By Jennifer L. Stewart, OD
June 24, 2020
COVID-19 stay-at-home orders meant more time in front of smartphones, tablets and computers. That added time in front of electronic screens has led to more digital eye fatigue and more patient questions on how to keep their eyes comfortable and protected from harmful blue light.
In our office, we have been using BluTech Lenses for our patients for many years. We offer these for sale in our office as non-Rx, and have a wide variety for patients to take home the same day they make their purchase. We also let patients know we can use any frame in the office for a customized non-Rx pair. We sell these non-Rx, pre-made pairs for $99.
What is the ROI of Selling Blue-Light Filtering Lenses?
If an office were to sell two pairs of non-Rx Blutech per day (a very reasonable figure), that could equate to $1,000 day per week extra revenue, or $52,000 per year (based on $99 per pair).
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If a practice were to double this, and sell four pairs per day, that would easily amount to a six-figure increase in practice revenue. This can be done by having a one-minute conversation about the amount of time patients (and their children!) are using screens, and the benefits of non-Rx blue light-protecting eyewear. This is a great way to generate revenue that is not based on vision insurance (non-Rx eyewear is not covered), and requires very little doctor and staff time.
What Patient Education Will Facilitate These Sales?
As a parent myself, I have been receiving a lot of questions and inquiries from friends about how best to protect their children in this time of distance learning. In our office, we make sure to have conversations in the exam rooms when children are having exams about the amount of time children are spending on handheld devices.
We also have a questionnaire that every patient fills out before their exam. One of the questions asks how long the patient spends on handheld devices, including phones, tablets, computers and other screens. This is a natural lead-in for the doctor to have a conversation about the right eyewear for patients of all ages.
Every patient should be questioned about computer/screen usage, and any eye strain/headaches/fatigue they may be having. Often patients don’t see the link, or don’t think about how screen time can be affecting them. We use open-ended questions such as “At what time of day do you feel you need to take a break from the computer?” to help patients tie together computer use and visual fatigue. This is a natural segue to both managing underlying dry eye disease and prescribing appropriate eyewear in the optical.
Most of our education is done in the exam room. Our doctors are well versed on the benefits of blue-light filtering technology and spend time educating the patient on the importance of blue-light protection, customizing solutions to them. This may mean a non-Rx pair to wear over contacts, or a prescription pair of glasses for the computer. For children, it could mean a special pair of non-Rx blue light glasses for homework and tablet time. We also combine blue-light technology with other lenses to help with fatigue and eye strain (Eyezen lenses).
How Do You Educate Doctors & Support Staff?
There are great resources available online from the companies that manufacture blue-light filtering lenses. We also utilize our lab and optical lens reps to host lunch-and-learn sessions in our office to keep our doctors, staff and opticians up to date on the latest lens technology available.
Here are two great resources we use in our practice:
How Will You Let Patients Know You Have Blue-Light Filtering Lenses Available?
We have done posts and e-blasts in the past about the importance of blue-light technology. Once we get back to our regular patient schedule, we plan to do another social media and e-mail campaign to our patients.
We use our recall software, Solutionreach, to schedule posts to social media and e-mails to patients alerting patients of all of our services, including prescriptions and products for blue-light filtering lenses.
Jennifer Stewart, OD, is a partner in Norwalk Eye Care in Norwalk, Conn. She also is founder and COO of Performance 20/20, a sports vision training center in Stamford, Conn. To contact her: email@example.com