In recent years, health and wellness has been a growing trend in society. People are generally trying to live healthier lives, and that leaves an opportunity for optometry. Scott Huffer, OD, FAAO, believes he has a way to capitalize on this opportunity: eye health nutraceuticals.
In an article published in Review of Optometric Business (1), Dr. Huffer wrote that nutraceuticals “send a message of wellness to patients.” Every day, at least one patient asks him if they should be taking an eye health supplement of some kind. With this demand, he decided to incorporate eye health nutraceuticals in his Nashua, NH office, and he has some advice for those thinking about integrating nutraceuticals into their practices.
1. Know the Nutraceutical Provider
When it comes to choosing a nutraceutical provider, it is important to consider the highest quality ingredients and variety of products. As a business owner, price is also an important factor. Huffer chose to offer EyePromise® in his practice because “it offers a good family of products at a competitive price.” Every product is backed with a 60-day, money-back guarantee for patients and manufactured to the exacting standards of the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). These regulations define standards and require compliance regarding ingredient identity, strength, purity, and composition.
All products undergo NSF accredited third-party certification, meaning that every aspect of production is regularly and rigorously tested for quality, safety, and performance. Some products also carry the NSF certification for sport, an entirely separate, stringent testing process approved by major athletic associations to verify label claims against product contents. With these processes, plus random plant inspections, Huffer is confident in EyePromise’s quality and ingredients.
2. Know the Product and Its Benefits
“It is important to look over the research and determine what you think is best for your patients,” Dr. Huffer said. He chose to sell EyePromise EZ Tears™ occasional dry eye supplements and AREDS 2 Plus formulation vitamins. Omega-3 supplementation has been shown to dramatically improve occasional dry eye, and EZ Tears has the necessary amounts of EPA and DHA to make this dramatic impact. Through the Ocular Nutrition’s Impact on Tear Film (2) study, the ingredients in EZ Tears have been proven to relieve symptoms in as little as one week, with over 80% of participants showing improvement in 4 weeks.
The AREDS 2 Plus formula has been shown to improve age-related eye health issues and visual function. The lesser-quality macular health nutraceuticals don’t contain enough zeaxanthin or lutein, or may have too much of other ingredients like zinc. EyePromise AREDS 2 Plus Multi-Vitamin has the ingredients outlined in the study, plus other nutrients proven to support eye and overall health; and AREDS 2 Plus Zinc-Free covers the patient population that wants to avoid zinc in his or her diet.
“I have had several patients with [age-related eye health concerns] report improved vision since switching to [EyePromise] supplements.”
3. Provide the Products In-House
Once you’ve chosen a nutraceutical company, you must decide if you want to house the supplements in-practice or send patients to get them on their own. Like Robert L. Davis, OD, FAAO, in the March post Why You Should Start Dispensing Nutraceuticals In-Practice, Dr. Huffer decided to keep EyePromise in stock.
“Rather than sending your patients on a scavenger hunt for the products you have prescribed, you can offer them the chance to buy it all before leaving your office. This offers convenience.”
Huffer stresses that vitamins bought in a drug store may not have the same quality or ingredient amounts as the products you choose to provide. Having it in the office not only creates convenience, but it guarantees patients get the nutrition they need and may lead to more positive results. But it’s important to prescribe, not just provide. Patients are more likely to continue their supplement regimen if it’s addressed like a prescription rather than a daily vitamin.
Keeping nutraceuticals in-practice has business benefits, too. Profitability can increase by selling supplements. Huffer’s practice sold $2,800 worth of nutraceuticals in May of 2017 alone, and he estimates the practice earns a net revenue of nearly $13,400 a year. He says his referrals have risen over the years, as well.
“A happily treated [occasional] dry eye patient will tell many friends to visit your practice. A patient switched to a better macular supplement, who notices improved vision, also will send in other patients.”
Dr. Huffer is among many ODs choosing to create an atmosphere of wellness in his practice. Incorporating EyePromise nutraceuticals in-practice has not only added to this wellness-focused environment, but it has led to great success for both Huffer’s patients and his practice. Visit http://www.eyepromise.com/doctors/products/ to learn more about the variety of products EyePromise offers and how each can make a difference in your patients’ eye health.
- Huffer, OD Scott. “Nutraceuticals: Expand Offerings and Build Revenues.” Review of Optometric Business. Review of Optometric Business, 11 July 2017. Web. 16 July 2017.
- Mulqueeny SP, Davis RL, Townsend WD, Koffler BH (2015) The ONIT Study–Ocular Nutrition Impact on Tear Film. Adv Ophthalmol Vis Syst 2(2): 00038. DOI: 10.15406/aovs.2015.02.00038