I don’t know anyone who has ever picked up a golf club for the first time and played great. My friends who are good golfers practice…a lot! They take lessons from a pro, spend time at the driving range, and even sneak out for a round by themselves before going out with their buddies. It’s no different for eyecare practitioners prescribing orthokeratology (ortho-k). It takes learning and practice to fit ortho-k (Lemov et al, 2012).
First, learn everything that you can about ortho-k from the “pros” (i.e., experienced providers, workshop instructors, and consultants from the lens manufacturers). They will help you with determining good candidates, discussing ortho-k with patients and parents, prescribing techniques, and corneal topography as well as fitting techniques and problem-solving. Then, after gathering all of this new-found ortho-k all of this new-found ortho-k knowledge, practice your prescribing and presentation dialogue with a captive audience such as your staff, your spouse, your kids, or the dog. Once you’ve talked about it a few times and are comfortable with the flow, it’s time to present it to patients and parents in your exam room.
As vital parts of your “ortho-k team,” your staff members should follow these same steps. Everyone in the office should be competent, confident, and enthusiastic in delivering a consistent message about the benefits of ortho-k.
The Next Level
Next, its time to take your ortho-k game to the next level. Get in the habit of presenting ortho-k at the end of every exam to every possible candidate. Even if a patient may not be an ideal ortho-k candidate, your discussion about it will educate a new person about the new service that you now provide. Patients invariably know someone else who may be very interested in the advantages that ortho-k can offer.
Most patients/parents hearing about ortho-k for the first time will consider whether the process is right for them or their child. This is the time to hand them information about the process. It should include answers to commonly asked questions about ortho-k as well as a summary of information and studies on safety, efficacy, quality of life, and myopia management. Having this collection of information in an organized and professional package adds credibility for you and the ortho-k process. Again, practice your presentation and disbursement of information on ortho-k so that it becomes automatic.
One successful ortho-k patient will relay the experience of his or her “new vision” to many friends and relatives. This will build your practice of ortho-k into a gratifying, growing, exciting, and profitable service that adds fun to your day.
After you and your staff have been “practicing” ortho-k for some time and have gotten better at it, periodic office meetings, attending workshops, or even taking your staff to ortho-k meetings will allow everyone to pick up additional tips and tools to smooth out office routines and possibly take on more complex ortho-k cases.
Ongoing success with ortho-k depends on preparation, hard work, and practice. Enjoy your practice and the process of ortho-k. You will find that as you “practice” ortho-k, it will be more fun and you will get even better.
Also, as you gain experience with ortho-k, it may seem like situations that seemed so challenging at first soon become so much easier to manage. As Samuel Goldwyn said: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #286.