TryNot2Blink explores Castellano’s Eye Candy Eyewear and Ken DauSchmidt’s TearRestore. This episode is exciting, discussing COVID-19, dry eye health, and more! Now, you can enjoy the podcast right here on this blog.
Welcome to try not to Blink a podcast about the ups and downs, ins and outs, news, tips and tricks of those who live the optometry lifestyle. We'd like to thank the amazing people at Valley contacts who have made this podcast possible by making incredible custom stable scleral lens. In case you're wondering, I'm on the East Coast. My name is Doctor James Diem, and I am joined by my talented cohost reppin the West Coast Dr Roya Habibi. What is, uh, Roya?
Nothing exciting at all, Jimmy living, it's spring break.
Relaxing and chilling outside with your open eye warm compress from TearRestore, is that what you're doing?
I mean, I might as well. Isn't it unfair that as adults we don't get holidays like we used to like spring break, summer break?
I took a holiday a little while ago and I didn't say anything about it because, you know, you can't go anywhere right now and be happy about it. You can't share it with people, you can't put pictures on Facebook and show other people where you went. It's this big secret. Anyway, I took a little holiday. I went somewhere nice and it was warm and tropical and we had an absolute blast. It was, it was absolutely fantastic and so yeah, it is sad you can't even take a holiday and experience it, you know. You can't even shove it in other people's faces. It's really sad.
True, though it is a little shameful. I'd say first of all, you and I and your family have been vaccinated, so I think that's contributing to what is allowing the economy to reopen and preventing the spread of the C word (Covid-19), but I think there is a point where we need to say that I respect what's happening, but I also want to a have peace of mind, be relaxed and encourage our economy.
Yeah, you can't just be afraid all the time, and that doesn't mean you don't respect the rules, but I don't think you should be afraid to travel. So long as you're safe and you know following social distancing guidelines, do what you want to.
I want to be normal or adapt to this “new normal” doesn't mean be afraid and stay inside your house all time, right?
No, no it doesn't. But things are moving in the right direction we've talked about, you know, vaccines, and new vaccines, and numbers going down, so life is good. It's spring, birds are chirping.
Can you believe what a year it's been?
Total panic. We didn’t talk to people and didn't even look at people. I mean we live in a little neighborhood with like 10 houses. And you wouldn't even like, you know.
I remember we just moved in to our development, our house. We just built this House and we literally just moved in. We were here for like a week and I remember my neighbor like came over. They wanted to give us something. And I thought, did they throw it at me there? You know, they didn’t want to get too close. They threw me this bottle of wine. They set it on the ground, and then walked away you know like yeah this is for you. It was so nice of them, but as you know, there are just things I'll never forget.
Never ever, ever, ever and feelings I'll never forget it. It'll and I, I hope it never happens again, but.
You know those feelings I think are so unique that I'll never forget them.
I agree, it is a really weird feeling to think about. I was laid off from my job that I thought was secure. I thought being in healthcare was a secure job that I would never lose and I had no job and no idea on what to do next even though I know I have built myself a little reputation. I know I'm a good doctor, but it was a really weird situation.
Also, it was weird to think that you were scared and I was sanitizing, how much? I mean, I still now sanitize. I was thinking about this the other day, how much I cleaned the room between patients. And I was thinking like, why didn't I do that before? It’s really not that bad. I always wiped the phoropter down. I always wiped the slit lamp down, but I didn't wipe the chair.
I didn't always wipe everything down, but now I'm kind of like, why wouldn’t I? Now it's not that bad. It's not that hard, kind of makes sense, right?
It's not that hard.
I don't get sick anymore, like why didn't I wipe down the airplane chair, and all the stuff on airplanes. We all know the airplanes were always gross. Now it's just obvious why wouldn't we?
A really exciting conversation you know, moving forward, thinking about new things, thinking about the things that we like, and we've got some special guests here too.
Be normal. Talk to us about it. There are very few things that come in wrappers or little tiny boxes, or that don't have warnings from my local dentist that I don't like and so we were of course talking about some of these things.
