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Friday / May 24.
HomemiequipmentMargaret Lam: A Purpose in Every Purchase

Margaret Lam: A Purpose in Every Purchase

Optometrist Margaret Lam is the owner of four eye care practices in Sydney that operate under the banner of theeyecarecompany.

Although she doesn’t claim to be obsessed by eye care technology, she says investing in well considered equipment definitely adds value to the eye care service her team
can offer patients.

“We select new equipment based on whether or not it would be beneficial for a large number of our patients and whether it is financially viable to the practice. So anything we invest in needs to add value to what our patients consider to be part of a comprehensive eye examination and needs to be able to pay for itself over time,” said Ms. Lam.

Each of the stores within theeyecarecompany has the basics, such as a phoropter, slit lamp, autorefractor, autokeratometer and tonometer. They also have retinal cameras, iCare tonometers, a frequency doubling technology (FDT) perimeter for visual field examinations and a corneal topographer.

“When we look to invest in new equipment, we consider the current needs of our patient base, which can change over time. For example, when we were thinking about purchasing a corneal topographer, we had a steady patient base starting to see us for both orthoKeratology and keratoconus. The fact that this equipment also helps with specialty or challenging contact lens fittings – an area we specialise in –
made the investment an easy decision.”

She said investing in equipment for examinations outside the realm of a standard consultation does necessitate charging. “We find our patients will happily pay for these extra examinations once we’ve given a thorough explanation of the condition we’ve identified and the reason why the extra tests are necessary. For example, if we identify a case of keratoconus, and explain the disorder and how it is likely to impact vision over time, the patient typically wants us to monitor their cornea for progress – to observe any changes. They appreciate the fact that we have the specific equipment to do that,” she said.

Of course investing in equipment also requires an investment in staff training, which takes time, energy and money. “It really comes down to having staff members with the right attitude,” said Ms. Lam. “If your staff share the same vision as you have – to provide patients with the best possible care – then they will be keen to learn about and start using new technology.

“At theeyecarecompany, we’ve all got vision issues and so, as well as having an interest in our patient’s eye care, we’re keenly interested in protecting our own sight by making use of the latest technology available,” said Ms. Lam.

“I find that among staff members who are very technologically driven, and even those who aren’t, the arrival of new equipment creates a real sense of excitement. We all love to know that we’re working with the best equipment around.”