Cold Start Practice

The Spectacle Lens Helping to Power My Cold-Start Practice’s Profitability

Dr. Markowski, center, with her optician, Alex (left) and optometric technician, Shannon. Not pictured: Jackie, the practice’s receptionist. Dr. Markowski says Neurolenses greatly strengthened the trajectory of her cold-start practice.

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By Allise Markowski, OD

May 11, 2022

I was excited to open a private practice in my hometown, and “cold starting” afforded me the independence I needed to ensure I have the best technology and highest standards of care available. I strongly believe that this mindset is what differentiates me from the competition—especially as more value-based retailers enter the market. I strive to set the bar high for the type of care and experience I share with my patients.

Offering Neurolenses as an ophthalmic therapeutic lens option to help solve many patients’ common—and yet dynamic—chief complaints has set me apart; both because these lenses are something that retail chains cannot offer, and because they can have a truly transformational impact on patients. This has helped me grow my reputation as a provider by addressing my patients’ issues with a simple yet effective, state-of-the-art solution.

In short, adding this technology to my new practice is changing patient lives while creating a positive practice-building revenue boost as well.

The Practice-Differentiator To Set My New Practice Apart
I opened my private practice, Connecticut Vision Associates, in Suffield, Connecticut, in January of 2020. Then, after only two months of seeing patients, we were forced to close from March of 2020 to June of 2020 due to COVID.

The pandemic was definitely a significant—and wholly unexpected—bump in the road. I was opening my practice in my hometown, which already had a well-established optometry office, so I had to make sure I was able to differentiate myself from the competition. I wanted my patient base to be aware of my use of state-of-the-art technology, and I wanted them understand that I would listen to their issues holistically, and have the best solutions possible to treat those issues.

Neurolens was the perfect addition to my practice. It provided me with advanced technology to better understand my patients’ day-to-day vision challenges. It gave me objective and reliable phoria measurements, and helped me create a treatment plan for patients with headaches, dry eye, dizziness, light sensitivity and even non-adapt progressive wearers. Neurolens has filled a glaring treatment option void in the optometric world and is helping me offer better options for symptom relief to the patients in my practice.

A Profitability Booster for a New Practice
The impact of Neurolens can be seen in the growth of our per-patient revenue:

In year one, our per-patient revenue was $478. As my confidence with prescribing the lenses grew and my optician’s enthusiasm for the resulting patient outcomes flourished, so did our office. My per-patient revenue rose to $628 in year two. This success continues, and I can’t wait to see how our numbers look in year three!

I pride myself on the high-end medical care I give patients in my practice; but I also want to provide an engaging buying experience through a beautiful boutique optical center. Neurolens fit perfectly into both the medical and optical sides of my practice.

A Product that Will Give Your Community Something to Talk About
Living in a small town, I rely on word-of-mouth referrals to draw patients in. After prescribing Neurolens to several of my patients who are teachers in town, the relief they experienced from their lenses—and the enthusiasm they shared regarding their improved visual comfort—drew others of their colleagues to my office specifically requesting Neurolenses.

I had a local firefighter come into my practice complaining of debilitating headaches; so much so that he often went to the hospital to get injections for relief. After screening him on the Neurolens Measurement Device, Gen 2 (NMD2), and educating him about the benefits of Neurolenses, he was open to trying them. Unsurprisingly, he has been a great success story because he no longer misses work due to severe headaches. Just as importantly, his headaches no longer negatively impact his life outside of work.

Another success story involved a non-adapt progressive wearer who was able to comfortably wear the progressive Neurolens. Clinically, there is a relatively simple explanation: the add power in progressive lenses introduces base-out; the contoured prism of Neurolenses introduces base-in—even with no distance prism—which has a neutralizing effect. His greatest benefit of the lenses, he said, was that he can even wear them while playing golf!

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I have many business professionals coming into my practice who are working on the computer for longer and longer hours. These patients notice significant end-of-day relief and reduced fatigue due to the contoured prism of Neurolenses, which reduce strain on the trigeminal nerve.

I walk my talk. I wear Neurolenses myself. I previously used to take Advil daily to reduce chronic, lingering headaches. Now, I don’t even think I own a bottle of Advil.

Position Your Practice on the Cutting-Edge of Care
I appreciate having cutting-edge technology for my patients. It’s what I want my patients to expect from me, and what Neurolens delivers. We have found a flow that allows us to screen all patients in pre-testing. I appreciate the ease and consistent reliability of the NMD2.

I screen every patient, whether they are symptomatic or not, which brings awareness of the benefits of Neurolenses to all patients. Even if they aren’t symptomatic themselves, they often know someone who could benefit from these lenses. This is often how I get family member referrals, i.e.: my daughter needs to be screened because she gets terrible headaches, or maybe this could help my husband’s complaints of eye fatigue, or my sister should try this so she can get off all her other headache medications.

The Neurolens pretesting questions easily trigger other patient issues that our practice can then help with. Patients start to consider more deeply how their daily life is affected by their vision; and Neurolens allows us to show them that we will make a difference.

I have been prescribing Neurolenses since opening my practice, so I am seeing many Neurolens wearers back for their yearly eye exam. They continue to buy new pairs of Neurolenses because of the comfort and relief the lenses provide.

Show Patients What You Can Do for Them
Often patients don’t recognize that symptoms they have—like neck pain, light sensitivity, dizziness or dry eye sensation—are related to their eyes. Educating them on how a pair of Neurolenses can help alleviate those symptoms in a non-invasive way provides a solution. Neurolens, with its high rate of success in our office, helps decrease those issues and creates a high level of patient satisfaction. Our office motto is “See Well, Be Well” and Neurolens fits that culture perfectly!

Allise Markowski, OD, is the owner of Connecticut Vision Associates in Suffield, Conn. To contact her:

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