Roy and I talked offline about our favorite candy and knew of someone who knew someone who took all of the worlds of candy and sweets and all things eyes and put them together. We are of course talking about Doctor Castellanoz and she is in practice in Florida and we are really excited to have her here tonight along with Ken DauSchmidt, and I probably said that wrong even though I’ve said his name several times before, and he's been on the podcast several times, also representing TearRestore. A fantastic new product that we are going to talk a little bit more about this evening helping with meibomian gland dysfunction.
You ready to bring these two guys and gals?
What do you think?
So, Jimmy made a stretch of a correlation here. But there is a reason for everything he said.
Makes sense. And we're about to let you know why.
So, as Jimmy mentioned, GYN Doctor Cassiano is joining us tonight as our extra honorable guest. She's pretty awesome in that she's done some pretty cool unique outside of the box. Things such as, not only starting a practice infinite vision eyecare five years ago, but also launched another unique practice eye candy, as he mentioned, where she pairs eyewear with sweets.
I love it. And I have like 17 sweet teeth, so I really appreciate this and so we want to go into this more.
She is also in the process of starting another project called the Chiasm, that we are going to go into as well.
I want to know and so do all of our guests a little bit more about you.
And Ken, Ken, you're here.
Kens here too.
Again, he is the leader, the owner, the thought, the brains and the brawn behind TearRestore. Of course, you know revolutionary meibomian gland dysfunction treatment. The open eye warm compress if you will, and so we're going to circle back to Ken, but Doctor Castiano's, where did you go to school? Where did you go to optometry school?
I went to Nova Southeastern University. I didn't want to leave Florida; I like the weather.
Most Floridians never leave Florida, I feel.
Also, the great culture and Hispanic population.
Most Pennsylvanians never leave Florida.
That's I mean, we're trying to keep people out and people keep coming in.
Oh my gosh. So, what part of Florida are you originally from?
I'm from Hialeah, FL. It's like little Cuba.
It's really close to Miami
OK. So, you said about the Hispanic culture and so forth. So can you expand upon that a little? What is your connection to Hispanic culture? What is your ethnicity?
Well, my parents are both Cuban. They came here at a very young age 13 and seven and I do have some Spaniard blood, but I grew up pretty much in a Hispanic community where people, maybe I would say 80% only speak Spanish. So, I am fluent. I think I do an eye exam better in Spanish than I do in English, honestly. One of the things about my culture is that we love sweets. I will take a strudel at any time, and so I think that that's where some of my passion and love for candy and chocolate came out.
Maybe I'm maybe I'm Hispanic too.
Maybe we all have a little Hispanic inside of us. I feel like I have that problem also.
Do 23andme, you might. You might find out.
Cool, so this is something that's been bred within you if you will, that's just always been part of your culture. Part of how you celebrate. Part of how you do things.
Right, but people always ask things like how did I come up with this idea like, Uhm, the reason why I came up with I candy was because I wanted a unique office.
There is an optometry practice in every corner. I wanted people to pass by my store and be intrigued. I mean, who doesn't like candy? And if they don't like candy, they're not my patient, they need to go somewhere else. I was talking to Ken earlier and I said, you know, I was at Costco. And you see people enjoying buying food. They just, I mean. They love holidays because of the food. And I said, people usually don't think twice you know, when they have to purchase a food item. But when they have to purchase eyewear, it's daunting like oh gosh, I have to make this commitment. I have to spend. all this money, so I wanted something that people could pass by and be intrigued by and be like a candy store. And then, we're like what was your last eye exam? What is your insurance? and you know not entirely like that, but we try to really bring in the patient in a warm environment, we greet them. We allow them to feel like they could just purchase something that's a few dollars versus $500 and still be part of our clients. And when they're ready, we're going to be there to serve them with their eye care needs, whether that's having a sweet experience, which I call in my exam, whether they're just coming in for a rice crispy treat with my brand on it or where they're coming in for us to treat them. Is that a visual field or they may be coming in just for our dry eye treatment or myopic control. But we really want them to come in and feel like they're having this wonderful experience and they're building this memory that it's a unique memory and that they know that they're welcome to come there whenever they like. You know, just for a small purchase or big one.
