Article Date: 10/1/2011

A Friendly Reminder
contact lens management

A Friendly Reminder

Online service improves replacement schedule compliance.

Andrea M. Janoff, O.D.

Some of our contact lens patients wouldn't think of wearing their lenses a day beyond the replacement schedule, while others completely ignore the schedule, placing their eye health at risk. I've found that the vast majority, however, fall somewhere in the middle: They want to be compliant, but busy lives, lack of organization or plain old forgetfulness get in their way. In fact, forgetting which day to change lenses is the number one reason for noncompliance with the replacement schedule.1 In my practice, I've been able to curb this problem by having my patients sign up for the Acuminder Tool, from Vistakon.

Here, I provide an overview of Acuminder, how it works and how to achieve the most success with it.

Overview

Acuminder (www.acuminder.com) is a free online service that sends automatic reminders to patients via e-mail and/or cell phone text message about when it's time to change their lenses, buy new lenses and/or schedule an eye exam. And, it's available to all contact lens wearers, regardless of what brand of lenses they wear.

The Acuminder Tool has enabled me to increase patient compliance to lens replacement, leading to fewer contact-lens related complications and an increase in patient satisfaction in lens wear.

Since 2007, more than 50,000 contact lens wearers have registered for this electronic reminder system, according to Vistakon. Recently, nearly 700 of them responded to a questionnaire about their contact lens-wearing habits. The results of the questionnaire:

► Virtually all (95%) respondents said they find the tool useful in helping them remember when tochange their lenses, with two-thirds (66%) noting that it has improved their contact lens replacement habits.

► Among two-week wearers, the average wear time was 19.9 days, and 40% reported changing their lenses on schedule (at ≤ 14 days) before enrolling in Acuminder. After using the electronic reminder service, however, compliance rose to 76%, and the average days of wear before changing the lenses improved to 14.7 days.

How it works

To use the service, the patient simply accesses the website, creates an account, in which their e-mail address, full name, address, birth date and a password are required, selects their brand of contact lenses and the specific product from a dropdown menu and answers a few questions regarding lens replacement and doctor's visits. From there, the patient selects the desired reminders (mentioned above). In addition, he's granted access to Acuvue product rebates.

Achieving the most success

I've been able to achieve the most success with Acuminder bypersonally reinforcing the replacement schedule, providing sound reasoning for adhering to this schedule and enabling our patients to sign up for the service at one of the computer stations in the office.

Personally instructing patients to comply with the specific replacement schedule recommended by the contact lens company itself elevates the schedule's importance in the patient's mind, as he views me as the authority on eye care. Providing sound reasoning, or “why” adherence is important, buffers this action. Specifically, I tell patients that the replacement schedule has been proven safest in clinical trials, and that evidence suggests that patients who replace their lenses according to the correct schedule are more likely to experience enhanced comfort, clarity of vision and continued successful contact lens wear for a long period of time.

Next, I say to patients: “There's a really good free tool to help you remember when to change your lenses. Can we go ahead and set you up for it right now?” By offering patients the use of one of our computers, we prevent them from “forgetting” to sign up for the service once they leave the practice, and we can ensure patients enter the correct lens, replacement schedule and doctor name. (As a brief, yet related aside, text message is the most popular choice among our patients, though most patients select e-mail, according to Vistakon. E-mail is the default choice on the Acuminder website and may be theeasiest to use in offices that have poor cell-phone reception. The reason: Patients do have to wait for a verification code to be received by their cell phone before they can complete the registration for text messaging.)

By providing brief, yet effective patient education on the importance of replacement schedules and having patients sign up for Acuminder in-house, I've found that I've not only been able to increase lens replacement schedule compliance in those who want to comply but might otherwise forget, but also in many of those who once completely ignored their replacement schedules. This, in turn, has led to fewer contact-lens related complications and an increase in patient satisfaction in lens wear. OM

1. Dumbleton K, Woods C, Jones L, et al. Patient and practitioner compliance with silicone hydrogel and daily disposable lens replacement in the United States. Eye Contact Lens 2009 Jul;35(4): 164-71.


DR. JANOFF IS ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AND CHIEF OF THE CORNEA AND CONTACT LENS SERVICE AT NOVA SOUTHEASTERN COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY IN FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA. SHE HAS NO AFFILIATION WITH VISTAKON. E-MAIL HER AT JANOFFA@NOVA.EDU, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.

Optometric Management, Issue: October 2011