June 2024

Next Stop: Las Vegas

Board members (l-r): Lisa Hamilton, OD; Richard Hults, OD; Milissa Stone; and Ken Kopolow, OD

By the SNAPP Board

Now that Optometry’s Meeting has drawn to a close, the next big event on our calendars is the SNAPP Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 15-18, at The Palms Casino & Resort.

Meet up with old friends and make new ones, connect with vendors, gain valuable insight from speakers and panelists and return to your Pearle locations reinvigorated for growth.

Your board is working to develop a fabulous program for you. We have an out-of-this-world opening night at the newest experiential entertainment venue: Area 15. This “futuristic playground” is designed to create an enhanced sensory experience. Join us in The Sanctuary, an area constructed of Indonesian bamboo and underneath a 23-foot-tall glistening digital maple tree. Enjoy dinner, drinks and a welcome reception as we prepare for all the SNAPP meeting has to offer.

Following our Sci-Fi kickoff, we’ll step back into our program with real-world examples of developing a thriving business as Pearle professionals. As always, we’ll share strategies, best ideas and implementation planning that’s relevant to your business.

Check in often on our website for regular updates on programming, speakers and more.

Registration is now open.

Advocacy Matters

Even as we focus on our individual success, we can help lift others. That’s the intention of the SNAPP group and of organizations dedicated to advancing the eye care profession. Congratulations to SNAPP Board Member Ken Kopolow, OD, and the Nevada Optometric Association, recipients of the 2024 AOA State Advocacy Award at the AOA Meeting in Nashville. Dr. Kopolow serves as secretary/treasurer of the Nevada Optometric Association.

Dr. Kopolow is pictured at far right

Great CE

Five Hours of Free COPE CE for Doctors

A SNAPP Meeting is a memorable time for engagement and ideas, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to earn up to five hours of free COPE CE for doctors.

Dr. Brujic, Dr. DeLoach, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Kling

These four distinctive speakers are preparing their presentations that will challenge you to prepare yourself for the changes in technology and delivery of eye care.

Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO, will present two courses: Managing Ocular Toxicities in Patients with Cancer: Understanding ADCs and The ECPs Role in Collaborative Management and Twelve Innovations in Eye Care that You Need to Know About.

Course titles from our other three nationally recognized speakers will be added soon, but each of them delivers a powerful, engaging and provocative talk.

Joe W. DeLoach, OD, FAAO, Dipl. ABO, lectures on many aspects of practice including medical billing and coding, documentation of medical records, HIPAA compliance and management of ocular disease.

Craig Thomas, OD, frequently travels the country to educate other optometrists on the latest trends, techniques and technologies used in the profession of optometry.

Mick Kling, OD, is a leadership trainer, consultant, speaker, writer, innovator and entrepreneur.

Ride the Public Awareness Wave

July is Dry Eye Awareness Month

As the American Optometric Association and others in the eye care field promote Dry Eye Awareness Month in July, you can ride the wave. The AOA estimates that 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with dry eye disease, and millions more may be suffering but the condition has not been diagnosed. So the first step is to talk with every patient about the signs and symptoms—and treatments—for dry eye disease. Here are ways to supplement that.

• Share educational posts on all of your social media platforms.
• Display posters and brochures about dry eye disease and its management in the waiting area.
• Offer complimentary dry eye screenings for new and existing patients.
• Include patient stories and testimonials to encourage others to seek treatment.
• Add a dedicated section on your website for Dry Eye Awareness Month, including articles, videos and downloadable resources.
• Consider making yourself available to local radio, TV or newspaper reports to talk about the impact of dry eye disease.


Stay in the Safe Zone in Content Generation

By Peter Cass, OD, Practice Compliance Solutions

Editor’s note: In the April issue, the team from Practice Compliance Solutions addressed why social media can be critical to building a business today. This article follows up on that with some guidelines for social media. And in the final installment, the team will suggest effective ways to respond to online reviews and summarize the legalities of patient communications via social media.

As we established in the first column in this series, positive reviews and a strong social media presence are essential for building trust and attracting new patients. They help prospective patients understand the customer experience, see your practice's personality and make informed decisions.

