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SECO 2023: Valuing your contact lens patients, while valuing yourself


Shalu Pal, BSc, OD, FAAO, shares key takeaways from the contact lens zpanel discussion she participated in.

Shalu Pal, BSc, OD, FAAO, shares highlights from the contact lens panel discussions she was part of during SECO 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.


Hi, my name is Shalu Pal and I practice in Toronto, Canada. I'm really excited to be here at SECO for the 100th year celebration, and I've had the pleasure to be on a couple of awesome panels with a lot of great doctors talking about contact lenses.

The panel that I was participating in was moderated by Dr. Will Smith, and I had a fabulous group of other doctors with me, Dr. Melissa Barnett, Dr. Ashley Tucker, and Dr. Jason Jedlicka. What we were speaking about was the value of a contact lens patient in our practice.

So really diving into the business of a contact lens patient. How do we keep them in our office? How do we get them to purchase annual supplies? How do we show them the value of our services? How do we show them all of the things that we do for them in terms of returns and taking care of their complaints, returning boxes, replacing ripped lenses, all of that good stuff that we offer to our patients that you know that they're not going to get online? We talked about telemedicine, we talked about specialty lenses, we talked about how to fit lenses properly. And not this just be about trial and error. We really discussed all aspects of the business side of what a contact lens patient is, to us, and how valuable they are.

Some of the key points that I really want you to take away from this session is to recognize how valuable you are as doctors to charge appropriately for your time. You've spent so much time here in meetings, learning and educating yourself, so much time in school, that we deserve to be compensated fairly for the work that we do. And really being fair to yourself, when you show value in the services that you provide your patients are going to be willing to pay for those services. That's huge.

I really want you also to know that we provide so much more to our patients than they know. And we need to just share that information with them, talking with them, telling them what we do for them is really important so they understand all that they are receiving from us in terms of their health care. So the last thing I want to leave you with is there are so much that we offer to our patients and we can't do it alone.

I really want you to know how valuable your staff are. And really engage them, teach them—teach them everything you possibly can, so they are just as smart as you are and can help patients to the same level as you can. Why do we do that? More patients are going to be helped and it's actually going to take so much off your plate by having all of these people around you talking and giving advice and speaking to your patients the way you would.

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