Chris Bennett: Building a passion to be special
Author: Chris Bennett
Passion is never hard to find in optics. It’s the kind of emotion that accompanies a vocation characterised by people planning for the long term and building firm foundations.
That’s rather out of vogue these days where constant change has led people down the path of short term thinking and chasing the fast buck, but long term thinking doesn’t have to be costly.
Speciality contact lenses is one area of passion. Contamac is building an interesting resource in specialitysight.com and the drive was added to this week with the inaugural Speciality Club. This meeting brought together 60 or so like-minded practitioners to discuss the finer end of the contact lens market. Menicon, UltraVision, Synergeyes and Contamac were gathered together by the indefatigable Nick Atkins of Positive Impact to talk about sclerals, hybrids and tailor-lathed SiHy lenses.
The exciting messages coming out weren’t just that specialist lenses can keep dry-eyed, astigmatic presbyopes in contact lenses or that contact lenses can be employed to control the myopia of the next generation, but that the business models underpinning both these avenues were sound and prescient.
One criticism I would have is the choice of word ‘specialist’. Yes, the lenses are specialist but the meeting didn’t have the tenor of a clinical gathering. The delegates, including two who had travelled from Spain, were dedicated optical professionals caring for patients, selling products and paying their mortgages. Many of the products, Ortho-k is perhaps the best example, have been around for long enough to have been perfected by suppliers and the support mechanisms for practitioners put in place.
The Optician Award Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year, Leightons’ Indie Grewal, gave a keynote talk and stands as an example of how it can be done. When it comes to areas such as myopia control the patients are literally ready and waiting.