So, you started infinite vision. Are there like it's two separate entities, different locations or do you go to one place for your eye exam? Or can you take exams at both locations?
For me, I had the choice of expanding, which I couldn't. The only way I could expand is a few miles down and I retargeted myself to a different population in the area. Uhm, that store sees a lot of people from our town, which is a different population. They have a little bit more income and more education and then my other office is pretty much a Medicaid Medicare office that was built organically through referral. And that office is a more budget friendly location, but both of them. We do treat, you know, we do treat a lot of dry eyes there. We focus on myopic control and somehow or another we focus on a lot of Pediatrics. Pediatrics found me. I always say, talking about new practices and you know, being a new practitioner, what are ways aside from, you know, a totally new you know, eye candy practice, how do you stand out?
You sort of mentioned providing new services kids came to you, but like what are ways you try and get outside the box a little bit for providing care and also getting referrals organically even.
I think that every eye doctor needs to sit down and evaluate who they are and who they want to treat, and then find a niche we can't be good at everything, I mean. Damn it. Maybe you can. I really try. I do try damn it. There's nothing.
Alright continue sorry.
Do you have a niche? We're going to make sure everybody here has a niche. I got a couple of niches anyway, maybe I'll inspire you to have your own.
I think it's a candy store. Now after this I am so ready to make one. I know we're going off topic, but that's one of my ideas to franchise that store, but where everybody stays as an independent optometrist, not like a vision source.
It's a great idea.
Just where you get the business plan, the business brand, and we get to the market together. Let's talk offline. I love it.
So going back to niches. I think that we have to realize that we should have a niche and we should focus on treating the patient, making the experience awesome for that patient. The patient needs to see you as a doctor. If not, they're just going to go anywhere and think you're just a riff raff. And then why not just get a digital eye exam?
So, by you finding your niche then you find the right products to bring into your practice.
From what I'm deducing, you're in an area that is saturated from what you're saying, right? You got a lot of competition.
I mean, I don't. I don't know. I don't really know Florida to be honest, I've gone a couple times and I don't really know it but I know, you know, I know there's lots of folks there. You know, there's lots of people that go back and forth, a lot of people snowbird down there from our area. But you know, I've always heard there's lots of doctors there.
I've always heard that and, and you're saying that as well?
So, one of the things that you just said I thought was very interesting.
He said they'll just go get a digital eye exam or digital refraction or digital or whatever. I know it's a thing, but it's really not a thing by me.
Yeah, and I'm not saying that it won't be.
It will be. I'm sure it will be and you know, but I think it's good for our listeners to hear that. You know this is this is part of, you know, competition. If you will not that we need to lower our standards to meet you know where that's at, but I'd like to hear why that is something that you mentioned.
Is that something you hear patients talk to you about?
Why is it that you mentioned that?
So, in our area, there's some patients that come from other countries where exams do not exist and dilation does not exist, so those patients are more drawn to digital eye exams because they don't. They're not educated on what a real eye exam is. So, I feel like you have one chance that that patient walks into your door that day and you have the power to teach him what a true eye exam experience is and what could you do for that patient if you don't know that there's something wrong with it. So, we have to ensure that the patients understand the importance of preventive care and educate them on the importance of a yearly or even more. Like I tell my patients just because your insurance covers one time doesn't mean you don't need an eye exam sooner than that is so I think that for us to change the world, we have to change ourselves.
It's almost like the insurance plans everybody wants to fight against the insurance plan. Look at the insurance plans and marketing strategy. Love it. Bring them into your chair, then you get to do what you want with them. You know you have to prove yourself to all your patients. That's what I say all the time. I say I'm going to get you in my chair and I'm going to do what I want with you. But like one time somebody heard me say that and they kind of looked at me like a little bit crooked eyed and I'm like no I mean, like you know, myopia. Control dry eye treatment. I don't know why they gave me that look, but anyway.
Well, they remembered you, that's for sure. They also look out there like window checking to make sure no one else has it.
