By Charles Aldridge, OD
SPONSORED BY ALCON
Eyecare providers have many options when prescribing contact lenses today. But for me, my first choices are always daily disposable and monthly replacement contact lenses. The wear and care cycle is simple, and the ability for patients to stay in their lenses long-term, and return annually for examinations and the purchase of products, makes these replacement schedules winners for both patients and the practice.
Greater Compliance = Greater Comfort & Fewer Dropouts
Years ago, two-week replacement contact lenses were the only option for doctors who wanted to prescribe frequent replacement or disposable lenses. I prescribed many of these lenses for patients, and soon noticed a pattern: patients were not able to comply with the wear and care regimen, and due to the lack of compliance, were not satisfied with the level of comfort the lenses provided.
Our lives run on daily and monthly cycles, rather than on two-week cycles, making it hard for the patient to remember to throw away their contact lenses every two weeks. I found many were over-wearing the lenses for as long as four to six weeks. I was seeing patients with calcium deposits on their lenses, and other contaminants that corrupted the lenses and kept the lenses from delivering the kind of comfort and visual quality patients expect.
Today, my practice, of which 10 percent is composed of contact lens patients, fits all new contact lens patients in daily disposable contact lenses or monthly replacement contact lenses. My patients find it easier to remember to simply throw the lenses away at the end of the day, or to mark their calendars to throw the lenses out on the first of every month.
Practice & Profitability Builder
When patients are more comfortable and more satisfied in their contact lenses, they remain contact lens wearers longer. The patients are also more apt to visit their eye care providers at least once a year to renew their prescriptions and purchase a new supply of contact lenses — and sometimes even new eyewear.
The difficulty patients had with the two-week replacement schedule meant that many were changing their lenses so infrequently that they had less need for new contact lenses or annual supplies. Once patients try out daily disposable or monthly replacement contact lenses, and literally “see” the difference the lenses make, they see how easy and beneficial it is to comply with the wear and care cycle, and are more likely to purchase an annual supply each year.
Daily disposable and monthly replacement contact lenses are a win for the patient from a comfort standpoint, and a win for the practice because the patient is coming back as they should and making purchases as they should.
Only Prescribe Daily Disposable & Monthly Replacement Contact Lenses
When a patient is new to contact lenses, I always first prescribe daily disposable contact lenses. I ask them to try the lenses for a week, and see what they think. Patients are usually satisfied with the comfort, and enjoy the ease of just throwing the lenses away before bed, rather than getting involved in the chore of removing them, rinsing and soaking them overnight in solution, and then putting them back in the next day with the hope that the lenses will be clean enough to be comfortable.
If patients, whom I’ve prescribed daily disposable contact lenses, decide that despite their satisfaction with the daily disposable lenses, they would like to try monthly replacement lenses, I will go ahead and prescribe the monthly replacement lenses. Sometimes the patients decide that this replacement schedule makes more sense for them. I’m happy to also have the option of prescribing the monthly replacement lenses because it gives patients another way to wear contact lenses that I can also stand behind as a doctor. The monthly cycle is easy to remember, and the monthly replacement contact lenses I prescribe, such as AIR OPTIX® AQUA, are advanced enough to offer excellent breathability and wettability.
Alcon Supports Patient Education
I have found Alcon to be a strong partner in helping to educate my patients about the value of daily disposable and monthly replacement contact lenses. My Alcon representatives often join us for staff meetings, educating our doctors and support staff on the new contact lenses available, including the unique characteristics of each of the contact lenses, which types of patients the contact lenses are designed for, and how best to explain the benefits of each contact lens to patients.
In addition, we have information about the many daily disposable and monthly replacement contact lenses we prescribe and sell playing on a video loop in our reception area and exam rooms. For example, patients find it helpful to watch the DAILIES TOTAL1® Eyemaginations video, in addition to hearing about these contact lenses from me and my staff.
A patient who is fully educated, and who fully experiences the ease and comfort of daily disposable and monthly replacement contact lenses, is a patient who is less likely to drop out of contact lenses, and more likely to return happily to your office every year.
See product instructions for complete wear, care and safety information.
Charles Aldridge, OD, is the owner of Aldridge Eye Institute in Burnsville, N.C. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.