By Melissa Richard, OD, MS
Dec. 11, 2019
We want to do the best we can for our patients and seek to prescribe and sell the best possible products to meet their needs. One common need is relief from chronic headaches.
It was for those reasons that I added an innovative, advanced spectacle lens last year to the brands of spectacle lenses I prescribe. The results have been impressive, both in the lives of my patients, and for our practice growth.
The product that has been making such a positive difference for both my practice and patients is neurolens.® I have been prescribing it for a year. We did a two-day implementation of the neurolens® Measurement Device November 1-2, 2018, and found this lens system to be so successful, we have made it a fixture in our practice.
I first learned about neurolens® at the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA) conference in September 2018 where the company was exhibiting. I was already using base in prism, and would often prescribe different amounts of prism for some patients at distance and near.
I was interested in this technology because it would allow me to use one set of lenses for those patients. After learning more about the science and the results, I thought of other patients in my practice whom neurolens® would help. I was excited to be the first practice in my area to offer this, and the fact that neurolens® is not available online was also appealing.
New Solution for Old Patient Challenges
Patients with chronic headaches benefit the most from neurolens®. I also have many patients with post-concussion syndrome who have gotten their life back because of neurolens®. About 90 percent of the written reviews from patients in my office have included the words “life-changing.” The lenses are also a good option for patients with convergence insufficiency who can’t, or don’t want, to commit to vision therapy.
A Simple System to Identify Patients In Need of neurolens
Here is how neurolens works in my practice: The Lifestyle Index (provided by eyeBrain Medical, Inc.) is given to all patients coming in for a comprehensive exam or a neuro-optometric evaluation. The questionnaire has patients rate on a scale of 1-5 how often they experience the following symptoms: headache, neck/shoulder stiffness, discomfort with computer use, tired eyes, dry-eye sensation, light sensitivity and dizziness.
Tying Lenses to Wellness
If patients circle a 3, 4 or 5 on three or more symptoms (about 50 percent of my comprehensive patients), my technician runs the neurolens® test on them. I review their symptoms and the results of the testing, and if they would be a candidate (about 90 percent of those who do the test qualify because they need more base in prism at near than distance). I then show them their results on a graphic called the eyeBrain portal, available to neurolens®-prescribing doctors on the neurolens web site.
Easy for Patients to Understand & Appreciate that There is a Solution to Help
I explain that when the eyes are misaligned, the visual system has to constantly work to compensate for that, and this overstimulates the trigeminal nerve. It leads to headaches, neck pain, dry-eye sensation and other symptoms now referred to as trigeminal dysphoria. After refraction, I show them the neurolens® flippers in the measurement recommended by the device over their glasses or their new refraction in the trial frame.
Relief for Digital Eye Fatigue
View the webinar “Relief is in Sight…For Digital Eye Strain,” which was produced by Neurolens and hosted by Review of Optometric Business. Presenters Paul Karpecki, OD, and Timothy Fries, OD, describe the tremendous potential of the neurolens to positively change patients’ lives and provide your practice with growth potential.
Most patients, if good candidates, can feel the difference when I show them the flippers at distance and at near (usually on their own smartphones). It is interesting to watch the expression on their face when I take the flippers away. I’ve had several patients cry in the chair because they see how they are supposed to be seeing/feeling. We then talk about the cost and the benefits of neurolens®, including the recommended blue-light blocking filter, anti-glare coating, thinner/lighter hi-index lenses and the contoured prism.
Why neurolens is the Biggest Thing I’ve Done to Grow My Practice
Having neurolens® as an option for patients has been the biggest thing I’ve done to grow my practice. My cold-start private practice was only 2.5 years old when I added neurolens®. Patients who purchased neurolens® glasses have been a big source of referrals. I get an average of two new patient referrals for each patient I put in neurolens® glasses.
Surprisingly, I get many referrals from patients who don’t purchase neurolens® glasses, or even qualify for them. Patients ask questions on the Lifestyle Index and the neurolens® Measurement Device, and though they may not be a candidate, they know someone who would be. I get many comments every day about how thorough our testing is, and how impressed the patient is with our technology.
I am also getting referrals from local MDs and ODs who don’t routinely prescribe prism. I have always been comfortable with prism, but having the neurolens® Measurement Device makes me feel even more confident in my measurements, enabling me to detect subtle phorias that the human eye can’t see.
Impressive Profitability Accompanying that Growth
neurolens® is available in single vision, progressive and an office design. The average profit on the lenses alone is $400 per pair. On top of that, there is the increase in revenue from frame sales and office visits (initial and follow-up) that can be billed to medical insurance. This averages out to about $600 profit per neurolens® patient, not including future patients they may refer.
I have a sub-specialty in low vision (none of whom would be neurolens® candidates), so I’m seeing much less than 100 comprehensive-exam patients a month. Nevertheless, I sell an average of seven pairs of neurolens® glasses a month (about 10 percent of my comprehensive patients). Because of neurolens®, I’m making an extra $4,200 per month.
Manageable Investment & Strong ROI
I financed the neurolens® Measurement Device, and am paying about $700 a month for it. As long as I sell two pairs of neurolens® glasses a month, my device payment is more than covered. I have never had a problem meeting that goal.
Strong Support for Prescribing Doctors
There are several recorded webinars for doctors on the neurolens® web site. Doctors can also tune into a live webinar in which they can ask questions.
Once a doctor commits to prescribing neurolens®, there are training videos on the neurolens® practice portal that go over how the lenses work, how to run the testing and how to recommend the technology. We were supplied with the Lifestyle Index ahead of implementation, so we could start screening our patients and see how many would be candidates to take the test.
I have a dedicated account manager who helps me with any questions. In addition, the company provides free lenses for doctor and staff once a year. It is helpful to have my technician and optician wearing neurolens® glasses.
From a business perspective, neurolens® also provides support. My account manager analyzed my practice profitability numbers at two weeks, four weeks and eight weeks to ensure my testing and prescribing matched up with projected percentages for my practice.
The company did a two-day implementation to train me and my staff, providing me with an outline of how those days would run, and everything went smoothly.
neurolens® has an ordering portal that allows me to run the patient’s credit card without being charged processing fees. The company also has its own financing option, Affirm, which allows the patient to apply for interest-free financing for the lenses.
neurolens® makes it easy for my patients to see great improvements to their quality of life, and for my practice to profitably grow and thrive long-term.