By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
July 21, 2021
The pandemic has been with us for well over a year now. Here is how it is impacting eyecare providers, including encouraging signs of recovery, and what you should be doing now to maximize current opportunities to help patients and stimulate growth.
Jobson Optical Research just published its newest Coronavirus ECP Study: Wave 24. We are highlighting some of the data that has either changed from previous studies or is showing a trend that we should be noting.
It’s clear from the above data that for both eye exams and dispensing/eyewear purchases, practices are opening up and permitting more walk-ins. Although some parts of the country are more open than others, this is a definite trend.
There is a gentle trend upward that more people (both adults and children) are having issues due to increased screen time. Make sure to question this area of life in the patients you are seeing. We are here to solve problems, but we need to know what the problems are before we can solve them.
Speaking of problems, lens fogging continues to be an issue that we need to make sure that we are addressing with our patients. Even as the country opens back up, and mask-wearing becomes less frequent, there are still times when masks are required. Airports and some healthcare settings are just two of these. We have answers about how to minimize fogging, so make sure to talk to patients about what can be done.
Current performance in all of these data points compared to last year is up significantly, however, when compared to 2019 we are almost back to 2019 levels. There is more work to be done. These are definitely data points you should be tracking and trying to improve in your practice.
No one likes to be told what to do, so telling patients they have to wear a mask in the office is a sensitive conversation. Arguments about needing to wear a mask after they’ve been vaccinated are definitely down, but they are still occurring with more frequency than we want to see and we are still seeing people who refuse to come into the office if they are required to wear a mask. This is an ongoing issue in the entire country and one that will not go away soon. The key is to make sure you have a good script and good staff training in this area.
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The Cleveland Clinici recommends you make sure your mask is on properly, maintain a six-foot distance, be respectful, non-threatening, speak quietly and say something like this: “All of the information we have right now says that wearing a face mask is the best way to keep yourself and others safe, so we are asking you to put on your mask or pull it up over your nose.”
Or you can use this script: “Health officials recommend that everyone in a healthcare setting wear a face mask to protect each other. Please put on your mask or pull it up over your nose.”