Pediatric and Teen CL Care
Want to Grow Your Teen Patient Population? Throw a Party
BY CHRISTINE W. SINDT, OD, FAAO
Teens are the largest growing segment of contact lens wearers, but connecting with them is often difficult. They have their own language, they don’t communicate by talking, they are over scheduled, and they never…and I mean never…look up from their phones. So how are we supposed to grow our practices with this elusive demographic? The answer is really quite simple: everyone loves a party!
Not as Crazy as You Might Think
You may be thinking to yourself that an eyecare office is not a place for a party, but think again. Nearly every teenage girl wants to look pretty, and what says beauty and youth more than healthy, gorgeous eyes do?
I was introduced to the idea of an “Eye Party” at an event that I attended with some of my “mature” female colleagues. We had the opportunity to try on the new Air Optix Colors (Alcon) lenses, which are the first silicone hydrogel, high-Dk lenses with cosmetic capabilities, and it was as if we all instantly turned into a giggly bunch of fabulous teenagers. We took photos and “glammed” ourselves up using cell phone apps. It was light-hearted, fun, and educational—so, we thought, what a great idea for the office.
How to Throw an Eye Party
Partner with an office member who can connect well with the younger demographic to help create buzz. You can host an eye party using any type of colored contact lenses. In addition to offering young patients the opportunity to try on colored contact lenses, bring in a makeup artist to help teens accentuate their new eye color.
You can also use this as an opportunity to share tips on healthy makeup practices (see my December 2013 Pediatric and Teen CL Care column and Michael Ward’s February 2013 Contact Lens Care & Compliance column). And while you have their attention, throw in information about sunglasses and proper contact lens care.
For the moms in the group, who will likely be just as interested in beautifying themselves (even though they may play it down at first), partner with a local dermatologist to discuss face care products and eye-rejuvenating procedures. Have a frame stylist discuss ways to “accentuate the positives” of a maturing face and how “no one has to know” about her multifocals.
Benefits for Your Practice
Eye parties can be a great way to grow your practice. You will be the talk of your teen patients’ schools, and I can guarantee that you will schedule new appointments for contact lens fittings. It’s a great way to connect with decision makers in the family and to show that you care about the whole family in terms of health, vision, and beauty.
Not only that, but I bet you will sell more than a few pairs of awesome sunglasses. Not to mention that it may be an opportunity to partner with other professionals in your area to create referral sources. CLS
To obtain references for this article, please visit http://www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #225.
Dr. Sindt is a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology and director of the contact lens service at the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She is the past chair of the AOA Cornea and Contact Lens Council. She is a consultant or advisor to Alcon Vision Care and Vistakon and has received research funds from Alcon. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.