The point is to create engagement among your audience. If one of your followers “likes” something on your Facebook page, for example, their friend network might see that activity. It grows quickly.

So how do you create engaging content? Above all else, keep it professional. This is the public view of your office.

• Introduce your staff members and sharing posts that include what they’re up to. It’s personal because it creates that personal connection with your office–without becoming too, well, personal.

• Build excitement for an event. Having a fashion event or a big sale? Start a countdown to keep the posts fresh and energetic. Hosting a community event? Give the details and invite people to stop by.

• Share interesting news articles with just a few words. For example, if it’s a story on dry eye, your post can say, “Dr. Smith treats dry eye in our office.”

• Post photos of patients—always with their explicit permission. You can also ask patients to share their own photos to your social media pages (an even better way to leverage their network). Be sure that whatever you say does not compromise any aspect of the patient’s protected health information. For example, do not say: “Look how Mary’s new lenses aren’t so thick anymore!” Do say: “Mary’s smile says it all!”

• Have a contest. Ask visitors to vote for their favorite new frame on the frame board or the best Halloween pumpkin carved by staff members.

• Engage your younger staff. If you have digital natives on your staff, they may have photo editing and creative skills that would seem daunting to try. They may be able to take your posts from adequate to amazing—but be sure that at least one manager or supervisor reviews content for spelling, accuracy and relevance.

• If you’re using generative AI to help with your social media posts, those, too, need to go through the review and approval steps for the same points.

• Link back to your own website where you can. It’s great to share the information and get the engagement. But it’s even better when a patient who sees your dry eye post can click through to that portion of your website where you explain what you offer and how you welcome new patients.

Just remember to respect your patients' privacy. Don’t share private health information, and don’t set yourself up for fines, penalties or litigation. Social media engagement can be very effective and is one of the least expensive forms of marketing; use it correctly and to your advantage. In the next article in this series, we talk about responding to online reviews.

HR Advice From AmCheck

Q&A: Feud in the Family

Q: We have two employees who openly dislike each other. How can we help them work together effectively?

A: Personal animosity can create a toxic environment and obstruct productivity beyond the individuals directly involved. We recommend the following practices to help improve the situation:

Investigate the cause or causes of the conflict. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about what is happening. Speak separately with the employees involved and try to understand the tension between them. Is it a personality clash, a misunderstanding or a difference in working style? Once you understand the cause, you can work to address it and find a solution.

Encourage the employees to communicate openly with each other. You may need to facilitate a conversation to help them mediate the situation and communicate openly. If your employees are struggling to communicate effectively, they may benefit from communication training, including active listening and conflict resolution.

Set clear expectations for behavior, communication and performance. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Create a shared vision for the team and encourage everyone to work towards that common goal. Tell your employees that they don’t need to be friends, but they do need to be able to work together and should be professional in the workplace.

Lead by example. Model open communication and positive conflict resolution with your teams and peers.

Follow up to ensure that things are improving (or have reached an acceptable stasis) and that your expectations, as well as each employee’s needs, are being met.

News of Interest

Stay Safe on the Roads

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) is projecting that nearly 71 million travelers will travel 50 miles or more from home between Saturday, June 29, through Sunday, July 7.

The AAA predicts a 5 percent increase in travelers compared with 2023 and an 8 percent increase over pre-pandemic travel figures. Most are planning to travel by car. Read more.

Eye Research Shows Mental Health Benefits of Looking at Nature

New eye-tracking research has shown that simply looking at natural elements during urban walks can offer significant mental health benefits. In the study, by Bangor University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, published in the scientific journal People and Nature in June 2024, 117 urban residents were guided on a 45-minute urban walk, while wearing eye-tracking glasses.

They were guided to look at natural things, man-made structures or a combination of both. Those who were guided toward green elements reported a significant reduction in anxiety, “with trees showing the most substantial positive effect,” researchers wrote. They continued, “The study highlights a strong link between observing green elements, especially trees, and an increase in perceived restorativeness, suggesting that even brief interactions with nature can provide mental health benefits." Read more.

Getty Images photo credits—Las Vegas: LPETTET; megaphone: IUshakovsky; dry eye: champja; optical selfie: FG Trade; feud: DjelicS; news nature: Aleksey Stemmer

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