Co-founder of NC Eye Associates and head optometrist at the Apex eye care location, Dr. Michael Samuels, OD was recently featured in ABB OPTICAL GROUP’s publication, The Profit Advisor. The following article is published in the First Quarter 2018 Edition of “The Profit Advisor: Business Strategies for ABB OPTICAL GROUP Customers.”
Special Training Boosts Confidence and Success With New Lens
ABB OPTICAL GROUP can help you get started with custom soft lens fitting
Michael Samuels, OD, opened his own practice in July 2017, and one of his first calls was to ABB OPTICAL GROUP representative Catherine White. Dr. Samuels had worked with White at his previous practice. Dr. Samuels was confident that White would be able to deliver on the competitive pricing, quick delivery and turnaround that he has come to expect from ABB OPTICAL. She also offered to set up a lunch-and-learn meeting because she knew he was just getting started with a new scleral lens product, Zenlens™. Dr. Samuels was expanding his options of scleral lenses to fit and thought that the specialized training would be beneficial. “It’s great if you are going to get into a specialty product and want to delve into the science behind it and understand everything there is to know about it,” he says. During the session, ABB OPTICAL’s scleral lens specialist was able to help him identify a simple beginner’s mistake. “Without that lunch-and-learn, it would have been another visit and a little extra headache for me and the patient,” Dr. Samuels says.
Arch Holcomb, senior specialty lens consultant for ABB OPTICAL, led the group; Dr. Samuels recommends that any doctors fitting sclerals and highly trained technicians attend the session. “All staff, especially technicians, should be familiar with at least some of the advanced technology and terminology. These are very complex lenses. Technicians can explain to patients how customized the fitting of scleral lenses will be.” Lunch-and-learn sessions can be arranged for any scleral lens offered by ABB OPTICAL. “Regardless of your choice of scleral lenses, your ABB OPTICAL account manager can work with your specialty lens consultant to organize a session to fit your practice’s scleral lens preference,” Dr. Samuel says.
Dr. Samuels brought his experience of fitting several other scleral lenses to the lunch-and-learn, and he was very impressed by what the Zenlens offers. “Zenlens scleral lenses are the greatest and easiest to fit, and they match my philosophy to provide the best products and services to help ensure the best possible outcomes.” The most unique fitting feature is the ability to focus in on the specific parameter modifications you need without having to affect the other parameters of the lens in the process. “If you need to change the limbal curvature, the landing zone or diameter, those changes won’t affect the other parameters,” Dr. Samuels says. The Zenlens scleral lenses use a Smart Curve™ design to keep the rest of the lens consistent as changes are made, allowing for a targeted, straightforward fitting.
Consultants like Holcomb are just a phone call away if he ever needs to run a case by him. “I can tell Arch that I’m at 700 microns and I need it down to 200, but I need to increase the diameter. He has the expertise in designing the final lens,” Dr. Samuels says.
Investing in a Scleral Lens Specialty
After he graduated from Illinois College of Optometry, Dr. Michael Samuels joined his father, Stuart Samuels, OD, in practice. His father retired two years ago after selling the practice to a large corporation. That organization had a different practice model than what Dr. Michael Samuels wanted to pursue. Over a game of golf with a like-minded colleague, Kevin Loflin, OD, the two decided to become business partners and co-founders of NC Eye Associates, with two office locations on each end of Wake County, North Carolina. “Our model is an advanced version of primary medical eye care with a focus on the advanced care of ocular surface disease, using the most innovative technologies in eye care to provide the highest level of care possible,” Dr. Samuels explains.
Scleral lens fitting falls right into this model. Introducing the option is easy, particularly to patients with corneal irregularities or advanced dry eye disease. “They can’t see very well in spectacles or soft contact lenses, so I explain that if they want to see clearly, this is their only option.” When he shows them the shape of their cornea, he explains, “This is why light doesn’t focus on one place and why your vision is so distorted. A scleral lens will mask all of that distortion in your cornea and provide a nice finite focal point to give you vision that’s as clear as possible.” Other candidates include patients with corneal ectasia due to previous refractive surgery and those with kerataconus, irregular astigmatism, corneal scars and dry eye disease.
“Anyone who wears scleral lenses comments that his or her vision is incredible,” he says. Even the insertion and removal, often the biggest challenge, can be overcome, and patients are motivated to do so. There’s great flexibility with this specialty, too. “You can build a whole practice around it, or just incorporate what you wish to,” Dr. Samuels says. Plus, it’s profitable. Must-have technology includes a topographer and anterior segment OCT to provide a high-quality scleral lens fit. Build a referral network through local ODs and corneal specialists. Dr. Samuels says that he expects many patients will refer others to him, as well.
Learn about the optometry services offered by NC Eye Associates, or read more about the custom soft lens services at the ABB OPTICAL GROUP website.