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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

It just dawned upon me that I’ve been writing these editorials since March 1983. That’s a long long time. Thank you for being so patient in allowing me to share with you things of importance to me as it relates to life and to my world on Optometry. I asked myself a simple question this month? What would I be doing if I had not chosen Optometry. The answer came rather quickly. I would be working in my auto repair shop. In fact, I would most likely be the owner of several such repair shops. Repairing broken down things have come naturally for me and I worked in a garage putting myself through Optometry school thus I became very good at fixing things. Big things: ‘Like cars that stopped working.’ I enjoyed jumping into the service truck to find one of our customers who had become stuck in various places. Some of our customers were Jerry Louis, Jim Arness, and many other movie stars of that era. They were heavy tippers once I got them back on the road again. The repair shop idea followed me closely into Optometry. Setting up an edger came naturally during the 60’s when everything was done manually and became labor intensive. Those were the golden years in the back of my...
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An Important “Little” Lesson From Google

An Important “Little” Lesson From Google

Design Counts Noticed anything different in your Google search lately? A subtle yet significant change is being tested by the mega company right now –  the font color of the search results. Yup – Google has invested unknown sums into re-testing a possible switch from its iconic light blue search result links to black or different shades of blue. Why? Well, consider this: When the current shade of blue was chosen it was only after 40 different shades of blue were tested, revealing that this color alone was responsible for a difference of $200 million a year in ad revenue! This shows how for a company of its size, a small design change can mean huge dividends. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a design is surely worth 10,000 words. In the words of Candace, our design expert, your website design is the conversation you have with your audience, so you need to speak elegantly. Every little element in your design says a lot. You present yourself with typography, shapes, colors, and imagery and that presentation is critical to converting new patients. While the font color you choose may not have an impact of millions of dollars there are some essentials that you need to...
Take the Marketing Offensive

Take the Marketing Offensive

Stage 3 Marketing: Offensive Marketing Strategy The last tip described a strategic new patient marketing approach for an established practice to create a specialty of expertise. Now we will look at the optimal strategy for the next level of practice success – a practice that is truly thriving, has already differentiated itself in the marketplace and looking to dominate the local market. The Stage 3 Practice This practice has broken through all barriers; it has been around 20 plus years, has many doctors and many locations, making upwards of $1.5-2 million in revenue.  It is operating in a larger market, in which it has already created a distinguished name for itself – which is how it got to this size in the first place. Goals of the Stage 3 Practice A practice this size has the need to generate a LOT of patients, ALL THE TIME!   In order to attract a patient-base of 10,000+ per year … sometimes even 20,000+, this practice needs to completely dominate all the local search results, for miles around.  When patients think of eyecare, they must think of this practice first.  Period. How? A stage 3 practice needs to leverage its impressive size, strength and reputation...
Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY: I would like to share with my readers something about Strabismus and why I decided to begin focusing my attention to this group of patients. Strabismus makes up around 3% of the population that comes into our office seeking help. “Doctor, is there anything that you can do for me?” My U&C answer used to be: ‘No, your situation was determined many years ago during your formative years of life.” “I’m sorry but you seemed stuck with your predicament?” It was the path of least resistance that I had taken for the above patient. Was it the right answer? Those who were in the mainstream of COVD (College of Optometrists in Visual Development), the answer would have been: ‘Doctor, you did not give the patient the proper answer.” The proper answer would/could/should have been: ‘Yes, there are several things that we can look into for you.’ I was inspired by a little girl who came to see us for an eye evaluation. She was a cute 3 year old Hispanic young lady. Her father informed us that she was bumping into things and he noticed that she would sit very close to the T.V. even after repeatidly asking her to sit further back. He also noticed...
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The Optometrist’s Perspective