Yeah, they talked about finding your niche, your passion, you know, stand out all these things you talked about Pediatrics and you have sort of like a boutique practice. I think from the outside you know some doctors, some colleagues of ours might look and say, well, that's not really medical practice. They probably don't do a lot of dry eyes there. They probably don't have glaucoma. They probably you know that's a that's sort of like a retail type situation, even though it's not. Probably condescending, you know idiot colleagues of ours would say.
Clearly that's not the case because you excel in all of these areas and it's part of the reason why you have become so successful and built a following, but I'd like to hear specifically what dry eye means to you and how it is that you incorporate that into these different areas. In particular, you know the pediatric side of things you talked about that. And you know, just in general so please tell me about that. It's funny that you bring this up because I do sometimes have patients finding me through other places like insurance or referred by another patient and they call me and they're right in front of my store but say they can’t find my shop, even though it says really big eye candy, I mean eye exams. So, I think that it's important for marketing to come in place and reputation, no matter what the place looks like.
Yeah, amazing staff and amazing people.
Then the person will understand that you are a doctor. I do dress in my white coat when the patient comes in. We'd let them know that we do that care. I think it's really the way that you explain things to your patient, but I could see that now.
You were asking about the dry eye center, how we go ahead and we put that into our practice. We have two practices that are very close and what's great is we have two different doctors. Actually, we have three and each of us specializes in different things, so sometimes we within our practice tell the patient I have another associate that loves dry eyes she loves expressing the glands. I’m good at it but she's awesome at it and we move the patient to the other location. That's where we set up all our equipment, you know, retail spaces are very expensive. Real estate is expensive, so having the proper setup is important, and having that transition with that patient is important and our patients sometimes love it. When we refer them to someone else or feel wow, I'm getting the good one in the practice.
I think we've talked about this in many different episodes, but I think as optometrists we're kind of bad at referring to other optometrists like we're it's so easy to be like oh you have cataracts. You need to go see a cataract surgeon. But why don't we send two other fellow optometrists for? But let's say I don't like to do myopia control, why don't I send it to one of my fellow neighbor optometrists that does Or I don't really love treating dry eye, why don't I send it to one of my neighbors or fellow optometrists that I think does? They'll come back to me for their normal care if I'm providing great care, but send it to someone who you know actually likes it so that they will get the best care. The chiasm is built on those fundamentals to not only refer to all of these. Oh, I'm going to refer to the ophthalmologist. Stop, take a few seconds.
Is there an optometrist nearby that you have built a good relationship with that you know that you could refer that patient, that dry eye patient and help that doctor build their dry eye practice, but also help that patient get the right person, instead of always just sending the patient to a specialist that might not send that patient back to you and you know what I think it is.
To be honest with you, I used to work with an ophthalmologist for two years and people would send me patients because I was under the umbrella of an ophthalmologist and you know it's not the same. We have too big of eagles and everybody needs to realize that just because you're not specializing in squirrels or I don't really care to remove a foreign body doesn't mean you're not a good doctor, you have to look at and say I'm really good at this and I'm going to do what's great for my patient and I'm going to get my patient back because I'm sending the patient to the right place and that person. I took time and I built a relationship and it's going to send me the patient back when it's appropriate. But we don't realize that we're just going to keep wheeling, dealing, and destroying my profession.
Quickly about the chiasm. What's the chiasm all about?
So, the chiasm is a digital referral platform and a network, and so what that means is instead of sending our referrals through that old fax machine, we're going to be sending them through a digital referral platform, and what that does is it connects doctors to doctors. Whether it's an oldie to an oldie, an oldie to an MD or PCP or pediatrician, and pretty much is creating a synergistic connection between all doctors where we're going, you're going to send the referral, receive referrals. You could track and you could coordinate and you get medical records back. One of the other things we're doing is we're providing vendor discounts on that platform, which TearRestore is participating on that platform, and they're giving all our members a free discount on a starter set. So, if they visit their website, they could find the discount.
Very cool. It's awesome. That's a really great idea.
