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    Q&A: Katherine Schuetz, OD Optometrist at Little Eyes, Carmel, IN

    Pediatric optometry, daily disposables, and napping

     

    What do you do for downtime?

    I really enjoy my family, of course. I have two kids, so we enjoy lots of things with their sports and activities. I like to work out. I like to read, and I like a good nap. If I can get those three things on a regular basis, I am a happy camper.

    What was the biggest challenge starting up Little Eyes, and how did you meet it?

    Awareness. People don’t think about preventative care for their kids. They think about “Oh, my kid complained that the board is blurry, so I’m going to bring him in to the eye doctor.” Our marketing campaign, just like dentistry, has done such a wonderful job of “You have to keep those teeth your whole lifetime. Let’s make sure they’re developing the right way.” That’s been our main focus, letting people know that preventative eye care is just as important as your yearly checkup at the pediatrician or your twice a year visit to the dentist. The public awareness has been huge. The real boost in awareness has been schools, pediatricians, and day cares.

    What do you consider Little Eye’s best practices to be?

    An incredible dispensary; our optician is wonderful. We have a lot of outside of Rxs come to us because we have a huge selection of frames. You know that most offices have one or two boards of kids’ frames—we’ve got five times that. We have such a great selection that we can fit most kids. Our techs are really good. They’re fast and efficient, and they do a wonderful job at making the kids comfortable. In terms of the clinical stuff, one of the things that makes us stand out is our passion for myopia prevention. All these kids are coming in, and they’re getting worse every year. If we can talk to them about strategies to slow that down, that’s definitely something that makes us unique and is lots of fun.

    Related: Carla Mack, OD, MBA; Director of Professional and Clinical Support, for U.S. Vision Care at Alcon

    With both monthly and bi-weekly contact lenses available, why a daily disposables-only practice?

    The benefits with daily disposables are huge, especially with my pediatric population. Let’s be honest, kids are dirtier than we are because they get in the dirt, they’re outside, they’ve got friends who still pick their noses. There are a multitude of valid reasons why these kids should not be reusing their contact lenses, even with the best hygiene. It just makes a lot of sense for them to be in daily disposables; they reduce the risks so, so much. They patients enjoy the convenience. But the main purpose is to reduce the risk of contact lens-related complications.

    Why did you add orthokeratology, and how has it changed your practice?

    We added it because we knew the need was there in terms of myopia prevention. We also have a ripe practice population for ortho-k. It’s kids who are getting worse, we’re trying to slow that down, and they’re motivated to try other things. Their parents have been near-sighted themselves—they know what it’s like to be a -7.00D, and they don’t want their kid to be a -7.00 D. I had referred a few patients out over the first couple of years to a colleague locally, and I thought, “This is crazy, I need to learn ortho-k, I need to become an expert and offer it to my patients.” And that’s what we did.

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