The school year is on the horizon once again, and now is the time to remind your patients who are parents of the importance of bringing in their children for a standard annual eye exam.
In the ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’ world of today, it’s all too common for parents to not think about or put off having their children take an annual eye exam if they haven’t yet complained about their vision. Take time to remind them of a few key points on why that approach just isn’t good for their kids.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE NEVER SEEN
How many of your patients, especially younger ones, have gasped in surprise after walking outside with that new pair of glasses and exclaimed ‘I can read the signs all the way down the street!’ Until we’ve experienced 20/20 vision, we naturally adjust so that we can manage what we assume is normal. The problem is that you don’t know what you aren’t seeing until you’ve seen it. This can lead to children struggling in school by not being able to clearly see the chalkboard or projection screen, reading information posted to the walls, or struggling to see the words in their school books clearly, which can have a negative affect on comprehension and learning. Often times vision can even be improved beyond 20/20, which can help not only in the classroom but also on the court on on the field for athletes.
TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM
Parents want to do whats best for their kids, but they aren’t going to do anything about a problem no one is talking about. Take a moment to communicate with your patients; when they are in your office, or by email, and have a discussion about the benefits of bringing in their kids.
Of course, you know what’s going to stop them. There is a perception out there that the required prescriptions for glasses and contacts is a scam by greedy optometrists, that annual eye exams just aren’t that important. How many times have you heard this or a variation of: “It’s just my vision. I can see okay, I’m fine.” Take the time to let your patients know what you are looking for when doing a comprehensive eye exam. Tell them stories about patients like Callie Efurd*. At four her parents took her into to their eye doctor because she was holding objects close to her face, but they ended up discovering a rare genetic condition called Marfan Syndrome and saved her life. Talked to them about patients you’ve had that were struggling in school until they finally came into to have their eyes checked, and what the difference it made; and how they wished they had come in years earlier.
What is that other little thing that might be holding them back? Oh, right–money. Of course parents are going to be concerned with the ‘required’ shopping list right now–pencils, notepads, backpacks, new clothes, lunch boxes. Asking for $150 for the exam and potentially writing a script for a pair of glasses is going to cause budget worry. Head it off early by letting them know about Vision Care Direct individual plans, and that the exam will only be $15 at the time of service. Plus, let the know that even if they don’t end up needing a prescription they can get computer glasses to prevent eye strain from too much screen time.