May is Healthy Vision Month and a great time to raise awareness about eye health and promote strategies to help prevent vision loss and blindness. Many Americans get a physical every year, but 23 million adults have never had their eyes examined, according to a national survey conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI). The issue, according to the study, is that a signficant number of people say they don’t think they have an eye problem. That’s why it’s so important to educate patients on the importance of preventive care and shift the focus from treating sickness to maintaining wellness and good health. A West study found that 83% of patients hold their healthcare provider responsible for their well-being. Here are six tips to help promote preventive eye care to your patients.
- Send Automated Wellness Appointment Reminders – It’s easy for patients to assume their eyes are healthy if they feel good and aren’t experiencing any obvious vision problems. Encouraging an eye exam is a great way to educate patients that it’s the single best way to stay on top of their eye health. Many patients don’t realize that many serious eye diseases don’t have warning signs. Personalized communication helps patients to be active participants in their care.
- Educate about the Importance of Knowing Family Eye Health History – How many patients know their family eye health history? Use your website, social media platforms or an email campaign to educate patients on the importance of learning if eye diseases run in their family. In adults, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are two of the leading causes of blindness, and both appear to be inherited in a large portion of cases.
- Inform Patients about Resting Their Eyes – According to the analytics firm Flurry, U.S. consumers spend 5 hours per day on mobile devices. That’s a significant strain on the eyes. Utilize your on-hold messaging to inform patients on how they can reduce eye strain by trying the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from digital devices and focus 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
- Promote Eye-Healthy Foods – Healthy Vision Month is also a great time to encourage patients to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to their diet – especially dark leafy greens, like spinach or kale – all great foods for keeping eyes healthy. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids – like salmon, tuna, and halibut – can also help protect your vision.
- Throw Some Shade – Give away a pair of designer sunglasses as part of a contest to promote the importance of protecting your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Promote the contest through social media and have patients like or share for a chance to win. You can also encourage patients to purchase sunglasses that block out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Survey Patients about Their Health Risk – Administering a health risk assessment survey to your patients can help them understand known risk factors to avoid potential vision problems in the future. It can also prevent them from worrying about unlikely threats. The important thing is to make it easy and convenient for them to submit their information.
With online health information becoming increasingly popular among patients, this is a great way to ensure that patients are getting reliable and trustworthy information from the right source. For more resources including articles, social media graphics and more, visit the National Eye Institute’s Healthy Vision Month website.