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Article Date: 5/1/2003

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Your Patients and Contact Lenses
Is there an easy way to determine what your patients know about contact lenses?
FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR, Jim Thomas

If you asked your patients how much they know about contact lenses, what kind of answers would you get? Would they know about:

  • The advantages of all of the various contact lens modalities available
  • New contact lens materials and designs that can accommodate a greater number of patients who require vision correction
  • Orthokeratology
  • Corneal refractive therapy
  • The option of 30-day continuous wear silicone hydrogel lenses
  • The opportunities for astigmats to wear contact lenses.
  • advances in contact lens cleaning solutions that allow patients to store lenses with greater convenience
  • The differences in the formulations of brand name and private label cleaning solutions
  • The value of compliance and the hazards of noncompliance with wearing schedules and lens care.
  • The relationship between contact lenses and dry eye syndrome, and the available treatments
  • The various options in color and cosmetic contact lenses
  • The value of your skills as an expert contact lens fitter
  • Your state's laws that govern the dispensing of contact lenses by mail-order companies and other sources
  • The hazards in purchasing contact lenses (regardless of the source) without a valid prescription
  • The unique value your practice offers to contact lens wearers

Imagine that you could conduct a poll among all of your patients who answered these questions. It could identify the areas where patients require more education, and it could even suggest marketing strategies.

And the results are . . .

While this research might sound valuable, consider this: You may not need to conduct such a poll. Chances are, if you aren't educating your patients in all of the finer points of contact lenses, then they don't know.

From a patient's perspective, I can't overemphasize the value of information presented through a practice -- whether it comes from educational literature or videos, a staff member or the doctor.

I anticipated that my son might have difficulties with his contact lenses because his cleaning standards fall just shy of those in the "Animal House" fraternity. In four years, however, he has had no trouble.

When I complimented him on his care of the lenses, he told me that it was all due to the instructions provided by our optometrist. Those stuck with him. Now maybe a doctor could educate him on the value of cleaning his room.


Optometric Management, Issue: May 2003

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