Familiarity with tools, treatments eases transition to aesthetics for ophthalmologists

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For ophthalmologists, crossing the bridge over to aesthetics is not that big of a jump because of the familiarity many have with the tools and treatments used in non-surgical cosmetic procedures, according to a presentation at the AAO 2020 Virtual Oculofacial Plastic Surgery Subspecialty Day by Wendy W Lee, MD.

According to the ASAPS, non-surgical cosmetic procedures greatly outnumber the amount of surgical cosmetic procedures done each year. Within that, botulinum toxin is the most performed non-surgical cosmetic procedure by far.

Most ophthalmologists are familiar with botulinum toxin as it has several clinical uses in ophthalmology. In the realm of aesthetic treatment, botulinum toxin is most commonly used in the upper face region, to decrease muscle action all within the periocular region.

“Ophthalmologists are particularly equipped to treat this region because we know the anatomy and we know the nuances of treating in this area,” said Dr Lee.

Ophthalmologists also have experience using many of the tools used in non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including lasers, lights, radiofrequency, and ultrasounds.

Getting Started in Aesthetics

Dr Lee said that education is the first step to adding aesthetics to an ophthalmology practice. In addition to a plethora of written material, there are a great number of multispecialty aesthetic meetings.

When applicable, Dr Lee also suggests ophthalmologists should train and treat their current staff. Not only does this allow for great follow-up, since you will see them every day, but it also allows the staff to have first-hand experience with the procedure that will be useful when talking with prospective patients.

The next step Dr Lee suggests is setting up accounts with aesthetic industries. Many companies will send experts in to do training and provide practice management counselors and promotional material.

Finally, Dr Lee emphasized the importance of creating a please office environment.

“With the aesthetic practice, there is so much competition out there. Your patient is paying a premium and if someone next door has the comfy couch and the nice spa music where you have an office that has no parking and is dingy, they’re going to choose the other one,” she said.

Lee WW, et al. A Wrinkle in the Plan: Aesthetics – Beauty in the Beholder of the Eye: Adding  Aesthetics to an Ophthalmology Practice. Presented at: AAO 2020 Virtual.

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