August 14, 2019
Eighty percent of my patients who wear contact lenses are in daily disposables lenses, and that is due to the enthusiasm of myself and my staff: I love daily disposable lenses, I think they’re best for ocular health, and I mention them to all of my patients.
I have gotten to this high level of acceptance over the past several years by continually asking my patients about their work lives and leisure activities. I probe for situations where contact lenses, even with occasional use, can have a positive impact on their lives.
“How do you feel about contact lenses?” I ask. “Do you have any trips coming up?” “Do you participate in any sports where you would benefit from not wearing glasses?”
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I find that the questions I ask, along with those from my staff, whom I fit with contact lenses, pay off. With the technology advances in contact lenses in recent years, I am confident in suggesting contact lenses to all patients, even those with astigmatism or presbyopia. Today, we have high-success options in toric and multifocal designs, and all are available in daily disposable lenses. But you have to be proactive.
“Have you thought about contact lenses?” I ask.
“I can’t wear them,” some patients say.
“Why do you think that?” I respond.
The reasons they cite often are inaccurate or dated. And their objections fade away when I explain that technology advances make it likely that they can successfully and enjoyably wear contact lenses.
Getting the Right Fit the First Time
I have a high degree of success and acceptance for several reasons.
First, when patients express interest, I am ready to prescribe my go-to contact lenses: Biofinity Energys®, the monthly replacement, daily wear lens, which I prescribe in a six-month or one-year supply, or the clariti® 1 day daily disposable.
Second, I utilize the OptiExpertTM app from CooperVision to help select the lens that is right for them. I downloaded the OptiExpert app to my phone, so I can quickly input the Rx power and, where applicable, the cylinder or add power and dominant eye, if I am selecting a multifocal contact lens. I hit “calculate,” and the program tells me the best lens to use to achieve the best first-time fit.1
As clinicians, we spend a lot of time explaining to patients the technology in a lens and the ocular health benefits it provides, but many patients don’t want to hear a lot of that. They tell us, “You’re my doctor, and I trust you to do what’s best for my eyes. So you make the decisions, and let me get out of here and back to work.”
The same time-and-interest issue holds true for discussions about oxygen permeability and ocular health. I pull out a laminated sheet on the subject, and we go over the major points, to the degree the patient is interested.
With the lens calculator, I meet patient needs with first-time fitting success1. I used to have two-to-three follow-ups to get everything right, but now I have almost none. This saves valuable chair time, which makes my workday more efficient. And if patients don’t need to come back, they’re happy campers.
Moving Two-Week CL Wearers into Daily Disposables
The upswing to daily disposables that we have achieved comes, in part, from existing contact lens wearers. From time to time, a patient mentions an upcoming trip. “Take along these daily disposables,” I’ll say to patients who are in two-week or one-month replacement lenses.
Once they try daily disposables, they want to switch to daily disposables for the comfort and convenience they provide.
In suggesting daily disposables, I don’t bring up price initially. “Just try these and enjoy them,” I say. “We’ll figure out the details later.” If a patient asks about cost, I will have my staff break out all the costs.
My staff member will take out a piece of paper and show the comparative costs of daily lenses versus monthly. With reusable lenses, they show the cost of solutions and replacing cases regularly. They sum up with, “It really comes down to a few dollars more per month.” And patients say, “Oh, that’s not bad.”
We also move patients into daily disposable lenses with dual prescriptions. I will prescribe patients a monthly replacement lens and also a daily disposable lens and sell them a six-month supply of each. “See if you like wearing daily disposables on the weekend,” I suggest. When they return a year later, their preference is clearly for daily disposables. They don’t want to clean lenses. It’s our “baby steps” method of adoption, and it’s effective.
Keep Up with Technology
It is important to keep upgrading existing wearers, as technology and design improvements can improve their lives. One patient told me, “I play golf, and a buddy of mine hits the ball better than I do.”
This leads to a discussion of contact lens designs, as well as sunwear that works best on the golf course. In fact, sunwear sales have improved with more contact lens prescribing. Our practice is trying out a new program. We brought in a very affordable sunwear line, which we offer for just $20 to patients who order a year’s supply on contact lenses.
In the end, we are the eyecare experts, and our patients trust us to do what’s best for them. And by utilizing available technology, we can further assure them that we are the contact lens specialists that can provide them with the very best in health and vision.