Undergoing surgery can be frightening, especially when you're not sure what the results will be. When Bob Watson, a Houston videographer, was scheduled to have radial keratotomy in the early 1980s to correct his nearsightedness, he spoke to his doctor and other patients who had undergone the procedure. They expected he would come out of surgery with 20/20 vision, free of glasses forever.
But after surgery, Watson, 48, had blurred vision and painful reactions to bright light. Most distressing, his vision improved temporarily, but he soon required glasses again.
Watson thought there should be a better way to educate patients about surgical procedures so they could make informed decisions. Consulting with a local ophthalmologist, he made a videotape explaining radial keratotomy and began marketing it to doctors. But the procedure was relatively new and unproven, and not many doctors were performing it, so he got few responses.
Watson didn't give up. He expanded his catalog of videotapes to include more common procedures, such as cataract removal. When he took his wares to a meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, he received a flood of orders for the educational videotapes.
Founded in 1993, Watson's Patient Education Concepts now offers a wide variety of educational materials on eye surgery procedures, including posters, brochures and even interactive CD-ROMs. Advertising by direct mail, attending ophthalmology trade shows and a Web site have helped him attract overseas business and boost sales to more than $1 million in the past several years.