Stephanie Frankel, OD, works at Hollywood Eye Institute, an ophthalmology group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that specializes in beauty procedures, from blepharoplasty to Botox and more. “People want to maintain their youthful appearance,” she says, so it’s not a surprise that patients are interested in these services.
Indeed, patients’ satisfaction with their appearance is a conversation she has with women and men. “Women start the conversation with me. But I initiate the conversation with men,” she says. Many are very interested in hearing more. “It’s important that men know that there are some techniques and products that can work for them. I’ll say something like, ‘Have you recognized that your eyelids are beginning to droop?’ Or, ‘Do the bags/dark circles under your eyes bother you? These are things that we repair for patients like you all the time.’ They’re often very receptive.”
They’re receptive, she says, because they know their imperfections. A man with dark circles or bags under his eyes knows they are there. “Patients will often say, ‘I don’t look like I used to.’ That allows me to say that we have products that we can try to fix that. A lot of men are more interested than you might think they would be,” she says, especially when the treatments are noninvasive or the products used do not draw attention.
Dr. Frankel often turns to the OCuSOFT products that the practice carries to help resolve a series of cosmetic issues, from redness and irritation that is a factor with dry eye disease for some patients to under eye cream, makeup removers and ZORIA® Lash Boosting Serum or mascara products to stimulate lash growth. Many of the products available are used before bed, such as ZORIA® Boost serum and ZORIA® under eye cream, so patients are less self-conscious about using them, she says.
The practice was already using some OCuSOFT products when Dr. Frankel arrived. “The OCuSOFT Foam is used every day as its primary use here is preoperatively for cataract and blepharoplasty surgeries to minimize the risk of post-op infections. And a lot of patients end up continuing to use it after the surgery because it makes the area around their eyes feel better and makes their skin soft,” she says.
Retaine® and Retaine® MGD Lubricant Eye Drops and OCuSOFT pads are also sold for patients who have dry eye conditions and
blepharitis. “We offer an in-office blepharitis treatment that includes tea tree oil, OCuSOFT Plus cleansing product and manual debridement. We recommend that they go home with the OCuSOFT HypoChlor® Spray. When I’m satisfied with the products that a
company offers, it makes me want to use more of them.”
Dr. Frankel says that her approach could work in many primary care optometry offices, too. “Even if a patient isn’t a candidate for surgery, he or she still might be noticing issues. With blepharitis patients, I’ll take a photo of the eyelids and show that to the patient. ‘This is growing on your eyelashes. Let’s clean it up.’ Patients are very motivated when they’ve seen that photo,” she says.
She says that Retaine MGD Lubricant Eye Drops for her patients with meibomian gland dysfunction is her favorite topical over-the-counter eye drop. “It’s preservative-free with a mineral oil base. Patients love that they come in with red, irritated eyes and that we can help with that as we’re identifying the etiology of dry eye,” she says. She provides a sample in her exam room, and then the patient can purchase more at checkout. “They trust me.”
Not only do they trust her recommendation, but they are actively seeking it. If they didn’t buy it in the office, they’d go to the beauty aisles in another store and be overwhelmed by the choices. “If they leave here with a pack of products to address exactly the problems that they and the doctor identified, it’s convenient and reassuring.”