Optimize patients’ CL experience by avoiding 3 bad habits

May 11, 2017

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.

The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

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.

2. Offering options

The contact lens industry invests its time and resources in providing ODs with contemporary contact lens designs-offering an enhanced patient-wearing experience. This includes higher oxygen permeability, enhanced moisture retention, and advanced optical designs. ODs should challenge themselves with every patient to determine if a better option exists.

Some patients who require refractive correction tend to be unaware of new contact lens options available. Other patients may want the option of contact lenses for special occasions or activities. ODs must take the time to educate patients on the newest technologies available. The daily disposable modality is a great option for patients with the number of daily disposable contact lens options available.

 

3. Contact lenses for presbyopes

There are advanced contact lens designs available for presbyopic patients. These contact lenses provide patients a chance to become less dependent or completely independent on their eyeglasses when wearing contact lenses. The presbyopic population is a group of individuals in which the percentage requiring refractive correction is high. Yet I have found that low numbers of presbyopic patients are currently wearing contact lenses.

Significant advancements in lens technologies have provided both frequent replacement and daily disposable options that are far advanced than their predecessors. Even a patient who tried multifocal contact lenses as little as one year ago has a number of new options available now. Due to the variety of options available, ODs are sure to have a design that suits their patients’ needs.

Related: New correction option for presbyopes

There is a remarkable opportunity to offer presbyopes the opportunity to be fit with contact lenses and offer them the visual freedom that contact lenses may offer. Unfortunately, a majority of presbyopic patients are unaware that multifocal contact lenses are an option for them. It is thus incumbent upon us to educate patients about these options. It will then be the patients’ decision whether they would like to pursue multifocal contact lenses.

Optimize patient opportunity to help them be successful contact lens wearers by avoiding the three habits listed above. They will certainly thank you for it.

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