Optometry practices should focus on providing quality and superior primary eye service.
New technologies and innovations are integral to eye care services, and adapting and embracing new technologies are vital for optometry practices to stay relevant.
“If we imagine eye care as a spectrum, with traditional retail services on the left and medical care on the right, most eye care professionals (ECPs) will fall to the left side of the range,” explained optometrist Aaron Aussie.
“Optometrists can now help fill in the gaps created by changes in health care today. With increasing market competition, technological advancement in health care and an ageing population, the average optometrist needs to move further towards the right spectrum of medical care rather than just pure retail services now.”
Aussie and his wife, an optometrist, co-founded Flexzoom Optometrist on Apr 2, 1990, in Johor Bahru, Johor.
“For the past 32 years, we have been a group of qualified optometrists providing primary eye care services and knowledge-related products to the retail market. Under our Flexzoom group, we have a total of 12 optometrists.”
Differentiating from competitors
“Many optometry shops are opening up, which results in heavy market competition. ECPs need to differentiate themselves to sustain themselves.”
He believes that by investing in the latest diagnostic equipment, ECPs can provide an added-value service which can be advantageous for their business and beneficial for the public.
“When ECPs identify themselves as a primary eye care service provider, it is not just about regular ordinary eye examinations, but involves a lot of complex and advanced technological instruments.
“Practitioners must be willing to invest in these instruments because consumers also demand quality healthcare services. Practitioners need to acknowledge the value of technology and how it brings value to communities.
“Big optometric practices have always been investing heavily in innovations of instrumentation. However, in recent times smaller companies are following suit.”
Building consumer satisfaction
“At Flexzoom, we practice medical care as our primary service, with the retail secondary. With the technology of the equipment mentioned, we have the necessary instruments to provide bespoke care for our patients while being the first pit stop before visiting an ophthalmologist.
“We believe we can ultimately ensure our success by meeting our customer’s needs for quality products and superior service.”
He added that using the latest and enhanced instrumentations during the eye examination has further increased consumer confidence and positive impression.
Finally, with technology, various demonstrations or even 3D demonstrations can elevate the understanding of the consumer to lead them to make the right choice of lenses, frames or even contact lenses.
“They feel satisfied and assured of their decision to make the first visit to an optometry practice and undergo the examinations,” said Aussie.
A comprehensive eye health centre
Apart from being a primary eye care centre, Flexzoom, he shared, has been selected as the myopia management centre for the southern region of Malaysia. “We will bring in two more machines next year and start working on myopia management.”
Flexzoom is the Eye Health Centre by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vision Care in Johor Bahru.
“Regarding technology, J&J Vision Care provides us with their online ordering system for ECPs, the My Acuvue app, and their AR virtual try-on service for coloured contact lenses. This further amplifies our customer experience and provides an even better visualisation when deciding between J&J products.
He continued: “Innovation wise, J&J are the early innovators of daily disposable lenses such as the Acuvue Oasys with a hydroluxe technology; Acuvue one day astigmatism; Acuvue multifocal and one day define lenses.
“As for reusable disposable lenses, they provide a variety of Acuvue Oasys with hydroclear plus (two weeks); Acuvue Oasys for astigmatism (two weeks); Acuvue Vita (one month); and Acuvue Vita for astigmatism (one month).
“By offering specialised lenses for people with astigmatism and myopia, hyperopia and presbyopia, the wide range of Acuvue contact lenses allows us to provide better eye care to our patients and customers,” said Aussie. – The Health