Article Date: 5/1/2012

Conquer the Cost Complaint
contact lens management

Conquer the Cost Complaint

Use these four tips to overcome cost objections to daily disposable lenses.

Peter Bergenske, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Imagine this: A 14 year-old daily contact lens wearer presents for his contact lens evaluation accompanied by his mother. He tells you cleaning his lenses is a major drag. His mother rolls her eyes and says, “Having to constantly remind you to do it is no picnic either.”

Given these complaints and your findings from the contact lens evaluation, you recommend the patient switch to daily disposable lenses. The teen says, “cool,” and his mother appears receptive — that is, until you tell her the cost. This scenario is not hard to imagine considering cost is the primary barrier to the dispensing of daily disposable lenses.

The good news: I've found following these four tips can enable you to conquer the cost complaint associated with daily disposable lenses.

1. Discuss benefits.

One way you can prevent “sticker shock” is to provide education on the benefits of daily disposable lenses as they relate to the patient.

For instance, if you were the practitioner in the aforementioned scenario, you'd mention that daily disposable lenses don't require a lens care regimen, as this has caused friction between the patient and his mother. In addition, you'd want to explain that no lens care regimen also means the parent will no longer have to worry about her son placing his eye health at risk due to possible non-compliance to lens care instructions.

Another example of discussing the benefits of daily disposable lenses as they relate to the patient: For patients who suffer from ocular allergy, explain that wearing a daily disposable lens means they won't have day-to-day allergen build-up on their lenses, which translates to increased comfort.

“I try to put the importance of choosing the best lens in perspective by asking my patients: ‘Would you say no to better comfort and vision to save a few dollars?’” says Pamela Evans, O.D., of Georgetown, Texas.

By explaining the benefits of a daily disposable lens as it relates to the patient, the patient/parent will see that the benefits either equal or perhaps even outweigh the increased cost.

Something else to consider: Several eyecare practitioners wear daily disposable lenses themselves. If you're one of these practitioners, be sure to let patients who you think could benefit from daily disposable lenses know. The reason: This personal connection increases patient trust, further facilitating the dispensing of these lenses.

“… Connecting personally with each patient and understanding their lifestyle and lens care habits helps encourage them to follow your recommendation,” says Stella Lau, O.D., of Las Vegas, Nev.

2. Highlight long-term savings.

Another way to prevent cost complaints: Demonstrate the savings of both money and time associated with daily disposable lenses.

Tell the patient, “Yes, you spend more initially, but in the long run, you will save money on lens care products, and save the time it takes to follow a lens care regimen.”

“I've found patients are more receptive [to switching to daily disposable lenses] once I work with them to spell out how much they are spending on their lenses and lens care,” says Dr. Lau. “A seemingly more expensive alternative is more easily justified when you take the cost of cases and lens care solutions into consideration.”

3. Let patients sample.

Keep in mind that product samples can encourage conversion to daily disposable lenses. Experiencing the comfort of the lens first hand is a crucial complement to any education regarding benefits. Once patients experience the convenience and comfort difference of daily disposable lenses vs. their other lenses, they may be reluctant to return to their old lenses.

“Trying the product is what really sells patients on the comfort and convenience of the lens,” says Dr. Evans. “If someone is a strong candidate for daily disposable contact lenses, I send them home with five-to-10 free trial pairs.”

In addition to the product trial, Dr. Evans says she reminds patients they don't have to buy an entire year's supply of contact lenses at one time. Instead, she says she suggests patients buy a three-month supply and then re-evaluate their experience in the lenses.

4. Reinforce that you're the expert.

Don't suggest daily disposables if they're the best lens option for the patient, prescribe them, says Tyler Glaze, O.D., of Edmond, Okla. The reason: It reinforces the fact that you're the expert, and that your expertise shouldn't be questioned.

Certainly, there are those patients who will always object to change, especially when it involves a perceived increase in price. However, by utilizing the tips outlined above, you have an excellent chance of overcoming the cost issue. OM

DR. BERGENSKE IS THE DIRECTOR OF PROFESSIONAL AND CLINICAL SUPPORT AT ALCON LABORATORIES INC. SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.


Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: May 2012, page(s): 62 64