing brand loyalty.

You can easily minimize your budget once you figure out details regarding your ideal patient and optimize your marketing tactics accordingly. Both traditional marketing and online marketing strategies are likely to benefit your business as long as you ensure you pick and choose the right ones based on the clientele you wish to attract and retain.

Conventional Marketing

Although the internet is gaining popularity as a marketing platform, it has not yet eliminated the need for conventional marketing practices. Some vital ones include:

1. Referral program

A patient referring your business to other people is not only an efficient marketing strategy but is also a compliment as it assures you that you are doing your job well.

Start a referral program by offers such as a voucher, discount, gas card or lucky draw token. This is a good way to show your appreciation and promote your services.

2. Take out time for local charities

Strengthen your brand loyalty by joining charities. This will help build trust and establish the reliability of your optometry business.

When patients will notice your efforts to give back to the community, they will have a higher opinion of your business. Your passion to help others is likely to make your customers keep coming back to you.

3. Broadcast or outdoor ads

An eye-catching advertisement or an infectious jingle will not fail to get noticed. Radio is an effective and reasonable medium to tap the local market.

A well-designed billboard ad is also likely to be retained by people. Whenever they will feel the need to consult an optometrist, they may recall your advertisement.

Online Marketing

In this day and age, the scope of digital marketing is growing tremendously. Having a noticeable online presence allows you to attract a large customer base and is easy on the pocket.

1. Email Marketing

Keep sending emails to your clients from time to time to reinforce their preference for your products and services. Ask people for their email addresses when they register with your services.

You can email people about new offers, newsletters, and reminders for yearly check-ups. Moreover, you can also market in subtle ways by sending out informative emails regarding eye health.

1. Website

Focus on developing a website that is designed well and provides people with valuable information about your products and services. When people search for an optometrist’s services, they are bound to use a search engine rather than a traditional phonebook, which is why it is important to have a powerful online presence.

Make sure the visitors on your website enjoy a good user experience. In order to be visible to the right kind of users, your website must be optimized for search engines.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process that ensures that the site is structured in a way to rank higher on the search engine results page. It involves tweaking your website to increase its loading speed, making it mobile-friendly and placing visible calls-to-action to convert visitors into customers.

2. Social Media Marketing The latest findings show that as many as 2.7 billion people are active on Facebook every month. The importance of maintaining your presence on social media cannot be overstated.

Make sure you are visible to your target audience on leading social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Routinely update your clientele about new offers and practices to keep them engaged.

Choose your marketing platforms wisely in order to attract and retain your ideal patient. Both conventional marketing and digital marketing avenues can be used in a cost-effective manner one you have a clear idea of your target audience and the way to reach them.

References:

1. Statista https://www.statista.com/statistics/917000/optometrist-ophthalmologist-visit-frequency-among-adults-us/

2. Statista https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/