Insights From Our Editors

Market Opportunity: Emphasize Importance of Annual Comprehensive Exam

Jan. 27, 2016

It’s time to reconsider how you educate your community about the need for annual comprehensive eye exams. The American Optometric Association estimates that 198 million people in the U.S. require a vision correction, yet data show that only 94 million eye exams are performed each year. That equates to an average interval of 25 months between eye exams.

Are annual eye exams necessary? This is a question that should be answered directly in our external and internal marketing. Why? Because if patients are returning for an eye exam on an average interval of 25 months, then annual eye exams are not that important to them.

People do what is important to them. So, how do you make annual eye examinations more important to people? Education is the key and marketing is the method to get the message out. It’s important to give patients reasons why they should take any action. So, a marketing plan designed to educate patients about the importance of annual eye exams is needed.

We do not have to re-create the wheel. Others have already thought about how to answer this question and have given us examples – from excellent to adequate – that we can learn from. In this column, we are going to look at both print and video responses.

As you explore these answers, pay attention to content, but also take note if your interest level is high, as well as what you would do to improve either the message or the production.

WEB SITE ANSWERS

A standard Google search of “are annual eye exams necessary” was used. A sampling of the beginning of each web site is given below, along with the link, so you can explore the web site answer completely.

VSP’s answer
After the ads, VSP pops up as the first response. Here are the first few sentences from this web site:

“Most of us get our car serviced annually to make sure it runs smoothly. We also visit a dentist regularly to get our teeth cleaned. But how many of us get our eyes checked each year? Many people wait until they notice a change in their vision to see a doctor. But eye problems are often silent–meaning they have no symptoms, and this can be dangerous to the person who is waiting to see a change. A recent study found that one-in-four adults hadn’t had an eye exam in the past two years, and the same proportion was unaware that an eye exam could prevent them from losing their sight. Even if you’ve had laser vision surgery, or have naturally good vision, you still need an annual eye exam.”

Davis Vision’s answer
Google’s second listing for our search is from Davis Vision. Here are the first few sentences found on its web site:

“We recommend that children get their first comprehensive eye exam when starting school, even if they are not experiencing symptoms, and don’t show any outward signs of not seeing well. A child may not complain about poor vision, but at such a young age they may not realize that they’re not seeing well at a distance or up close, or that their eyes are not working well together.”

New York Times’ answer
Next up from our Google search is a 2010 New York Times article: Tending to Your Eyes by Karen Barrow. You can tell from the opening sentences the direction of this article:

“Poor vision can lead to job loss, social difficulties and the pain and cost of falls and accidents. And though routine eye exams can help to detect the early signs of vision loss and prevent the progression of some eye diseases, few adults make their annual appointments, writes Jane Brody in this week’s Personal Health column. A nationwide survey showed that only a small minority of those most at risk get the yearly eye exams that could detect a vision problem and prevent, delay, or even reverse, its progression. Fully 86 percent of those who already have an eye disease do not get routine exams, the telephone survey of 1,004 adults revealed.”

YOUTUBE ANSWERS

Here are Youtube answers to the question: Are annual eye exams necessary?” As you view these videos, pay attention to content, but also take note if they keep you interested (and for how long), as well as what you would do to improve either the message or the production.

Medhi Kazem, OD, answers the question, and enlists the aid of two patients who tell compelling personal stories. The video is two minutes and 18 seconds long.

In 1 minute and 58 seconds, Craig O’Dell, OD, explains why annual eye exams are important by giving multiple reasons.

In one of the longer videos, Michael Vaske, OD, uses an interview technique with a split screen to discuss why patients need an annual eye exam.

Let’s take this week to review your internal and external marketing that answers the question “Are annual eye exams necessary?” Learn from others as you create a marketing plan that addresses this question both internally and externally.

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