The Optometrist’s Perspective

Today there is a ongoing study being conducted Asia on Myopia control. It seems that Myopia is most prevalent in Asian countries. GP Specialists (contact lens lab in San Diego) reports an increase in the number of doctors fitting their Ortho-K lenses. There is no doubt that many studies have shown that fitting children with Ortho-K does reduce myopia by 30-40%. Many doctors are recommending that children spent more time outdoors since it is their belief that myopia is environmentally connected. As a young student in Optometry, I was taught that children who spend too much time watching T.V. was bad for the eyes. I was also taught that children who spend time outdoors tend to become hyperopic rather than myopic. I myself became hyperopic to this day. Here’s my story. I grew up on the farm as did my older brother and younger sister. My brother is myopic with astigmatism. My sister is myopia in one eye while being hyperopic in the other other. Both my parents were hyperopic with astigmatism. My personal conviction is that we are genetically connected via our X factor from both parents that determines our eye condition. That is based on my personal experience of having practiced...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Does this next statement sound all too familiar to you? There is no doubt in our practice that we have become reliant on computers for everyday chores. Chores like EMR which we have adopted into our practice for many years. During the summer months of 2011, we dove headfirst into EHR software. We were told that if we were not compliant by the beginning of 2014 that we would get dinged by some agencies for not getting on board. In hindsight, was that just a scare? I still have colleagues who refuse to push the button and go on board with any type of EHR software. Are they smarter than us? Today, we are running once again with the thought of having to incorporate ICD-10 into our practice by Oct 1, 2015. What if we did not comply with this directive? What will be the consequence? So what exactly is ICD-10? Please allow me to retract just a bit. What is ICD-9? ICD-9 is the ‘International Classification of Diseases’ – 9th edition. That would make ICD-10, the 10th edition. The International health care system around the world has adopted the ICD-9 and now ICD-10 so a common coding method could be utilized that would be recognized around the world. Where does Optometry fit into this?...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

I for one do not enjoy our summer months. It can become quite uncomfortably warm during the day but it does cool off during the evenings. Our practice is located in Southern California considered to be in the low desert. When it becomes hot and muggy, we generally see brown haze captured and nestled near and around the mountains. If I had the know-how, I would generate a huge hole in the mountains and install a huge fan to blow all the smog to the desert towns. Unfortunate for us, there are many engineers living on the other side of the mountains and they are geniuses. They would install larger fans and blow the dirty air right back into our city. Again a no-win situation for all. So what do we do about it? In California, the air resource folks have required special low emitting gasoline to be sold during the summer months. That is why when you visit our state in the summer months that our gasoline prices are so expensive. Just be patient and the price will come back down in the winter months. Sounds simple enough. I decided to give my readers a break from my ranting about contact lenses. Having said that, I would write every article until the sun ceases to shine, about all the wonderful...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to each and every mother. Mothers never seem to receive enough recognition for having given birth to each of us. Let us all give special thanks to each of our mothers. THANK YOU MOM for putting up with me all these years. Where would I be without your tender love? INTERESTING PATIENT 3 years ago, a young man in the music industry walked into my office. He greeted me cordially when I entered into the exam room. He was 28 years of age. He began to tell me about his eye condition. I listened to every detail taking notes along the way. With every contact lens patients, our staff performs a corneal topography map and they make sure to place the topo map on my desk. It has been my custom to first listen to the patient as I have always found out that that is where it all begins…Listening, listening and more listening. The stories that patients relate to me in the exam room could fill volumes. One day when I elect to retire, I will sit down and recall the most interesting cases to share with my colleagues. Until that day comes, I can always share those cases with my readers for now. The patient related that he had seen many eyecare practitioners to date and that he had...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

We are approaching the Holiday Seasons, perhaps, the happiest time of the year for most of my readers. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! This is the season to gather with friends & family to munch of goodies and share whatever we are grateful for. Don’t forget to reach out and lend a helping hand to someone less fortunate than us. CXL for KERATOCONUS: We are beginning to see more and more OMD’s offering this service to help curtail keratoconus. This procedure involves a simple procedure that can dramatically improve the quality of life for many keratoconus and ectasia patients. This procedure can halt the corneal shape change. This has in turn enabled the patients to achieve improved vision and avoid corneal transplantation. Most likely this procedure will be receiving FDA approval in the not too distant future. So what will be our role as O.D.’s to becoming involved with patient care? We refer the more advanced cones to local OMD’s that offer this service. We then provide contact lenses about 3 months after the procedure. It can be done on both eyes at the same time or one eye at a time. CXL utilizes Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and UV-A radiation to improve the corneal rigidity by increasing...
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Optometrist Prespective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Prespective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

I’m a huge fan of remodeling one’s office very 3-5 years. Anyone can swing a paint brush or roller for beginners. A new coat of paint can spruce up the old walls. Two years ago my staff talked me into remodeling the office. I listened to their plans and upon hearing their complete makeover – I honestly balked at the idea. They wanted to retile the waiting room for starters. Then take out the flooring in 3 exam rooms and the kitchen. What? Are they nuts? The expense of installing wood flooring was more than what I had budgeted for. What they did not know was that I knew we had been laying one tile floor on top of one another for the past 3 upgrades. Our floors were high enough which made this project a major one to tackle. The staff then volunteered their husbands to do the work at night after their work was done. They would work for $10/hr. Hey, I couldn’t resist. My wife and I went shopping and purchased a large truckload of tiles, grouting, wood flooring materials, tools, etc. The boys came after work on day #1 and began to chisel out the flooring in the waiting room. Hours later, very little progress was being made. I went home and brought back a small air operated flooring...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Hello to summer. Once again, I watch my electric bill climb through the roof. If only my bottom line would climb as quickly as our electric bill then I would be content for another year. As promised, I feel that glaucoma is a very important aspect of any optometrist’s daily practice. If we miss it then we can be held for negligence and can be in court trying to defend ourselves before a jury. So, why not prepare ourselves with proper equipment and knowledge about the disease? I found perhaps one of the most interesting articles on the subject matter pertaining to glaucoma in the Optometry Times that I will share with my readers. The article was written by Dr. Benjamin P. Casella and I could not have said it any better. He starts by calling his article: “7 Pearls to guide glaucoma treatment.” At this point, I will excuse myself and sit back and listen to his choice words. “It’s a tough diagnosis to make…and take away once made. We hear about structure vs. function in glaucoma. We hear that structural damage should correspond with functional damage (as evidenced by visual field studies). We go to weekend lectures and see tidy cases of inferior neuroretinal rim notches with...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

