Our top-performing blog posts offered some insights
We may have survived the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the wide range of health impacts continue to be seen. This past year, our readers were especially concerned with children’s vision, helping patients cope with stress and misinformation, as well as trends and strategies to make their practices’ day-to-day more efficient. Read on to find out what topics were most popular on our blog in 2022, and whether some of the information and tips below could help your practice in 2023.
A growing focus on children’s eye health
Online learning and a significant increase in digital device use during the pandemic contributed to a number of eye and vision issues in children, including an increase in myopia, digital eye strain and dry eye disease. We offered several practical tips for parents and young patients, including those related to lighting and simple eye exercises.
An increase in device use, a decrease in school screenings and a more diverse U.S. population have implications for children’s eye health.
The increase in screen use meant that back-to-school eye exams were even more important than they have been in the past. First, the shift to online learning caused many students to miss these annual exams, and second, many parents did not realize that school screenings were not always sufficient for diagnosing vision problems in children. In fact, parents should be aware that school vision screenings miss up to 75% of children with vision problems and give less than 4% of the information provided by a comprehensive eye exam by an eye care professional, according to the American Optometric Association.
During Child Vision Awareness month, our readers were also interested to read about how the multiracial population in the U.S. grew 276% over the last decade – important, given that Black, Hispanic and Asian children have higher incidences of refractive errors.
Increasing opportunities to serve certain patient populations
Our readers also wanted to know what the future of optometry has in store. In addition to the pandemic-related issues discussed above, an aging population and increase in chronic disease rates offer both challenges and opportunities for eye care providers.
Rising rates of myopia, dry eye and chronic disease mean more challenges but also new opportunities for eye care providers.
The increase in myopia and dry eye will likely lead to a rise in specialty optometric practices focused on those patient populations, and the shift toward virtual care is not going anywhere. In fact, many eye care practices have found that telehealth and/or hybrid appointment models allow them to better serve their patients, reduce no-shows and even increase conversions.
However, eye doctors must first clear up common eye health misconceptions many patients have, such as, “I don’t need an eye exam if my vision is fine,” or “Glasses are my only option to improve my vision.”
Tech trends and tips to help your practice
Last year’s 3 Key Trends for Eye Care Professionals will certainly carry forward into 2023, particularly Trend #1: Attracting new patients to sustain profits. In our post, SEO Tips for Medical Practices, we explained how understanding how patients find your website and what they find there can build trust, improve patients’ understanding and encourage conversions, such as signing up for your newsletter or scheduling an appointment.
Boosting your website’s SEO and leveraging technology are great ways to attract new patients and better serve your existing ones.
Our readers were also interested in how to leverage technology in their practices, from their website to their waiting rooms to the exam lane. Our popular post, 8 Tech Tips for Eye Doctors, offered actionable steps you can take today – including some that take only a few minutes.
Lastly, the ongoing popularity of this post shows us a free, simple and remarkably effective way to beat burnout, boost employee engagement and feel better in 2023: The Important Role Gratitude Plays in Health Care.