I mean, there's so many times you know I'm with a patient and I'm like, you know, I'm going to get you hooked up with this doctor and you know, I know them and we'll call right now or shoot him a text and you know, I, I do that and they're like, yeah. Three months you know, and I'm all set because you can't get through the wall at the front or you don't get in touch with the doctor you know right away or whatever the case may be. But yeah, it would be nice to have a direct connection and or you know connection to somebody that can help, but I, I think it's a fantastic idea and I hope to see it continue to grow. I'd love to be part of it so you know, keep me in mind and you know follow me on social media.
Let's hear it, what are your handles?
The chiasm, I’m also on linked in. It's a very unique word, so I don't think you're going to find a lot of them.
I love it.
What's your tik T.O.K name?
I don’t have it.
OK, we need to get you on.
Tik T.O.K, that's very important.
All right, so we want to get to some discussion about how you started to utilize a particular dry eye treatment in your office. We you know Ken was very gracious to be on our podcast. You know, a few months ago they told us all about you know the new TearRestore device that they have gotten onto the market, lots of early adopters were using it at that point. Some early data from some study and I think it's from some studies and I think there's some data to share tonight that's even a little more robust and powerful, but I'd like to just hear from you in a private practice setting relatively diverse practice, lots of different things that you're doing, and how it fit into your practice and why you adopted it. So, one of the doctors that works meet loves dry ice so we started building our dry eye practice and the first thing we did was we researched products that we liked and supplements and we started educating each other on which ones we wanted to do in selecting them. We created first we have a mild, moderate and severe dry eye package when the patient comes in, they have a questionnaire, and then we exam. Once we examine them, we find you know we combine their symptoms and their findings and we discuss our treatment. The most important thing is the education that goes into this between you and your patient. It doesn't matter. You did in the exam. If you do not explain to your patient what you found and how, your patient is going to lose the treatment and insurance is not going to come back, so we really sit down and we educate our patient at that moment. This is your treatment plan. We believe mild, moderate or severe is a treatment plan for you. I recommend a dry ice ball and we're going to go ahead and we're going to do a 10-minute treatment to heat up your lids so that you're going to feel so much better. Afterwards, we're going to clean the lid margin so we actually bring the patient back into the room, and we do a deep cleaning. We call it a deep lid cleaning at the dry ice ball and then the patient at that point has the option to come back for another treatment or purchase the two TearRestore sets. There are also our other packages that we have.
So, when you do the heat, you actually use the TearRestore device, is that correct?
That's correct, so we have it set up in a certain spot. Either the doctor does it, or the technician depends on how busy we are that day, and the patient follows and sometimes we have had a patient come back.
Do you have a cushy little chair?
That's a great idea.
Or is this an exam room or how do you do this work with Clint?
Well, I wish I had a nice room that I could put like a cool song like blinded by the light. But I don't have the space for that, so we have two exam lanes right now we have it in one exam lane. I would like to get another one in the other exam lane and then and that's an infinite vision and the other practice we we're still looking for a space is a very small practice.
Yeah, cool but I love the demo like it's you're doing two things.You're treating the patient, but it's also sort of like a demo. Hey, you should get this so patient's kind of know Ken.
I'd be interested in hearing your interaction. So, what is your title? I'm sorry, Ken, I said you were, you know all things extraordinary, but what is your actual title?
Yeah, I'm co-founder and CEO of TearRestore. Happy to be back on, thanks for having me.
Absolutely, we appreciate you joining us tonight so he is in fact the big cheese at TearRestore and we are happy that you're here. So, have you heard anyone else doing anything like Doctor Castellanos in this sort of like treatment or demo option or is that like you heard her doing that and it's like, oh, that's brilliant. We should tell other people about that.
Yeah, I mean so we've, you know, like we talked about before, just launched in October of 2020 and one of our goals as a company is to work with optometrists and ODS and to build out their dry eye practices. So we've been talking to ODS the whole time and it actually came about where a lot of the ODS and innovative ones like Doctor Castellanos was we're doing this in office as a procedure and we're like, well we should probably lean into that and offer it a package to them so that they can do that, and then they can also offer one to their patient at home. So that's really what you know inspired it, to take a step back for all of our listeners who didn't listen to our last episode, which shame on them but obviously, just as a reminder, the TearRestore product that we're mentioning is a warm compress mask. It's a really cool superheroesque mask that allows your eyes to be open and definitely a super hero. Very easy heating device. Let's call it a mask that you wear underneath that heats the eye with an open eye to the exact temperature that helps melt meibomian glands. Then you think, oh well, it's not touching the glands. Why would that matter? Don't the eyelids need to be closed? Et cetera, et cetera.
