Article Date: 3/1/2002

contact lens management
The Proof Is In Their Eyes
The Ascend lens makes for happy patients.
BY SHAWN HELLUMS, O.D.

Each year the competition in the contact lens market becomes more and more ferocious. It's important to look past the propaganda to evaluate lenses by performance, patient satisfaction and manufacturer reputation. The CooperVision Ascend lens has been a great choice for many of my patients. Here's why.

Behold the advantages

The Ascend lens is made of methafilcon A and is 55% water. Its design is front surface aspheric. The back surface is spherical, so fitting problems are minimal. Not only is it comfortable, but it focuses light more precisely than other contact lenses of its kind, reducing spherical aberrations.

The Ascend lens is only available directly to the patient. You can get trial fitting sets, but you can't stock these lenses. In fact, you can't even order them until a signed agreement binding you to sell only to your patients is on file with CooperVision. This arrangement eliminates mail-order and Internet suppliers. Patients love getting their lenses at no shipping cost and saving a trip back to the office to pick them up.

If you like to stock lenses for price breaks, virtual "banks" are available. You prepay CooperVision for a certain number of lenses, which they keep on record. Price breaks start with a minimum bank size of 50 boxes and increase to 200 boxes. Special pricing is available for first-time bank purchases.

The Ascend lens is front surface aspheric, and the back surface is spherical.

Who benefits?

Patients who can benefit from this lens include:

Mild astigmats. The Ascend lens can mask small amounts of astigmatism. When fitting astigmatics, I ignore the cylinder if it's 0.50D or less and fit slightly less than the spherical equivalent if it's 0.75D or more.

While I typically use a toric lens for astigmatism greater than 0.75D, I've used the Ascend in place of a toric when the patient insisted on a lens that was less expensive than what I recommended (Ascend lens prices generally fall between the leading 2-week disposables and toric lenses).

This usually works, especially for those who have with-the-rule astigmatism. I've used the Ascend on up to 1.50D of astigmatism OU with satisfactory results. Even better, patients who have spherical refractions usually note that their vision is more precise with the Ascend lens than with other soft spherical disposable lenses.

Monovision wearers. Because breaking down binocularity causes such a handicap for some patients, the aspheric design of the Ascend lens is great for giving patients that extra contrast sensitivity needed for their most demanding tasks.

Post-surgical patients. The Ascend lens works great on post-refractive surgery patients who need low amounts of correction. Since having bilateral laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) 2 years ago, I've had a stable central island OS. Best corrected visual acuity in that eye is 20/30, and with only a -0.25D Ascend lens, I see 20/20+ with that eye compared to 20/30 with other lenses.

Many LASIK patients end up with low amounts of remaining myopia or hyperopia. The Ascend lens can help these difficult-to-fit patients without their having to resort to a rigid gas permeable lens.

You can see it in their eyes

In the world of managed care and third-party contact lens suppliers, it's important to differentiate your practice from others. I did, and it shows in the eyes of my happy patients.

DR. HELLUMS IS IN SOLO PRACTICE AT SOUTHAVEN VISION CENTER IN SOUTHAVEN, MISS. YOU CAN REACH HIM AT DRHELLUMS@SOUTHAVENVISION.COM.

 


Optometric Management, Issue: March 2002