Medical Model

Why the Cosmetics Your Patients Use May Require a Redirect

By ROB Editors

The satisfaction and well-being of patients related to aesthetic optometry begins with education. Patients may not realize that many of the cosmetics they use everyday are harmful to their eyes, and likely to cause discomfort.

Here is what Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO, FSLS, FBCLA, told us about the importance of guiding patients to the right cosmetics. Also included are tips from ROB Editors on having a conversation with patients who are concerned with the overall cost of their eyecare, and may be more likely to purchase the cosmetics you recommend if they can make other eyecare-related costs more manageable with patient financing, using the CareCredit credit card.

An Essential Conversation for All & Especially for Dry Eye & CL Wearers
When patients come into the office with dry eye complaints, the culprit may be related to the cosmetics they use, says Dr. Barnett. “For those with dry eye and/or contact-lens wearers, it is important to ask which products are being used for the face and eyes. If there is makeup debris around the eyelids, it is an easy conversation starter to discuss the importance of products and makeup removal,” she says. “For my severe dry eye patients, it is even more important to optimize the ocular surface.”

Managing Expenses Makes Buying High-End Products Possible

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The good news is that there are now an array of cosmetics available that are eye-safe, causing no harm or discomfort. The bad news is that these cosmetics are frequently more expensive. When the products you recommend add significantly to a patient’s expenses, they may be less inclined to try them. However, when you introduce a payment solution like the CareCredit credit card, patients may decide to move forward immediately.

“I want to try the products you’re recommending, but the cost, on top of everything else is a bit too much right now. I may have to stick with what I have. It doesn’t make my eyes burn too much.”

“I totally understand your concern. Please know that in our office, you can take advantage of promotional financing options offered through the CareCredit credit card. If approved, you can use it to pay over time for all of your out-of-pocket costs including the exam, your new glasses and any additional products you’d like to try. Our staff can tell you what your estimated monthly payment may be if you’re interested.”–ROB Editors

Many cosmetic products contain chemicals which may increase ocular irritation, blepharitis, meibomian gland toxicity and even cause, or exacerbate, dry eye disease.

Most women wear cosmetics and both men and women wash their face with a product, so most everyone uses cosmetic products around the eyes. For that reason, it is pertinent to discuss product use with all patients, not only those with ocular allergies, says Dr. Barnett. However, she notes, if a patient has allergies and/or is sensitive to products, it is even more important to discuss specific products.

“Any product that a person uses on their face and around the eyes has the potential to cause problems. Men may think that since they are not using ‘cosmetics’ they don’t need to worry about ingredients,” she says. “However, the products they use may have ingredients that are unfriendly to the ocular surface. For example, a face wash, anti-aging product or sunscreen could be irritating for both men and women.”

Recommend & Consider Selling Specific Products
There are eye-safe cosmetics you can invest in to see in your office, or establish an affiliate relationship with in which each purchase made based on a recommendation from you results in your practice getting a percentage of the sale.

Dr. Barnett has go-to cosmetic brands that she educates patients about.

“I recommend Èyes Are The Story, and have received great feedback from my patients who have tried these products. This brand currently offers mascara, liquid eyeliner, facial cleanser and facial serum,” she says.

“Blinc mascara with tube technology has been beneficial for those with dry eye and contact lens wearers. The EyeEco products, including the E9 moisturizer and facial hydrating spray, are also helpful for those with dry eye including severe disease,” says Dr. Barnett.

In addition, Dr. Barnett recommends the Ocusoft and Zoria products, including the lash intensifying serum, and have received great feedback from patients.

We Love Eyes has reliable eye-safe products for cleansing, makeup removal and offers specific products for men, she advises, and Bruder Hygienic Eyelid Care Kit offers products to remove bacteria and debris and a compress to unclog blocked glands.

“Whichever brand patients choose, I recommend makeup replacement every 1-3 months. If a patient has an eye infection, immediate replacement of makeup is imperative,” says Dr. Barnett.

Along with recommending specific brands, Dr. Barnett lets patients know about these two resources for learning more about the ingredients in cosmetics:

Think Dirty App

Skin Deep by EWG 

Make Your Office an Resource to Patients
When patients can ask you about what they can do themselves to improve both the look and feel of their eyes, and you can give them the help they seek, you have elevated both care and your practice brand.

“Patients often inquire about which products to use. It is beneficial to have specific product recommendations for eye and facial products for use with contact lenses. Providing brochures and web site information is most beneficial,” says Dr. Barnett. “With the right guidance, patients can safely–and enjoyably–wear and benefit from makeup and skincare products.”

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