By Sheryl Simms, OD
Feb. 7, 2018
Dry eye is a growing challenge, with an aging population, and more people spending long hours on digital devices, and taking prescription medications that cause dryness. Fortunately, there are an array of treatments and services to help these patients. My practice has found natural eyecare from Natural Ophthalmics to be an important part of how we help our dry eye patients.
Even better, Natural Ophthalmics also has products for the other eye conditions and needs we help our patients address. Whether it’s allergies, the changes experienced by aging eyes, or even ocular challenges associated with Orth-K, I have a natural eyecare regimen I can prescribe.
The Natural Ophthalmics products that we sell in our office include Women’s Tear Stimulation drops, Tear Stimulation Drops, Ortho K thick and Ortho K thin drops and Allergy drops.
Our practice, Urban Optique & Eyecare, is in dry Arizona, and we have a high population of patients with chronic, progressive dry eye. Out of all preservative-free drops recommended over many years, I have had the best feedback from patients about the Tear Stimulation drop, which my patients have found to be the most effective. It helps patients to feel more comfortable, and less drops are necessary than other manufacturers to achieve relief. I can also recommend Tear Stimulation drops to be used with contact lens wear.
As I fit patients with Ortho-K in our office, I only prescribe the Ortho K Thick and Thin drops for insertion. Using a preservative-free drop is a must when applying the lens because a preservative will create disruption on the cornea. Ortho K wearers can use either drop during the day because it not only lubricates the eye; it has a natural anti-inflammatory effect.
Allergies have become more common in the “Valley of the Sun,” where my practice is located, so Natural Opthalmic Allergy drops are recommended for these patients. The Natural Ophthalmics Allergy drop treats the eye irritation and does not increase dry eye symptoms like other allergy drops on the market.
My office sells approximately 50 bottles of Natural Ophthalmic products per month. From a business standpoint, it has created a new revenue stream.
Create One-Stop-Shopping & Protect Patients
Having patients purchase in our office keeps them from choosing an inappropriate drop over the counter. I explain to patients that a preservative can create dryness, so it’s very important to choose a preservative-free drop. In addition, other lubricating drops are only temporary, whereas Natural Ophthalmic Tear Stimulation drops help your eyes not only to be lubricated, but to increase tear production.
Show How Natural Eyecare Fits Into Overall Treatment
Our dry eye treatment includes many products and services, so a detailed brochure is provided to help patients remember the dry eye protocol and how the drops should be used. Pictures of the products are on the brochure, as well, for recognition of the specific products we recommend.
Display Prominently & Feature Online
The Natural Ophthalmics products are displayed in our reception area. We place a large emphasis on dry eye treatment in our office, so there are informational patient brochures throughout the office. The staff is also well versed in discussing dry eye treatment.
Online brochures and information on our web site is how we advertise Natural Ophthalmic products outside our office. But the best advertisement is patient feedback. We have spouses, siblings and friends of patients come to the office to purchase drops because of the recommendation from our patients!
Educate Patients About Natural Eyecare
The discussion I have with patients regarding dry eye starts with the benefits of natural treatment. I explain that omega 3s will thicken the tear layer, hot compresses will melt away the blockage in our glands and allow better layers to our tears, and the Natural Ophthalmic drops will reduce tear evaporation rate and increase tear production. We offer heated lid massage in our office, along with lid margin cleansing. Each treatment recommendation is critical for improvement because not just one will solve the dry eye issue. As a dry eye patient myself, I explain I use these products and receive these services, too.
Most patients are truly receptive to homeopathic treatment, and prefer the natural approach. They are interested in knowing the drops are effective and that there are no side effects. When I discuss the Natural Ophthalmics homeopathic drops, patients are impressed that we prescribe natural products. They are comfortable with natural treatment because there are no side effects.
Some patients only associate eye drops with red and dry eyes, so I also educate on the role the right eye drop can play in keeping patients in contact lenses comfortable, and the key role drops play in making Ortho-K a success.
The key to long-term contact lens wear is comfort and clear vision. I explain that because there is a high contact lens drop out rate due to dry eye, it is important to build the tear layer, so patients are seeing the best and feel most comfortable in their lenses. Natural Ophthalmics drops are safe and effective, and help patients to be successful with contact lens wear. We receive more patient referrals due to patients having great success with contact lens wear than we do for any other service.
We also have many happy patients in Ortho-K. A key to that success is not only the fit of the lenses, but the products used to clean the lenses and lubricate the eye. We discuss this with patients to emphasize the importance of adhering to the protocol. For a life-changing event, such as Ortho-K, patients are excited to refer to us, as well.
Be the Source for Natural Eyecare
You have an opportunity to address dry eye, and the other ocular challenges your patients face, using natural eyecare as an essential part of the treatment plan. That ability to incorporate natural eyecare into your services can prove to be a practice differentiator that gives you the edge over competitors.