A giant “Hello” to all of you. March is now here and we are dealing with windy days in my neck of the woods. Trees are tumbling down with many branches falling on the road to work. Some folks have had an entire tree limb fall on their car. Very scary stuff. Hope all is well with my readers. Stay well my friends and most of all, eat healthy and live a long life. New stuff is here. During November of 2013, GP Specialists began their study on their new small iSight Scleral lenses. Many of our doctors have been inquiring about smaller scleral lenses. Our R&D department began to conduct in-house R&D over several months until they came up with the new and exciting 13.4mm scleral lens to go along with their 16.4mm sclerals which have been performing exceptionally well. Never one to be caught sleeping, GP Specialists decided to formulate a smaller version based upon the polynomials of the original design. They incorporated several large scleral experts across the country to evaluate the smaller version. After 4 months of extensive testing, the new sclerals performed flawlessly. New patients have found that the new smaller sclerals were easier to insert/remove and not as intimidating...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS FROM ALL OF US AT C&E VISION – YOUR BUYING GROUP OF CHOICE! I like to begin each New Year’s editorial by taking a quick review of what we have done in our practice during the year. It’s now been over 4 years since we rededicated our practice to focus more on contact lenses and ocular disease. We feel so fortunate to have the privilege within the scope of our license to treat so many eye problems from fitting the casual contact lens patients to the more difficult cases plus all the various medical eye problems candidates that we see in our daily practice. Yes, optometry has become a fun profession along the way. Unfortunately, we are not being compensated enough for all the education, equipment, time which we all have put into our practices. To those who are putting themselves each day on the firing line like we do – congratulations! Thank you for supporting the C&E Buying Group for so many years. It is through your loyal support that we exist to this day. This year will mark the 31rd year of The C&E Buying Group. I personally would like to extend my hand to each of you for your support. May 2015 bless each of you...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my readers. This year has been fleeting very quickly for me and my family. The C&E Family would like to reach out to each of you with Holiday Cheers as we are now approaching into the Holiday season which signals the end of 2013. I pray that each of our members have had a good year in spite of the ongoing economic slump that we have been mired in for so many years. It is now the end of my 2 year effort to move our practice into more highly specialized fitting of the difficult to fit contact lens patients. Yes, I must admit that these patients do consume a lot of chair time but the rewards have been there both emotionally and financially. YamaKone IC: Many of my readers have inquired about this lens. Several colleagues have asked that I write more details about this lens. The YamaKone IC is a byproduct of my lifelong dream of having a soft lens for our cone patients who have become gas perm intolerant. The most important ingredient for me was that this lens must be simple to fit. During the initial R&D phase of developing this lens into which it is today was time consuming. I would spend upwards of 4 hours per patient putting my practice in a huge backlog....
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

In our neck of the woods, summer is bearing down hard on us and we do whatever it takes to avoid the heat. Hopefully all of our members throughout the country are doing alright. Something unusual happened to me in our office. First one computer lost its hard drive. I had taken that one to Best Buy to have the Geek Squad replace the hard drive. That computer was fairly new with 8 MB of memory and 750 gigs of HD. They asked if I had the restore media discs but I had forgotten, (actually too lazy to make any restore discs.) They asked that I call HP to purchase the hard drives. After spending what seemed like an eternity talking with various techs from India, I finally got one who told me what I had to do. I went online and with my limited computer skills, I plodded for what seemed like several hours before I hit the jackpot. I crawled into bed close to 1 a.m. so I wouldn’t wake the wife and dozed off to sleep. When we woke in the a.m., I could hardly contain my happiness by announcing to the wife that I finally figured out how to order the recovery discs. I answered all the questions: S/N/ Product, code, name of computer, how many bytes, etc, etc, etc. The place that had the recovery...
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