By ROB Editors
June 22, 2022
Practice technology can change the trajectory of patient care and profitability. Brittany McMurren, OD, had that experience when she started using OptiLight by Lumenis the second week of January 2022.
“Since then, we have generated $55,025 in additional revenue for our dry eye clinic, despite the Omicron surge that slowed patient ﬂow at the beginning of the year, and the technology has generated more word-of-mouth referrals. Each of these impacts continues to grow,” she says. “I’ve had to increase my dry eye clinic schedule to two full days as I am currently booked out to the end of July.”
We’re in challenging, unpredictable times in which it can be hard deciding on what to invest in to best serve patients and grow a practice. However, sometimes a practice has made an investment in treatment technology, like OptiLight, that is so transformative that its benefits transcend slowdowns in appointments.
Lumenis IPL with OPT is the ﬁrst and only light therapy that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for dry eye management. The noninvasive procedure improves signs of dry eye using patented Optimal Pulse Technology (OPT™) for targeted, precise, controlled treatment. It reduces major sources of inﬂammation leading to dry eye, improves tear breakup time and restores Meibomian glands functionality. With the technology’s simple-to-use design, OptiLight is easy to integrate into the practice and workﬂow.
Catapulting the Practice to New Heights
OptiLight is catapulting the dry eye clinic within Werner Optometry in San Diego, Calif., to new heights. In fact, the practice recently hired an associate so that Dr. McMurren, now a partner in the practice, can shift even more of her time over to management of dry eye patients. With the addition of OptiLight, an in-office light therapy for dry eye, that may happen even sooner than she anticipated. She started the specialty soon after she joined the practice in 2017, she says, with a little self-serving motivation. “I have severe dry eyes. I wanted to be able to provide our patients with a suite of services that they can’t get elsewhere,” she says. Right now, the practice is the only optometric practice in San Diego that offers OptiLight, creating an even bigger draw for the practice.
Educate Patients About their Condition & the Treatment that Can Help Them
The technicians at Werner Optometry use a mini SPEED test to help determine if patients have symptoms of dry eye. During the pretesting, it’s routine to take gland images, which Dr. McMurren can show to the patients. Those who show signs are encouraged to return for a dry eye consult. Patient candidacy for the OptiLight treatment is relatively wide. Patients with eyelid telangiectasia, for example, are excellent candidates for a series of four OptiLight sessions.
Dr. McMurren found there were so many patients who had signs of dry eye that it became a disruption to her daily workflow to try to work in dry eye consults. So, now one-and-a-half days per week are dedicated to her dry eye patients. These patients are scheduled to come back for consults or treatments on these days specifically. She says that it works well for her because she and her technicians get in the groove of talking about dry eye and stay focused and on point.
One of the benefits of the OptiLight is that the sessions only require her presence for the actual delivery time. “I have a fabulous technician who can set up the whole system for me,” she says. That means she can have a consult with another patient while the technician is preparing the patient for OptiLight. She walks in and the treatment time is generally under 2-5 minutes.
Impressive Results = Happy Patients
When Dr. McMurren explains to patients how the OptiLight system works, and what it can do for them, she focuses primarily on the ocular benefits of improving the signs of dry eye and minimizing the need for artificial tears.
The typical dry eye patient in Dr. McMurren’s practice suffers from a range of seemingly inescapable dry eye signs. By offering her patients OptiLight, she feels that she can offer them a potential way out of the annoying daily dry eye cycle. Possible side effects, like the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and a more even skin tone, are also a definite plus.
The benefits of OptiLight are apparent for the patient, but they certainly don’t end there. Implementing the light-based therapy offers the practice both growth and a differentiated income to the practice. “I was a little skeptical that people would be willing to pay for the procedures out of pocket,” she says, but she estimates that half of the patients with whom she consults say yes before they even leave the office. Plus, they tell their friends. Her dry eye clinic is now booked five weeks out, another factor that pushed the practice to hire an associate, as more and more people realize they don’t have to just live with their dry eye signs.
When Dr. McMurren started a new dry eye practice, she did believe people would come. With the addition of OptiLight, it’s happening more quickly and more successfully than her optimistic plans.