Optometrist Prespective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Harvey Yamamoto, ODI’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 removing tool (it operates like a small jackhammer). The boys removed 3 layers of tile flooring in 3 hours. The office was very dusty so we placed 3 large fans to blow the dust outside. I mixed the thinset and away we went. I also brought my tile cutting equipment (electric). One by one, the boys laid the tiles and we were finished by midnight. Total time spent on that project = 6 hours so we paid them $100 each. Cost of the tiles and thinset = $400. Total cost for the entire project = $600.00. Patients noticed the beautiful new tile immediately. It was very exciting.

The next evening the husbands showed up at 5:30 and they removed the flooring in one exam room. Now their experience in removing tiles was paying off. Total time to remove all 3 layers of tile was 1 hr. Wow! The girls began to mop the flooring and painted the walls. We moved the exam chair, stand, desk, etc, into the large lab. It took two nights to finish laying the wood flooring with no prior experience. They continued night after night. The project took one week to finish 5 floors. Total cost of the project = $1,500.

One of the staff’s husbands worked at his father’s cabinet shop. He offered to build us custom cabinets for many rooms. Total cost of that project = $6,000. For approx = $8,000. We had done a complete makeover. Our patients marvel at the new appearance. Final word: “It was worth the cost.”

I then undertook many other projects that included making new cabinets for my office complete with desk. The excitement of seeing a new office unfold right before our eyes continued into every room of our practice. If you are thinking about doing something similar to your office, think about using your employee’s and their spouses.

Last year, I met an electrician who was doing a small job next door to our office. He wanted a new pair of glasses. I thought about it for a few days and decided that I would do an exchange program with him. I make him a new pair of glasses and he does some electrical work that I’ve needed done for years. He agreed. The cost to us = $200.00. The cost to him for the parts/work = $250.00. A pretty fair exchange. Then he talked me into upgrading all 65 fluorescent fixtures. He convinced me that it would reduce our electrical bill some 30% while giving us a brighter office. He took me to an electrical wholesale warehouse where I purchased electrical supplies, and 180 new bulbs. He exchanged 6 light fixtures and never returned to install the other 59 fixtures. We hired the husband of one of our staff who did electrical work. He finished the install in 3 days while I did the rest. Total labor cost = $175.00. The supplies = $1,000. The entire office is now much brighter and it has made us all very happy.

I hope that our experience will inspire many of our readers in doing some remodeling to their practice. It doesn’t have to be costly if you can do some of the work yourselves or exchange your services with a professional.

BLUE LIGHTS: Much has been said about blue lights and the dangers that it presents to our patients. As optometrists, we should be educating ourselves of the dangers of Blue Light so we can educate our patients. The health risks of high-energy blue light are such a concern to many. Most of our patients are unaware of how to protect themselves.

The shorter blue light wavelengths have the most energy, more than the longer wavelength ultraviolet wavelengths that we are all most familiar with. It is this high energy light that can endanger our patient’s retina. Computer monitors, digital tablets and smart phones emit much more high energy blue light than other wavelengths. These same wavelengths can damage the photoreceptors and are implicated in the development of AMD.

To protect the eye from harmful blue light, suggest lens coatings to patients. After reading this article, call your lab and have your rep explain to you and your staff that they have a special coating to address these issues. This is no different than explaining to your patients, the benefit of vitamins and homeopathic meds who show signs of RPE changes. We have been recommending meds from Natural Ophthalmics for the past 8 years on homeopathic meds to help protect their retinas. These products belong in our practices and not in drug stores.

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