By Steven I. Bennett, OD, FAAO
Q: What do you say to patients to get them to OK your inserting contact lenses so they can see frames better?
A: The discussion starts in the exam room. When I take a case history, I always ask my glasses patients if they have ever thought about contact lenses. I don’t ask them if they are interested in contacts because if they say no, we’re done. When I ask if they have thought about it, they walk me through their thought process. If they say “Yes, but contact lenses are too much of a hassle,” I talk to them about daily disposable lenses. No pressure, just talk. At the end of the exam, I ask them if they would like me to put a pair on their eyes so they can see themselves better when they pick out glasses. If there are not interested at the beginning, I still suggest we put a pair on for better glasses viewing.
Q: How many of your patients accept your offer to insert contact lenses?
A: About 60 percent of patients say OK to the offer.
Q: Do you and your staff use a script to discuss this topic?
A: While I don’t use a script, I always say the same thing to patients. My opticians are trained to ask each patient if they would like the doctor to put lenses on them to help them see the frames.
Q: Do you retrieve the contact lenses after frames are chosen—or let patients go home with the contact lenses in their eyes (where they might stay for a year)?
A: They never leave with the lenses unless we do a complete contact lens fitting. I usually say to the patient, “Pretty cool, don’t you think,” and then discuss briefly the benefits of having contact lenses. We can sometimes do the fitting the same day, but most of the time we reschedule the patient and do the fitting when they come to pick up their glasses.
Q: What’s the key selling point to get patients to schedule a contact lens exam?
A: I continually stress the convenience, and the fact that they don’t have to wear contacts all the time.
Steven I. Bennett, OD, FAAO, practices at Bennett Optometry (www.bennettoptometry.com), a four-doctor practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He specializes in contact lenses and low vision.