But you guys have some study information, kind of a more formal study you've recently completed at University of Colorado. Do you want to share a little of those outcomes?
Unfortunately, we haven't finished that study yet, so yes.
COVID delayed us throughout basically, the whole winter, so we're back up and enrolling in that study, but so far, we just have pilots, but the pilots are very promising. We have a 30% improvement in lipid layer thickness objectively and then we have a 40% improvement in symptoms on a modified speed survey, so and then, in addition you were talking about the heat content contact and we've done thermal imaging to show that we are getting to the lid margin and heating up the correct spots on the on the eye. I think that image that you provided us and we can we can, we will provide that image for you all to see was when I learned about it. You know the sort of like a-ha moment for me that wow OK you can actually have heat you know on or around the eyes, but not have it directly on the closed eye and still get heat where you want it to go. Then, I think the other thing I think about that is cool with this type of treatment is that we all know that the production of oil and the excretion of that oil onto the ocular surface. It occurs when we blink right, so when you have the mask on and you're doing what you're doing, and it's heating and loosening up those glands and you're blinking, you are excreting those glands and expressing those glands naturally. I tell my patients when they're using it to give good, meaningful blinks. Blink, I tell them. Blink with intention, feel the blink because that expresses the glands on their own, and you know, I think that obviously you can't do that when you're using a normal warm compress when your eyes are closed.
Is that dual functionality to an open heat that you don't get with a closed heat?
That, I think is pretty cool, so the heat is getting there and they have thermal imaging to prove it.
Go ahead Ken, I think you were going to say something.
Well, I think we're skimming over probably the biggest part of this, which is poor compliance.
So, I mean, what really inspired TearRestore in the 1st place was you tell someone to do a warm compress. You know, chances are they're not doing one.
You mean people don't listen to every word I say.
Hey, you know what, maybe they're lying to you? A washcloth doesn't help. So, with every story, you know, you can build it into your daily routine. They can make a cup of coffee, read a book in the evening, you know, do their daily activities while treating their eyes. Doctor Castellanos, what do you think about that seen that as far as compliance and what kind of feedback are you getting from patients?
That's why I like doing it in the office first, because you're proving to the patients that this product is great for them. They get to see the way they they're going to get to see the way they feel right after they use it, and they're going to learn the procedure to a lot of times we send things homes to patients and then they're like, oh my gosh, how? Do I do this so it's? Oh my God. That's another conversation, right? You got to know how to do it and really walking the patient through it right is the goal. How do you really feel about that? I'm just kidding. I'm going to circle this back. I like to think about this a lot, actually I think it's because when we were all in school, we were ashamed of the idea of industry and ashamed of the idea of being like a seller or like no like, uh, like you can't pick brands you can't this or that.
But why can't you?
I mean I'm not trying to say there's only one company that makes a good product of anything, right? There's a lot of good products but as a doctor, someone comes to you for advice and what they hope is going to be the best advice and that's your job. And if someone comes to you and says, what's the best warm compress mask that you think? And you tell them a washcloth, or what's the best you know lid cleanser and you tell them baby shampoo then I'm going to be honest, shame on you. OK, because there are better products and you should know. And if you just say oh there's a lot of good things, go find something. On Amazon, you're. Now setting your patient up. For failure, and they're going. To not trust you anymore. And you have to have it. Doesn't have to be there. I of course I'm going to say this in Ken's saying a brand is valuable to a patient. Obviously, it's ideal to say the best brand because that's what they trust you for. But if you don't say the best brand and they're not getting help from you, they're going to eventually find the next doctor. That's going to help them the right way, and they're going to get a good at recommendation. They’ll say we’ve all heard this, why hasn't anyone ever said this to me before? Is this new? Because all you needed to do was be given a recommendation I feel like. That's a soapbox I'd like to go on a lot, but just giving a recommendation of a brand that you believe in is all that the patient really wants. Instead of, Eric, go wash your lids in the shower with your soap. Tell them something that's actually has clinical data that's proven just like you would say. Like latanoprost is proven to lower your IOP by 30% per XY&Z study, you do the same thing with other treatments. There's no reason why, just because there's a manufacturer behind it. That we should not say something not, say, a brand that we believe in. There's a manufacturer behind everything, and where do you find it and what injuries do you find? If there's not a sales person because even in the hospitals, you're getting charged this evening you just don't see the bill at the end. You don't even have a choice when you go to the hospital. At least when the patients come to your chair, you give them the options and they have a choice. But if you don't give them the options, then how are? They are going to make the right choice. Yes, absolutely can.
