By Jason R. Miller, OD, MBA
Contact lens wearers need comfort all day through. New technology in contact lens materials delivers that comfort even at the end of the day.
ASK PATIENTS ABOUT DIGITAL USAGE. Ask all patients how many hours they spend on computers and digital devices.
TALK ABOUT BENEFITS OF MOST CURRENT MATERIAL CLs. Explain not all CLs are created equal and more advanced lenses help keep eyes moist.
USE INSTRUMENTATION TO SHOW PATIENTS PROBLEMS. Use your anterior seg camera to show patients drying areas on their CLs to demonstrate the need for a change.
With many of your patients spending their workdays in front of a computer, dry eyes at the end of the day due to digital eye fatigue is a common discomfort. Here are some of the ways I help my contact lens patients stay comfortable, including prescribing the most technologically advanced contact lenses.
Ask CL Patients About Hours in Front of Computer
I ask all my patients, including contact lens wearers, how many hours they spend each day in front of the computer. I hear of midday discomfort more and more. Increasingly, patients (from kids to adults) are spending more time in front of a screen (computer, iPad, iPod, gaming system), and related contact lens comfort must be addressed at every visit. Asking about computer or digital device usage enables eyecare professionals to discuss options like daily-replacement contact lenses, high-quality silicone hydrogel contacts like Alcon AIR OPTIX, and any prescription products like Restasis or other drops that could help. It also gives us the opportunity to discuss computer and device usage best practices like taking visual breaks throughout the day and having a good pair of back-up glasses.
Talk About Difference High-Tech CL Makes
The contact lens fix for end-of-the-day discomfort is choosing a material, modality and solution that improves patient comfort. Comfort is difficult to predict sometimes, but choosing a lens that has a high lubricity, like AIR OPTIX, helps improve that digital eye fatigue. I tell patients: “we have new, improved contact lens options and these lenses stay moister, allow more oxygen through and can improve your end-of-day comfort, especially if you are spending more and more time in front of a computer screen.”
Let Patients Know: Not all Contacts Created Equal
All contact lens brands are not created equal in that all vary in their modulus, lubricity, oxygen permeability and edge design. All of those factors, along with the patient’s ocular health and environment, go into the patient’s perception of comfort with contact lens wear.
Remind Patients Importance of Compliance
I let patients know that wear and care compliance absolutely plays a key role in enhancing end-of-day comfort. Proper care and compliance will not only improve their comfort, but minimize their risks of complications.
Educate: End-of-Day Discomfort May Be Early Sign of Presbyopia
End-of-day eye fatigue is affecting me currently. I am 41, and this can be an early sign of presbyopia. It is important to educate the patient on the presbyopic process and the options that we have with contact lens wear. Many patients do not realize the incredible success of lenses like AIR OPTIX AQUA Multifocal, and that they will still be able to wear their contact lenses for a long time into the future.
Use Instrumentation to Illustrate Impact of Technologically Advanced CLs
I use anterior segment photos to demonstrate the areas of non-wetting on the ocular surface of a contact lens. It is a powerful tool when I need to take extra time to educate a particular patient.
Let Patients Know: Eyes Become More Sensitive When Older
This is another big concern that is not always addressed. Many patients “abused” their eyes in their younger years by sleeping overnight in their lenses and wearing them for longer than prescribed. It may have worked for them at that time, but is not a good strategy for successful contact lens wear as we enter presbyopia.
End-of-Day CL Comfort: Help Patients Find Relief
• Educate patients on new and improved materials.
• Discuss compliance and offer a change, whether in the one-day replacement category or improved silicone hydrogel design.
• Go over strategies to improve the patient’s work environment such as situating the computer differently, or changing lighting.
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Jason R. Miller, OD, MBA, has been in practice 11 yearsand is in a partnership private practice with Tamara M. Kuhlmann, OD, MS, atEyeCare Professionals of Powell, Ohio. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.