This is how you take dry eye treatment to a whole new level
DR. SHANE SWATTS and his wife – Dr. Leah Ramos – established Eastern Virginia Eye Associates (EVEA) in 2003. Until 2019, it was a traditional primary care medical practice. “We thought of ourselves as a ‘dry eye practice,'” Swatts says. “But we were doing the same things that all the other practices were doing. The thing is, we weren’t “specialists”, we just saw a lot of dry eye patients. So they decided to change that and the MedSpa was born.
“We felt like even with some of our most ‘advanced’ treatments, we weren’t really getting to the source of the problem, the root cause,” he says. “Our toolbox was full of tools, but not the tools we needed.” So, in early 2021, they introduced IPL, which “really gave us a different perspective on ocular surface disease as a whole.” With the introduction of IPL came an unexpected windfall; it wasn’t enough to understand the eyes, now Swatts and Ramos needed to understand and study the skin. “We were surprised to find that patients started noticing improvements not just in their dry eyes, but in the appearance of their skin,” he says. “The transition to aesthetics was smooth. We quickly learned that aesthetics not only involves providing treatments to improve the appearance of the skin, but, just as importantly, also involves educating our patients. »
Of EVEA’s total nine lanes, three are on a separate side of the desk, along with a separate dry eye testing area. One room serves as an assessment room with all the tools needed to perform a dry eye assessment, while the other two rooms are treatment rooms. They are designed to be relaxation areas with spa chairs, one dedicated to IPL and the other housing their NuEra radiofrequency and other procedures such as LipiFlow, iLux, ZEST, HydraFacials, etc. “During a normal day in our MedSpa, we talk to our patients about makeup, face creams, eyelashes, previous aesthetic procedures, nutrition and many other things that are essential to the developing a treatment plan,” says Swatts.
“We are in the process of hiring a medical director and a PA injector so that we can offer additional services,” he adds. “We didn’t originally plan to do this, but once the conversation around aesthetics comes into play, we find that the demand comes from patients. Patients regularly ask if we also provide other services – Botox, dermal fillers, dermaplaning, etc. – and although we currently do not, we would like to be able to offer this option to our patients. other professionals who will focus on aesthetics.”
The MedSpa program is separate from their primary care program to allow more time with each patient during the assessment process. Dr. Swatts and his wife now only see MedSpa patients on two days of patient care – with two spa technicians – allowing them to be active in running and growing their primary care and healthcare services. ‘optical. “Through…intelligent planning, we were able to step away from the daily routine of patient care and focus not only on specialist care, but also [growing] practice,” says Swatts.
And the primary care side of the business is a major source of patient referrals to the MedSpa. “Although a large percentage of our patients are referred by our primary care ODs, as the MedSpa has grown, we now receive many referrals from patients who have gone through the process, from local ophthalmology offices, as well as local dermatologists and aesthetic centers,” Swatts shares.
Do it yourself: Specialized in Ocular Aesthetics
- INQUIRE. Go beyond eye care to learn more about the impact nutrition, skin conditions, makeup and cosmetics can have on eye health and appearance.
- LISTEN… to your patients and their concerns. “When they mention bags or dark circles under their eyes, they ask you for help,” says Swatts
- FINDING SYNERGIES. Use products that match your mission. EVEA MedSpa offers nutraceuticals and Eyes are The Story, a science-based cosmetic company offering safe products for dry and sensitive eyes.
- PACK IT. Each patient treated at the MedSpa also purchases nutraceuticals, artificial tears, a heating mask, eye cleansers and a “rejuvenation kit” from a skin care line used in the office.
- KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Obey the laws set forth by your state’s Board of Optometry. “In our state, [ODs] are not allowed to pierce the skin or inject for cosmetic purposes,” clarifies Swatts.