Article Date: 3/1/2013

The Sun Also Rises
vision wear

The Sun Also Rises

Don’t forget to discuss sun protection options with CL wearers.

images

JASON R. MILLER, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.

When we talk to our contact lens patients, sometimes we forget the importance of sunwear and sun protection. We often discuss how their contact lenses fit, how often to change their lenses, whether they can sleep overnight in their lenses and what kind of solutions to use. These are essential discussions, but sunwear should also be included in that list.

Here, I discuss how to approach sunwear with contact lens patients.

Inquire about their needs.

Making a strong recommendation starts with understanding your patients’ needs and lifestyles to offer them products and services that differentiate their practice.

Then, you can consider various packages or promotions that can aid in the purchase of sunwear for our contact lens wearers. Ask them the following questions:

► “Are you constantly in and out of doors during the day?”

► “Do you have a pair of prescription sunglasses?”

► “What are your hobbies?”

► “What do you do for your job?”

Educate them.

Once you’ve determined the best contact lens for your patients’ needs, they need to be informed that today’s best sunwear provides improved visual comfort, strong UV protection and improved visual contrast. Don’t try to “sell” sunwear; it’s better to try and sell patients on their vision needs and eye health.

Use the information we received earlier in our education to explain that UV-A rays (315nm to 400nm) are closer to visible light rays and have a lower energy level than UVB and UVC rays. Because of that, UV-A rays can pass through the cornea and reach the lens and retina inside the eye. Tell patients that over-exposure has been linked to the development of cataracts and may play a role in development of AMD.

Making a strong recommendation starts with understanding your patients’ needs and lifestyles.

In addition, don’t forget about reflectance levels. Many patients don’t know that grass and soil only reflect less than 10%, sand provides about 10% to 25% reflectance and fresh snow has the largest with over 75% reflectance and can significantly increase UV exposure.

Education is especially important for our senior patients. Many of them have a significant level of cataracts and some level of AMD by age 75, which has the potential to reduce their visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. The increased glare disability for oncoming sun and reflections can cause a loss of driving performance and increased safety issues. To demonstrate this, we use our patient educational program as we feel it is much more effective when the patient can visualize it.

Trust your recommendation.

By utilizing trust, the eyecare professional can find ways to set their services apart and create patient loyalty through positive experiences. Sun protection is critical to ocular health, and recommending specific products that provide the best UV protection has the potential to make an impact on our patients’ ocular health.

Our charge is to recommend sunwear that protects our patients’ eyes from UV radiation and reflectance rays with high-quality polarized lenses is critical to a lifetime of good vision. Lenses today are high tech and more costly, but education will overcome any price sensitivity that may exist.

Capturing the sunwear sales keeps the patient from shopping elsewhere and increases your business’ bottom line. OM

DR. MILLER IS A PARTNER IN A PRIVATE PRACTICE IN POWELL, OHIO, AND IS AN ADJUNCT FACULTY MEMBER FOR THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY. SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.



Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: March 2013, page(s): 79