April 2021

Binocular Vision Services Add Differentiation and Opportunity

Ken Kopolow, OD, SNAPP Board Member

Binocular vision services in a Pearle Vision Eye Care Center? Why not? In fact, I’d argue it’s exactly the place to begin the discussion. If the optometric profession is going to differentiate itself from refractive services alone, binocular vision is one place where this can happen. Optometrists have the skill set and training for this practice area. However, up until now, these services have been provided primarily in pediatric and vision therapy practices. Yet, with the technology and staff to support smooth patient flow, these services can be incorporated into primary eye care practices—benefiting patients, optometrists, and revenues.

Dr. Hunfalvay

For this issue of the SNAPP Insider Monthly, we spoke to Dr. Melissa Hunfalvay, co-founder, and chief science officer at RightEye, a technology leader in the science of objectively identifying and treating oculomotor impairments. “Optometrists measure static vision at every exam, but they’re not measuring binocular vision every time. If they are able to have a systematic and easy process that works within the practice flow, they can bring these services that enhance function to more patients,” she says.

Programs like RightEye and others are designed to be user (and patient) friendly. Doctors select appropriate diagnostic testing modes and determine next steps. Some programs have a platform for in-home therapy, she says, but even simply testing and educating patients and parents is a great start. “Explaining to parents that their child has binocular vision dysfunction can help explain issues that may be affecting a child’s performance at school or in athletics. These findings help ECPs provide quantifiable data that addresses some of these symptoms, including fatigue at the computer and trouble driving at night,” she says.

Practices that offer vision therapy or coordinate at-home therapy can also track—and justify to parents—that the therapy is having an impact. “You can compare the results from this week to last week’s results and see progress toward a goal. A common challenge optometrists face is compliance. In binocular vision training, results are not immediately recognizable. But being able to say, ‘Last week you were here and this week you’re there’ is powerful,” she says.

Dr. Hunfalvay also emphasized the many retail opportunities in this area. Lens treatments and specialty eyewear, such as nighttime driving lenses and digital device relief all provide new and exciting revenue streams for those who are willing to make the investments.

“In a broader sense, eye movements and eye tracking can provide eye care professionals with good information on health and wellness,” says Dr. Hunfalvay. “We’ve done research in other areas of health in terms of identification for patients with traumatic brain injuries, essential tremors, Parkinson’s Disease and more.”

As we look toward the future of optometry, we must look beyond what has worked for us in the past. We can do more for patients; and this is one area we can leverage technology and research from science-based companies, like RightEye, and provide new and differentiated services to the patients who visit our Pearle Vision Eye Care Centers.

Ready to Engage Again?

SNAPP National Meeting Is On

The agenda for the SNAPP National Meeting slated for Wednesday September 22- Friday, September 24, in Las Vegas is taking shape.

We’re excited to offer 6 hours of clinical and 5 hours of practice management free COPE approved CE for doctors and 5 hours of free ABO CE for opticians. We will also be conducting sessions on how to conduct business valuations and tips on understanding exit strategy options—including the pros and cons of private equity transactions.

Our Member-only think-tanks and educational discussions on maximizing profits and improving efficiency are back on the agenda. Plus, registrants to our SNAPP meeting gain free access to the Vision Expo West trade show floor.

Learn more and register now so that you join us in an engaging, entertaining and live venue. We cannot wait to see you there.

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Excitement Builds for SNAPP National Meeting

Gracie Muska, a licensed optician and manager at Terry Ayers’ Rocky River, Ohio, location—store #8005—says she’s looking forward to seeing everyone in person again at this year’s SNAPP National meeting in Las Vegas. “I went to Atlanta last year and met so many people and learned so much from everyone there. It will nice to be able to reconnect in person instead of a Zoom call!”

Be in the Know

In each issue, we’ll bring you a variety of updates from recent news events.

Laying Awake at Night? You’re Not Alone

The rate of insomnia in the U.S. has more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a national survey conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The study found that almost 60 percent of Americans are now experiencing COVID-related insomnia. Read more.

Retail Sales See Strong Rebound in March Fueled by Stimulus Checks and Vaccine Rates

Retail sales rebounded in March as government checks fattened consumers’ bank accounts and more vaccination against COVID-19 made it easier for shoppers to get out of the house and lead the acceleration of the U.S. economy, the National Retail Federation said today. Retail sales increased nearly 18 percent in March over the same period the year before. Read more.

World Council of Optometry Passes Resolution Calling for a Standard of Care for Myopia Management

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution advising optometrists to incorporate a standard of care for myopia management within their practices. “Myopia is increasing at an alarming rate, as are the risks for vision impairment associated with the condition1. With more than 5 billion people projected to be affected by myopia by 20502, the global optometric community must increase its efforts to combat this public health issue,” said Paul Folkesson, president, World Council of Optometry. Read the resolution.

1 World Report on Vision, 2019. World Health Organization
2 Holden et al, - Global Prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology 2016. 123(5):1036-1042

Drug Delivery and Other Contact Lens Advancements

A new paper details some of the advancements to contact lenses that show how far these devices have come from ordinary vision correction. Contact Lens Technologies of the Future by lead author Lyndon Jones is published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, the peer-review journal of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA). In addition to the possibilities as drug delivery devices, embedded microelectronics can diagnose and perhaps aid with optical displays. The article also details the advances in storage and packaging that might aid wearer comfort. Read more.

Will Vaccine Hesitancy Slow Herd Immunity?

In a new report issued on April 20, 2021, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the U.S. may reach “a tipping point on vaccine enthusiasm” within about a month. At that point, the supply of COVID-19 vaccinations available will outpace the number of people who want the vaccine. The foundation uses 61 percent as a current “outer edge” of vaccine enthusiasm —representing about 157 million adults. As of last week, nearly 131 million adults had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Vaccine hesitancy among the remaining 39 percent will present “a challenge to reaching the levels of herd immunity that are expected to be needed.” Read the report here. Read more.

New Contact Lens Rule In Place as of April 1

The Federal Trade Commission will now enforce its revised Contact Lens Rule paperwork requirements. Under the new requirements, contact lens prescribers—doctors of optometry and ophthalmologists—must have patients sign acknowledgment forms indicating they are in receipt of their prescriptions. Read more.

HR Tip of the Month from AmCheck

These costs come from recruiting and hiring, onboarding, the effect on existing staff—some of whom have to work extra or overtime and productivity loss and mistakes. Plus, it takes an average of 42 days to fill an open position.

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