While low cost is certainly an attraction to Walmart shoppers, what they really want is value for their money, says Umar Ishaque, MPH, OD. “That applies to contact lenses as well,” he says. He prefers to prescribe a monthly replacement, silicone hydrogel contact lens because he says he likes both the material and the replacement schedule. “I find that my patients tend to be more compliant* with a monthly replacement contact lens.”
Dr. Ishaque says that a doctor’s recommendation for products is critical. “About nine-out-of-10 patients take my advice when I take the time to explain to them how they can benefit from the recommendation I’m making. “ As part of that conversation, he’ll mention the price of the products, too.
“Price is often a factor in our decision-making process. Think about it—before we let the heating and air conditioning technician get started or before we tell the auto mechanic to get to work, we want to know what it’s going to cost,” he says. Most of the matter of not wanting to be surprised later. “I think we can overcome any price concerns with Alcon contact lenses because we can show the value of contact lenses from the AIR OPTIX® family of lenses,” he says.
For example, AIR OPTIX® AQUA Multifocal and AIR OPTIX® for Astigmatism contact lenses are his first choice for presbyopic and astigmatic patients, respectively. “These are my go-to lenses because they are easy to fit and predictable. In each of our three locations, we see about 18-to-20 patients per day, so we need to be efficient with chair time for the initial fit and any follow ups,” he says. Patients don’t want to return time and time again to tweak the contact lens prescription, either, he adds.
Another important aspect of promoting the value of a product is to make sure that patients understand the lens care required. He is surprised by the number of patients who tell him that they top off their contact lens solutions each day. “I tell them, ‘Tomorrow, when you take a shower, grab a whole bunch of buckets and use that same water the next day.’ That analogy gets their attention, and they listen as he reviews the lens care time, that conversation doesn’t stop a person from approving the work; it’s simply a instructions, which include using fresh disinfecting solution daily, rinsing and air-drying the contact lens case and replacing the contact lens case each time they buy a new bottle of disinfecting solution.
Dr. Ishaque also emphasizes that he wants patients to use the brand of contact lens solution he recommends. Often, that’s OPTI-FREE® PureMoist® Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution (MPDS). “I tell patients that I like OPTI-FREE PureMoist MPDS because it’s a proven solution, unlike generic brands that might change their formulas. I think the solution works well to allow them to wear their contact lenses more comfortably and longer each day.”
* Compliance with manufacturer recommended replacement frequency.
1. Campbell R, Kame G, Leach N, et al. Clinical benefits of a new multipurpose disinfection solution in silicone hydrogel and soft contact lens users. Eye & Contact Lens. 2012; 38(2):93-101.
2. Alcon data on file, 2011.
Important information for AIR OPTIX® AQUA, AIR OPTIX® for Astigmatism and AIR OPTIX® AQUA Multifocal (lotrafilcon B) contact lenses: For daily wear or extended wear up to 6 nights for near/far-sightedness, presbyopia and/or astigmatism. Risk of serious eye problems (i.e., corneal ulcer) is greater for extended wear. In rare cases, loss of vision may result. Side effects like discomfort, mild burning or stinging may occur. See product instructions for complete wear, care and safety information.
Three Important Questions
Dr. Umar Ishaque asks every contact lens patient three questions. Even when he’s busy, the answers to these questions will let him know whether the patient needs a thorough review of contact lens care techniques to assure him that they’re taking care of their contact lenses as he directed.
1. How often do you replace your lenses?
2. How often do you replace the solution in the case?
3. How often do you replace the contact lens case?
By emphasizing that contact lens cleaning and replacement is an integral component of contact lens care, he says he can keep patients satisfied with their overall contact lens-wearing experience.