Asian Eye broadens market baseEsther's mother started to go blind five years after retiring from her job. Esther’s sister, an engineer, decided to work part-time so as to be able to personally tend to the older woman as her eyesight worsened. By the time she died at age 80, the mother was totally blind and had been bed-ridden for several years. Esther, who is now at the same age when her mother started losing her eyesight, fears she will suffer the same fate after reading that she is also at risk to develop the condition.
According to Alwin Sta. Rosa, vice president and general manager of Asian Eye Institute, statistics show that an estimated 72% of Filipinos, 60 years old and above, will develop cataracts.
Globally, the World Health Organization Prevention of Blindness and Deafness Programme lists cataractsTwo years in a row for asian eye ultimate consumer approval among the top causes of blindness, along with glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Although still considered an infant nation, the Philippines has a growing elderly population that is at risk of developing these eye conditions. The UN agency further estimates that “up to 80% of the world’s blindness is avoidable.”
“In the Philippine setting, we have accepted that older people eventually become blind, that they become unproductive after a certain age,” observes Sta. Rosa. “As a result, there are warm bodies, usually young people, who are not able to go to work because their blind loved ones need to be assisted.”
But with the proper and timely medical intervention, the visually impaired person can still do things on her own again, while the caregiver can go back to work and be an income-generating partner of the family, Sta. Rosa adds.
Vision screening for cataract mission at sinag kalinga quezonMore so because, in the past decade, more Filipinos have been able to access top-notch eye care through Asian Eye that is comparable to eye care centers of the US, Europe and Singapore.
“When we were established, one objective of Mr. (Oscar) Lopez was to deliver world-class eye care and make it available to as many Filipinos as possible,” says Asian Eye president Benjamin K. Liboro. “Asian Eye has developed a very strong reputation, but as a premier eye center for the premium market.”
Why Asian Eye is for you
The Asian Eye team, with president Ben Liboro and Mrs. Liboro, at the Sinag Kalinga Foundation, QuezonAsian Eye’s main clinic at the Phinma Plaza in Rockwell Center was inaugurated on September 18, 2001. Its satellite clinics are located at Trinoma, Quezon City, which opened in 2007, and at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, which opened a year later. The flagship itself now spans three floors in Rockwell and includes more diagnostic rooms, a VIP lounge, a refreshment lounge and an optical shop.
The eye center, which just celebrated its 11th anniversary, is now setting its sights on serving approximately 150,000 middle-market households in Metro Manila and its environs. This segment includes mostly professionals, entrepreneurs and the like “who are enrolled in health plans and who generally use their health plans to access medical care.”
Asian Eye staff and doctors prepare for the arrival of employees who will undergo eye exam at First Philippine Industrial Park“Transparency in our fees is one of the factors important to our patients,” says Maribel Relatado-Rubia. “We are more transparent in detailing the different types of fees involved in a surgery in our quote. Some people in the retirement industry have noted this as one of our advantages over big hospitals.”
“This also allows us to help people,” Liboro adds. “If they say, ‘I can’t afford that,’ then we can discuss how to help, how to make it affordable for them.”
Aside from Philhealth and senior citizen discounts, clients may avail of treatment at Asian Eye using theirThe Asian Eye CSR team listens to the stories of the beneficiaries of the cataract surgery mission at Pangarap Foundation Citibank, BDO, BPI or RCBC Bankard cards. Also honored are the cards of local and international HMOs such as Asianlife, Maxicare, Avega of Intellicare, Vanbreda, Prestige International and Emergency Assistance Japan. Thus, whether one is an entrepreneur, an employee holding a company-issued health card or even a self-employed creative who pays Philhealth P100 every month, he or she can look forward to different payment options.
As an innovation especially for Lopez Group kapamilya, Asian Eye brings and conducts complete eye examinations and medical lectures on eye care right in their offices or sites. Thus far, the center has brought this service to First Philippine Industrial Park in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Just recently, it conducted a medical lecture and a free basic eye exam at the Energy Development Corporation headquarters.
This little boy now enjoys doing various activities with his improved vision“We can customize a package that suits the number of employees on-site and their specific needs based on their profiles,” notes ophthalmologist Dr. Juan Ma. Pablo Nañagas, who is currently Asian Eye’s medical and research director. “Optical companies also offer this, but it’s really just refraction. What we do are complete eye examinations, so we are able to check even for glaucoma, cataract and retinal problems.”
Eye on the future
As it ventures to capture the bigger, wider middle market segment, Liboro envisions the next few years as a potential growth period for Asian Eye.
In the medium term, Asian Eye aims to boost its Trinoma and Mall of Asia facilities by opening three to five more satellite clinics. For now, the focus remains on expanding in Metro Manila despite several overtures to bring the Asian Eye brand to some of the larger provinces.
“Apart from clinics, we are building up the technologies and products that we have on offer. Soon, we’ll investSatisfied with her new, clear vision is actress Kristine Hermosa- Sotto with Asian Eye’s LASIK surgeon Dr. Robert Ang in a femtosecond cataract laser technology that will, for the time being, complete our laser offerings,” Liboro says.
“We also acquired the Technolas laser technology that can also address presbyopia or the loss of the lens’ flexibility, thus the need to wear reading glasses. We are still the only center equipped with a laser treatment to eliminate dependency on reading glasses of people in their 40s to 60s. And so far, our refractive specialist is still recognized as the ‘ophtha’ that has the most extensive experience on this Technolas technology from Germany. Asian Eye is equipped to take care of eye concerns for all ages, from newborns to people in their 90s.”
Significantly, based on feedback gathered by its doctors in conferences here and abroad, Asian Eye remains up to date when it comes to the technologies and services it offers.
Asian Eye optometrist checks the vision of a Girl Scout from the Philippine Christian Foundation in TondoWhile a sea of change has taken place with the departure of two members of the original medical team, the institute considers this as a “natural process of attrition” as well as an opportunity to transfuse new blood into a formidable lineup that has pretty much remained unchanged through a decade.
Dr. Emerson Cruz and Dr. Patricia Grulla-Quilendrino lead the second-generation Asian Eye doctors “who will be our doctors of the future,” Liboro affirms. “We’re looking at two or three more that we’ll be bringing in to represent certain subspecialties. If we can do that, that will give us the ability to meet the needs of our physical expansion.”