Friday, February 26, 2010

A call for tender loving (vision) care

I want to share with you an experience. I was working for another company. They only had me there one day per week but wanted to get the most out of me. I was scheduled to see patients every half hour. That's not too bad if the doctor has support staff but I was doing all of the examination myself. Furthermore, if I had consented, they would have squeezed patients in tighter than that.

There's the facts now here's my beef. When a patient exam is rushed it becomes a lose-lose encounter. The patient loses quality of care. A fast exam loses quality: whether it is from cutting out exam elements or doing them so quickly that subtleties are easily missed. The patient also is left with little understanding of diagnosis and treatment because there is no time to properly explain. The practice then loses because rushed exams lead to a higher rate of prescription redos and missed opportunities for care; which is what the patient has hired us to do in the first place.

My philosophy? Slow down, do it right. Taking time means seeing fewer patients in a block of time but just like a good watch, quality pays for itself. A good quality exam leads to greater patient satisfaction leading to loyalty. Greater loyalty means less patient erosion and fewer redos. Clear View Eye Care strives hard to give each patient the best in vision care. This means taking time to get to know you, your needs and then examining carefully to be sure we have done our best to ensure healthy vision.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Don't wait till it's too late.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Is there an optometry analogy? Nothing catchy comes to mind but a good story does. I had a young patient come into my office who needed contacts. This man was a new adult and off to college. His mother asked me to stress healthy habits as he had a history of abusing his contact lenses. We discussed the need to replace his contacts according to the recommended schedule as, "Buying contact lenses is cheaper than dealing with an eye infection."

Three months passed and I get a from this young man needing my immediate attention. Severe conjunctivitis (pink eye) plagued him, a result of contact lens over wear. We managed to treat the eye infection but the treatment cost him double that of a year's supply of contacts.

The lesson? An ounce of prevention (buying your contacts) is worth a pound of cure (treating an eye infection). This practice is applicable to many aspects of eye care. Macular degeneration, Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and others are far easier to treat and prevent than they are to cure. A regular, vision exam on a yearly basis is your best line of defense.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

People who have strabismus (an eye turn) often manifest suppression. This means that the weaker eye will "turn off" or be ignored by the brain. It is a coping mechanism for when the turned eye would otherwise cause double vision. Now, the problem with this is when a surgeon or vision therapist corrects the positioning of the eyes there is no visual benefit if one eye is suppressed.

So what can be done? There are a number of techniques that can be implemented to correct suppression. First off, passive therapy can be used to stimulate the use of the weaker eye. The strong eye is patched, forcing the suppressing eye to work. In addition to passive therapy, active therapy, guided by an eye doctor can help treat suppression. Peripheral fusion is usually treated first working toward central vision as therapy continues.

When treating strabismus eliminating suppression is a first step to achieving healthy binocular vision. (Photo courtesy Mattox)