Can you walk through the TearRestore process? You know journey if you will as a patient, can you just walk through? You know, so folks that are listening, especially for the first time they can visualize.
I can you walk through. You know, sort of some of the science behind it and how you do it and. Yeah for sure. First of all, patients can get it at www.TearRestore.com or we're trying to partner with doctors and we have a lot of small wholesale options and great wholesale prices. Of course, that's where optometrists buy and sell through their office. But once the patient gets their product, they're going to open it up, and they have two heat packs. But then within the box that we send them, what they're going to do is simply snap a little button within there and that's going to flip it from a liquid into a solid and give off the predetermined heat for a minimum of 10 minutes at a therapeutic level. What they do with that is they put it into their mask and slide it over their face, tighten up the sides, and they can continue their daily routine and then at the end you know they've got two days' worth with that and then they can reactivate both heat packs together by boiling some water.
See easy as that.
Easy peasy. When you reactivate it, what happens? So, reactivating it is boiling it in water, and so that turns it from a solid back into a liquid. And then it's going to stay at that liquid state until you re agitate it by clicking that button again. And then it turns into a solid, gets nice and warm, fills in the space between the mask and the face. Place and it applies, it is unique and it is simple. But I think yeah, it does take a couple seconds. Just say this is kind of the thing we're doing is I even got a little confused? You know initially and you know was like oh I'm heating it up and then I put it on and we're good to go like you know you, you get this. Really neat first try. Then you click the button and then it does this really cool magical chemical thing and it gets warm and you put it in the and then it heats it up every time you use it. But that's not how you do it. You heat it up to reset it and you use that little magic button to use it every single time so you can get more inserts.
You were saying some folks get several extra inserts. You know if they want to have, for instance, enough to go like the entire week?
Exactly, yep, so it depends on the patient, but they can get extra heat packs to do it once a week and reactivate them all. Otherwise, the heat packs last 60 to 90 uses, so about every three months you know they're either going to come back to you for a dry eye follow up and be able to purchase more heat packs or you can refer them to our online store as well, where you can set up an affiliate account and we can give you credit for those as well.
I believe that we have a special offer right for our listeners here this evening, so we're going to be talking about you know TearRestore for a couple of episodes here coming up, so you'll hear us chit chatting a little bit more about it and I believe they're going to be doing some pretty cool stuff at the dry eye virtual conference coming up. You'll want to be listening for some of the cool stuff that they have going on there which is right around the corner. Take a look for that. We'll link that in our show notes, but what is the special offer that you have for every?
Yeah, so let me just first talk about the process of working with doctors that we have. So, within our online portal you can go to www.TearRestore.com, go to the portal. We have an ECP sample product for only 1999, so for minimal cost you know we send you out a sample product to test it out yourself tell us it on your spouse, test it on your patient. Difficult dry eye patients are our favorites, so I'm sure you can think of 1 right now and then. After you try it out there. We've got small wholesale price packages like the procedure set that you can you know test it out within your clinic and then you can go full wholesale. From there for all the listeners, we have 10 TB, so try not to blink is the code and you get $100 off the starter set of products.
Perfect I'm so happy that we have that benefit for our listeners, so definitely check that out. I want to circle back to Doctor Castellanos and I think I've said your name literally seven different ways by now, but I wanted to circle back to, you know, just the financials. You know you said about how important it is to you know, treat patients you know, special and really try to build that relationship. But from a financial perspective, you know, tell us a little bit about that.
