Reach for Excellence

Market Opportunity: Capture More Children’s Eye Exams

Oct. 5, 2016

You have the opportunity to educate patients who are parents about why they should also take their children to you for an annual exam, findings from The Vision Council VisionWatch Parent Child Vision Care Report suggest. About 15 percent of parents who have taken their children for an eye exam in the past two years went to an optical chain (such as LensCrafters or Hour Eyes) for the child’s last exam. Optical chains were a particularly common choice for parents with children between the ages of 14 to 17 and parents who were willing to spend more than $100 on their children’s eyewear.

An additional 10.8 percent of parents took their child to a mass merchandiser location for the child’s most recent eye exam. Mass merchandisers were especially popular among parents not willing to spend more than $100 on their children’s eyewear. Mass merchandisers and wholesale clubs were also popular exam locations for parents with multiple children living at home. Roughly 7 percent of parents said they took their child to a department store or “other” location for their most recent exam.

Of parents who responded to the question “where did your child have their last eye exam,” as reported in The Vision Council VisionWatch Parent Child Vision Care Report, only 10.8 percent responded that they were not willing to spend more than $100 on their children’s eyewear, so they took the child to a mass merchandiser. That begs the question: Do you offer complete eyewear solutions for children under $100? And then, the follow-up question is: Are your patients aware of your under $100 program?

But, with only 10.8 percent of people saying that is the decision point for where they go, your under $100 program for children should not be an emphasis point within your office. Keep in mind approximately 90 percent of people are making decisions based on other criteria. That’s where you should put the emphasis in your office.

Within The Vision Council VisionWatch Parent Child Vision Care Report is another question that was asked that is important. The question was asked of parents who had not taken their child in for an eye exam within the last two years: “Please tell us why you have not taken your children to receive an eye exam recently.”

Here are the top two answers: Fifty-eight percent said they have not done so because their children do not need an exam and 38.4 percent believe their children are too young to experience vision problems and, therefore, do not need an exam. That made us sit back in our chairs when we read those numbers. Those results tell us that we need to do a better job of educating our patients – and the general public – about the need for annual eye examinations for children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“In the United States, the most prevalent disabling childhood conditions are vision disorders including amblyopia, strabismus and significant refractive errors. Early detection increases the likelihood of effective treatment; however, less than 15 percent of all preschool children receive an eye exam, and less than 22 percent of preschool children receive some type of vision screening.”

Take this week to look at the internal and external marketing efforts in your practice with respect to children’s eye examinations. Make sure your internal and external marketing answers the following five questions.

1) What are the top three reasons a parent should bring their child to you for an eye examination?
2) What age should a child have their first eye examination?
3) How often should a child have an eye examination?
4) What eye problems can a child have that a parent might not know about?
5) Do you have a complete eyewear solution for children that is under $100?

If we can do a better job of educating people – both our patients and the general public – then we should be able see improvement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s reported numbers of “… less than 15 percent of all preschool children … and less than 22 percent of preschool children …” having eye examinations. That will enable us to make progress in attacking the most prevalent disabling childhood vision conditions with the result of improving the life of every child we see.

References

http://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/risk/age.htm

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