In this video interview, Dr. Josh Johnston talks what you need to know about dry eye disease.
Dr. Josh Johnston is in a unique position: he is both a clinical director in an integrated MD-OD group and founder of Oculus Consulting.
In the latter capacity, Dr. Johnston has been helping optometrists to enter the field of dry-eye specialization, a field in which he has about ten years of clinical experience. As such, he is uniquely suited to give advice to optometrists hoping to gain a foothold in this area.
Dr. Johnston graduated school in 2004. “Back then, dry-eye wasn’t as cool as it is now, and so for the first four years of my career, I didn’t like dry eye. I would hand patients three or four boxes of tears, say ‘we’ll see you back in a year,’ and just sort of ignored it. So I sort of fell into this by accident.”
It’s a particularly exciting field for him because the nature of dry-eye as a condition requires a dynamic approach to treatment. “There’s no cure. It’s multi-factorial – every patient’s different. We often times have to do many different therapeutics to help these patients, so you don’t get bored.”
So, tips does Dr. Johnston have for optometrists hoping to develop a specialization in this area?
Most importantly, he emphasizes, one must have a successful marketing approach. He uses his own practice as an example: his group bought domain names in and around Atlanta and had those domain names redirect to the group’s web site. As a result, if patients google “dry eye Atlanta” they will encounter this site, which lists all the treatments their practice offers. His practice is now doing Facebook ads, as well as Facebook live.
He’s found that digital marketing and social media are critical to success in this context. The payoff of a successful digital marketing approach is great compared to the relatively small amount of energy and time that’s required to put together such an approach.
Dr. Johnston also believes that optometric advocacy is something all optometrists should care about if they value their long-term professional success.. Since the legislative and political context varies greatly from region to region, he recommends that people maintain involvement with statewide advocacy organizations that address more local concerns. “We need to make sure we keep our scope laws intact so we can offer patients every level of care we think is fit.”