I love being an optometrist. I love servicing my patients and giving them a great experience. But let's be realistic. None of us could be practicing if we're not making money, so we have to look to see where we can build different avenues and different revenue streams, so that's why I really created one of the pediatric myopic controls and the dry ice bomb so a lot of people don't know. Yes, this is not covered through insurance is, which is even better because then you don't have to worry about the proper code. Did the claim go through? Did I have to do an appeal for like a squirrel? When you set up a dry eye center or you set up a map Control Center, a lot of the codes that you're using are not covered, and so choosing an office code or you could look up an S code and putting it in Yammer and educating your staff on how to use these codes and these procedures to sell these products and build them into your daily patient care. I think it's very important. Absolutely, and have you seen that benefit? Have you seen the upside of that? Is it all the hard work you're putting into it? Has it come to fruition? So, last year we made a big bold decision and we changed a lot of the things we're doing and one of the things was we wanted to optimize and patient experience by bringing all these different medical cares and different options for our patients. We're actually seeing fewer patients and making the same amount of money every year. I mean, I think that's phenomenal. Don't get me wrong, I'm not like rolling. In the dough right now. My practice has only been open for six years and opening a cold practice down here in Miami is unheard of and I have opened two of them, but I definitely like the direction that the practice is going in. I definitely like you know that the patients appreciate. We're doing it for them, but I like the fact that we have another revenue stream.
Absolutely yeah, I think. Two people get a little scared about whether it be upfront costs or feeling like they're, you know, being too retailed, but I think that kind of like you were saying patients appreciate that so much more. They not only appreciate you giving them advice, but giving them a higher level of care. But also, I think a lot of times keeping things in house as an option for in office purchase is extremely nice for patients for convenience's sake, right whether you refer them afterwards. Oh, you can go buy some of this online afterwards, like some of the different portals and whatnot you can buy online but people like walking out with what you say because how many times has a doctor told you to do something? Go buy something and you're like, oh yeah, I'll do that and then you walk out and you're like what did they say again and it's gone out of your mind versus if you walk out and buy it when you leave, you're going to get it and use it. I always look at Amazon. You have to look at Amazon and Starbucks. What do they give? They give patients and they get people convenience. I mean their product might not always be great like Starbucks. Coffee is not awesome but I can't stop going because it's so easy. So, we need to make this experience easy for the patient when they're walking out of your practice. They probably already went on to think, oh gosh, I have to cook dinner. I have to do homework with my child. I have to pay these bills. I have to get ready for the next day if they're walking out already with a treatment plan in their hand, then you're giving them an opportunity to actually really use it.
You're being more like Amazon and Starbucks. And bringing that convenience to that patient right away. Love that. And one of the things I wanted to say about you know people are always scared because when you get into a niche, there's a lot of costs associated.
But I don't think that's correct. You could always build slowly every year, I decide OK, I'm going to invest in this product. I'm going to invest and in building this part of my practice you can't build. But really all at once and be good at it so tries to see where you could build on your practice and where you want to invest just in the next six months and figure out if that's a budget that you feel comfortable with and if it is, then go towards that goal.
Love that. I think too it's like it could be a small one thing, one new thing like unlike Jimmy adding 17 new things all at once it doesn't always have the V. That way you could just do one new thing, see how it's working and then decide do I keep it or like you don't have to commit for life. You can check try something out for a little while and then stop. So, I think all of our listeners your homework for today is to try one new thing. One new product, one new treatment, whatever it is, try one new thing and then check back in three months. Flag it. See how it's going, love it.
Listen Doctor, it was so nice having you on the podcast this evening. On this day whenever you guys are listening to us coming to us from Florida Sunny Florida where oranges and the sun are prevalent, we really appreciate you taking the time and sharing all of your cool stuff with us if you want to hear more from Doctor Cassilano. She does lots of lecturing and she's active on her social media so check her out there and maybe we'll have her back to talk a little bit more about her taking over the world with her eye candy chain that you know may be showing up in your neighborhood, so thank you so much.
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