Put Me in Coach, I’m Ready to Play, Today

By Walter O. Whitley, OD, MBA, FAAO

Springtime is an exciting time for our patients and our practices! Baseball is near, summer is getting closer, and we are pretty much over the cold, wintery days. The conference season is in full effect, and we are presented with many educational opportunities to learn how to move our practices to a higher level. The recent, dynamic SECO and AECOS Winter conferences showcased the latest in eye care innovation and technology. We leave these meetings with to-do lists and practice pearls we want to implement. The challenge we all face, however, is actually taking the next steps and answering the “call to action.”

The refractive surgery market—full of numerous developments to engage our practices and our patients—is the topic for our cover series this issue. We have seen a decline in the number of refractive surgery procedures performed during the past few years; however, now, more than ever, is the time to be more optimistic about the refractive surgery market. From corneal inlays to topo-guided LASIK to SMILE to presbyopia-correcting IOLs, there are numerous options available to patients that can improve the quantity and quality of their vision. When implemented with the proper patient selection and setting of expectations, these advances can set our practices apart and allow us to deliver superior outcomes.

We have a tremendous opportunity to re-engage and offer new technology to our patients. By being proactive in our approach, we can turn the refractive surgery market around. First, initiate the discussion with your surgeon or referral network about the available options. It is important that all eye care providers are on the same page with regard to what procedures and services are currently offered. Second, set the stage for patients by introducing the available refractive options. Presbyopic patients are interested in ways we can address their near vision needs, and refractive patients continue to be interested in the improved quality of life they can expect free from spectacles and contact lenses. Patients want to learn which approach is best for their lifestyle. Finally, we need to market our refractive services to let our patients know the wide range of choices that exist to match their vision needs. There is no one better positioned to “let them know what they don’t know” about refractive technology.

As you read through this issue of AOC, consider how you can implement new procedures in your practice. The main point is to do something. There is no better time to start—and play— centerfield!

Walter O. Whitley, OD, MBA, FAAO Chief Medical Editor