“What do I need to buy to get started with…?” Practitioners often reach out and ask what is needed for their dry eye practice, their myopia management practice, or their scleral lens practice.
The answer is simple: Nothing—now go get started. It’s as if practitioners feel that they need a piece of equipment or some fancy training to start treating the patients who are walking through their doors. Now, does that mean that innovation and technology are not needed? By no means; having fancy toys always makes us feel better, but it is the practitioner with the willingness and “let’s go” attitude that makes it actually happen.
Dry Eye Use a vital dye and a gentle push of the finger (key word: gentle) on the meibomian glands. With these two tools, practitioners can differentiate the type of dry eye and, in many cases, come up with a treatment plan. Start with using warm compresses and referring to a colleague for thermal pulsation. Start by prescribing steroids and immunomodulators, and refer out for intense pulse light (IPL) therapy. That’s all you need to do.
Myopia Management Reach out to a soft multifocal manufacturer and get a fitting set. Figure out how to order atropine from a pharmacy. If you have a topographer, find an orthokeratology company that fits your desired fitting technique (topography based, empirical based [Ks, Rx, horizontal visible iris diameter], or diagnostic lens fitting). Call them up, get certified (which takes about 20 minutes), and order your first lenses. Consider starting with empirical fitting, which only requires a refraction, keratometry values, and corneal size (HVID). This is a simple and easy way to get started.
Scleral Lenses Find a lab that will make you feel like and look like a hero to your patients. If your first phone call to the lab doesn’t go well, go somewhere else. Ask the lab whether it has online tutorials on how to fit, get a fitting set, fit a team member, and schedule your first patient.
The Hard Part
Starting is not the hard part here! However, developing the attitude to get started is. You don’t need fancy and expensive equipment to make you a specialist. You need the knowledge, attitude, and drive.
The actual process is simple, but the mindset is what needs to be set, modified, convinced, and determined. Once you set your mind to get started, invest one hour in what was previously mentioned, and you can be off the tarmac and on your way to building a new specialty. CLS