Article Date: 1/1/2014

Optical
VISION CARE & WEAR
optical

Additional Thoughts

Discuss the benefits of supplementary eyewear to contact lens patients.

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DAVE ZIEGLER, O. D.

Many practices miss the opportunity to dispense an additional pair of glasses to their contact lens-wearing patients. This places patients at a disadvantage, should an unforeseen circumstance arise, while hindering the practice’s profitability.

Here, I explain how you can increase the likelihood of these patients purchasing backup glasses, polarized sunwear and/or safety eyewear.

Backup glasses

To raise the probability of patients buying backup glasses, employ one or both of the following methods:

1. The cautionary approach. “Would you be able to confidently drive to work or function comfortably at your job with your current glasses if, for some reason, you couldn’t wear your contact lenses?” This approach is effective, as it acts as a warning for not having backup glasses.

2. The positive approach. “Contact lenses are not designed for all waking hours. In fact, the first and last hour of vision each day tend to be more suitable for glasses, as contact lenses can be less convenient and less comfortable during these hours. Also, it’s important for you to give your eyes a break from contact lens wear.” This approach is effective, as it illustrates the convenience and ocular health associated with glasses.

For the contact lens wearer who may still have trouble justifying the cost of glasses, provide a collection of about 20 inexpensive frames and lenses, which can be bundled as a “value package.”

Polarized sunglasses

Once you determine a contact lens patient is very active outdoors, recommend polarized sunglasses.

Say to these patients, “Since you spend a lot of time outdoors, I prescribe polarized lenses with UV protection for your sunglasses that remove glare caused by reflected sunlight and protect them from the harmful UV rays of the sun that have been shown to cause cataracts and macular degeneration.” This discussion will reinforce the need for polarized lenses and start the discussion about color and visual performance.

To support this script, show patients the difference. Use display units that demonstrate the difference between tinted lenses and polarized lenses. Also, have your optician take them outside to experience the advantages of polarized lenses. These visual tools are more convincing than explaining the benefits verbally.

Safety eyewear

Whether the patient is wearing contact lenses in a factory or while cutting grass on the weekend, opportunities exist for sustaining eye injuries. Non-prescription polycarbonate polarized sunglasses can serve the purpose of safety eyewear for activities like cycling, running, water sports, hunting, hiking and other outdoor activities.

Explain to patients that contact lenses offer little to no protection against the elements or foreign bodies, which is often forgotten or unknown.

Meeting patients’ needs

While contact lens wearers don’t buy glasses at the same frequency as your spectacle wearers, they still have some basic needs you can meet. Properly communicating the benefits of spectacles and offering affordable options improves their vision as well as your bottom line. OM

DR. ZIEGLER IS A SENIOR PARTNER IN A GROUP PRIVATE PRACTICE IN MILWAUKEE, WISC., AND A FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPTOMETRY. E-MAIL HIM AT DAVEAZIEGLER@GMAIL.COM, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.



Optometric Management, Volume: 49 , Issue: January 2014, page(s): 56