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ODs incorporate a number of strategies in their quest to optimize the wearing experience for contact lens patients. In an attempt to provide patients with the refractive correction they need, ODs have identified a number of factors that improve the wearing experience for current contact lens wearers.
Just as ODs develop good habits, there are bad habits that we should avoid. Avoid the following three habits to optimize your patients’ lens wearing experience.
1. The comfort conversation
In a busy practice, ODs may take the easy road and avoid discussions about contact lens comfort with their patients. Patients often choose not to discuss their true wearing experiences with their contact lenses. They fear their ODs’ solution will be to discontinue contact lens wear. To avoid this option, patients may not express the challenges they face when wearing their contact lenses—simply wearing the lenses with less comfort.
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Underlying comfort is one of the most important things to elicit from patients. Patient discomfort is one reason patients discontinue contact lens wear. Years ago, I had a conversation with Fred Goldberg, OD, FAAO in Virginia, who provided a means to help understand the wearing experience a patient has with his contact lenses. We have since incorporated Dr. Goldberg’s tips into our practice.
We simply ask patients to rank their contact lens comfort at the beginning and end of the day on a scale from zero to 10—zero being the least comfortable and 10 being the most comfortable. We found patient contact lens comfort levels below what we would have expected—based on our patients’ lens-wearing experiences.
ODs should investigate a more contemporary contact lens option, treat underlying ocular disease, or a combination of the two if end-of-the-day comfort is a problem for patients. Adopt a process in your practice to help comfort problems your contact lens wearers may have.