Why You Should Diversify Your Practice to Include Dry Eye Management

According to Dr. Nate Lighthizer, the key to a long and successful career in optometry is diversification. As Associate Dean, Associate Professor and head of the dry eye clinic at Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry, Dr. Lighthizer has shared with us his advice on the most effective strategies for creating an optometry practice that will be successful, viable and result in a significant return on investment in the long term. “Rather than solely focusing on retail competition with online sources for glasses and contact lenses, ODs need to embrace the totality of primary care optometry,” says Dr. Lighthizer. “Yes, that means offering optical services, but it also means providing full-service eye care, including management of eye diseases.” Here are our top tips for building a diverse and healthy optometry practice, as advised by Dr. Lighthizer. 

Immerse yourself in full-service eye care 

In addition to providing vision consultations, glasses and contact lenses, the management and treatment of anterior and posterior segment eye diseases represents an important and valuable opportunity for optometry practices. Dr. Lighthizer finds this now to be more important than ever to a practice’s financial health. “Depending on your preferences, you can offer your patients glasses and contacts as well as treatment for infection, dry eye disease, corneal ulcers, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic macular oedema, and more. You can treat diseases using office-based procedures that provide the practice with either reliable reimbursement or the opportunity for cash revenues,” explains Dr. Lighthizer. “This diversity of medical options builds optometrists’ full-service profile while growing the practice’s revenues.” 

Make dry eye management a priority 

Dr. Lighthizer describes dry eye as one of the ‘bread and butters’ of medical optometry. For optometrists who are just starting to adopt the medical model, dry eye management is a good first step. Firstly, the disease is very common, so screening and treatment are inherent parts of treating most patients. In fact, many doctors who have been in practice for years start out by treating their existing patients. Secondly, additional training for treating dry eye is limited. However, the revenue and return on investment will be very high for your practice, while the results for patients are impressive. Dr. Lighthizer has found that “patients become vocal advocates for the practice, bringing in more patients to have the procedure. And because dry eye is a chronic, progressive condition, those patients remain in the practice for years of ongoing management.” 

Embrace eye care’s ever-changing technologies 

As a dynamic field, remaining abreast of the new technologies and latest advances in optometry is vital to running a successful optometry practice. “By doing so, you give patients the best possible care, stay relevant in the community, and maintain the practice’s financial health,” says Dr. Lighthizer. “Greet the new possibilities with excitement, as not only will they provide financial security, but they also will ensure that your patients have the best care, and you have a stimulating and rewarding career.” The first and only light therapy device to be approved for the management of dry eye disease, Lumenis’ OptiLight presents an opportunity for optometrists to invest in the future of the field.   

To learn more about how you can diversify your practice to include dry eye management, visit https://lumenis.com.au/medical/eye-care-products/optilight  

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