Add value to patients by offering aesthetic services
NEW YORK – “People want to see well, but look good, too,” Selina R. McGee, OD, FAAO, told attendees at a presentation here at Vision Expo East.
Aesthetic services can add value outside of vision care plans, she said.
“This is one of the areas that’s really taken off in my practice in the last year and a half,” McGee said.
She listed a number of ways practitioners can offer aesthetic services, beginning with sunglasses.
“We consider sunglasses a second pair sale, but they’re really important,” McGee said. “They’re protecting our patients from age-related macular degeneration, cataracts. You can add one more piece: You’re not squinting with your sunglasses on and creating more wrinkles that I need to fix with Botox.”
McGee performs Botox (onabotulinum toxin A, Allergan) injections in her practice in Edmond, Oka.
Colored contact lenses are another opportunity to provide aesthetic services in your practice.
Nine out of 10 times, patients who try them on purchase them, McGee said.
“If you have someone in your practice that can help you build that, use your team around you, especially contact lens technicians,” she said.
“We can also educate our patients on proper hygiene around wearing contact lenses and how they should properly care for their contact lenses,” McGee said. “This is easy to do – how to take off make-up, what products to use – and you can carry those products in your office.”
Patients will ask you questions about make-up and skin care products, she said.
“If you arm yourself with good information, you can be the one educating them vs. the girl at the Clinique counter who’s been working about 24 hours,” McGee said.
She provides cards/brochures to patients with tips on proper application and removal.
“A lot of patients don’t take their make-up off at night, and they’re getting dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction,” she said. “These things are already in our wheelhouse of what we should be talking about with patients.”
Talk to patients about good nutrition and hydration to help prevent AMD, cataracts, dry eye and good skin, she said.
Depending on your state board, you can also sell medical grade skin products in your practice.
“Usually there’s one person in your office who’s really into make-up,” McGee said. “They can really champion this for you, or you can hire an aesthetician. Provide things people always need, like sunscreen, products with antioxidants.”
McGee said she also provides a “rap card’ with a list of products in cosmetics that should be avoided – what she calls her “dirty dozen.”
She recommended looking to partner with someone in your area who has a specific skin care line.
Eyelash enhancements are, “the new rage,” McGee said. “I used to see one or two patients in a month with eyelash extensions. Now I see sometimes five a day.
“Educate around that,” she continued. “They’re more likely to have Demodex if they’re improperly placed. If they’re too heavy they can mess up the ergonomics of the eyelid. The glue can be bad. Rent space to an aesthetician to apply eyelash extensions. Patients will do this with or without your permission.”
Botox is the No. 1 nonsurgical procedure that patients seek in the U.S. and it continues to grow, McGee said. Some patients go to Botox parties, where products can be diluted and old and administered unsafely.
“It’s not a hard conversation,” McGee said.
“You can also do intense pulsed light (IPL),” McGee said, which can be performed with the Lumenis M22 system.
“You can do a lot of things with that,” she said. “You can treat dry eye disease and add aesthetics.”
McGee added that the optometrist is already looking at lids and lumps and bumps behind the slit lamp.
“When I talk to the patient, I look at their whole face,” she said. “A lot of times I find skin cancer that’s not even near the eye.”
She said to ask about any lumps or bumps and how long they have been there and whether or not they itch or bleed.
“These things could get missed at the primary care physician’s office,” McGee said. “The lower eyelid is one of the most common places to get skin cancer.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
McGee SR. The oculoplastic optometrist. Presented at: Vision Expo East; March 14-18, 2018; New York.
Disclosure: McGee has spoken for Allergan and Optovue and is a consultant for Compulink.