ONE-TO-ONE: SPECIALEYE’S MICHELLE WALSH

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CANDID CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN OPTOMETRIC OFFICE’S ERIC L. BRAN AND LEADING OPTICAL EXECUTIVES ABOUT THEIR PRODUCT STRATEGIES.

Michelle Walsh, SpecialEyes’ Director of Sales and Marketing, has 14 years of experience in undertaking a leadership role in the medical community. Since joining SpecialEyes in 2006 she has been responsible for the day-to-day operations, sales, and marketing, and the continued growth of the business. Prior to joining SpecialEyes she was a product manager for an international medical device company, educating doctors and staff all over the world. Here, she talks about what sets SpecialEyes apart.

Eric L. Bran: Can you describe what makes SpecialEyes unique?

Michelle Walsh: We pride ourselves on treating all patients as individuals. Our lenses are manufactured for each specific eye; we do not rely on the one-size-fits-most philosophy. We also like to think we are “special” in the way we treat our eyecare professionals (ECPs). SpecialEyes believes in building relationships built on confidence and trust. We take doctors and staff on their word and do not require lenses to be returned for credit. They, in turn, can have confidence and trust in us that we will take care of them no matter the situation. I believe this attitude is missing in the contact lens industry.

ELB: What do ECPs need to know about your customized lenses that perhaps they aren’t aware of?

MW: That they can be easy and convenient for them and their patients. If there was an “Aha! moment” I could share, it is when ECPs discover they can use SpecialEyes as an extension of their skills to create  incredible acuity and comfort for each individual patient, especially the challenging ones.

ELB: How would you describe the SpecialEyes mission?

MW: The company has a credo that we live by: SpecialEyes is a place where successful patient outcomes are our highest mission. We pledge to provide the finest personal service and quality products for our doctors. The SpecialEyes experience instills the highest level of trust and confidence in custom soft lens vision correction, through the fulfillment of the expressed and unexpressed needs of our customers. We expect each employee, from the president to those in customer service and manufacturing, to always be guided by this credo.

ELB: Are you working on any new initiatives? New products or modalities?

MW: At SpecialEyes we expend considerable resources to listen to our ECPs and their patients and then advance our products and processes to better serve them.

We are just now wrapping up a major upgrade to our manufacturing process capabilities both in terms of efficiencies and capacity. This upgrade will enable us to push the SpecialEyes quality and convenience standards even higher while meeting an ever-growing demand. Additionally, we are in the testing phase with several new and exciting products that we will be able to share more about in the coming months.

ELB: Any predictions for the 2014 year as it relates to custom lenses?

MW: Baby Boomers are now at an age where presbyopia is inevitable. This is an opportunity for the custom soft contact lens market as not all patients are going to be able to wear off-the-shelf lenses. And because this patient population is not always willing to compromise—something required with multifocals as they are manufactured for the masses—custom soft multifocals will allow more of this patient population to wear these lenses.

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