Article Date: 1/1/2005

contact lens management
Take Another Look at Two-Week Daily Wear
Don't miss out on a great way to satisfy patients and increase profits.
JAMES A. SIMONSON, O.D.

Flash back to a couple of years ago. My interest in two-week daily wear contact lenses had faded. Their technology had been surpassed by monthly silicone hydrogels and at the time, I was surprised to read that they still accounted for 80% of most optometrists' contact lens practices. As an eyecare professional who prides himself on his forward-thinking approach, I considered two-week daily wear yesterday's news. I prescribed it when there was no other choice, but it represented just 10% to 15% of the fits in my practice.

Fast-forward to today. Two-week daily wear accounts for 65% of my fits and I'm a great fan of this modality, promoting it to patients whenever I can.

They won me over

What happened? I didn't take a step backward, rather two-week daily wear leaped forward. My experience with the first silicone hydrogel in this modality, Acuvue Advance Brand Contact Lenses with Hydraclear, has proved to me that the cutting-edge technology behind two-week daily wear can surpass that of monthly lenses, formerly the mainstay of my practice. (Another two-week daily wear silicone hydrogel, CIBA Vision's O2Optix, recently came on the market. I haven't had any experience with it yet, but it will be interesting to see how it compares with Night & Day, my former lens preference, because they incorporate similar technology.)

Acuvue Advance with Hydraclear features an internal wetting agent.

Comfort, cleanliness and cost

As with monthly silicone hydrogels, the latest two-week daily wear lenses have high oxygen transmissibility, which I consider vital to maintaining eye health. But a high level of oxygen isn't enough to guarantee comfort. The lens material in Acuvue Advance with Hydraclear contains a humectant and lubricant that helps to prevent dryness -- a high priority anywhere, especially here in the arid, high-altitude suburb of Denver where I practice.

In addition, the new generation of two-week daily wear lenses retains the traditional advantages of this modality. Two-week replacement means cleaner, clearer contact lenses. Lower cost to the patient is another plus that makes these lenses an easy sell.

Easy transition for patients

My patients have embraced two-week daily wear silicone hydrogels as enthusiastically as I have. I believe people appreciate being given the chance to try these new lenses. In the case of Acuvue Advance with Hydraclear, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.'s satisfaction guarantee makes it a risk-free decision. Even my patients who wore a 30-day continuous wear lens found the transition to daily wear easy; most of them hadn't even been wearing their lenses overnight.

The comfort that two-week daily wear silicone hydrogels provide have won over my patients. The difference is dramatic: When people try Acuvue Advance with Hydraclear, they notice immediately that the lenses feel wetter and more comfortable. And because these lenses allow an ample amount of oxygen to pass through, they promote eye health -- a benefit that patients may not realize right away, but that they appreciate over time. These lenses also block 90% of ultra-violet (UV)-A radiation and 99% of UV-B, providing added protection to the cornea and to the eye when worn outdoors.

A boost for business

Shifting my focus to two-week daily wear has increased my contact lens sales. Existing patients are switching from monthly to two-week and new patients (including those referred by satisfied friends and family members) are requesting them when they come in for a fitting. I've regained business from former dropouts who can once again wear contact lenses all day without dryness, redness and discomfort. I'm certain these lenses have helped me to retain patients who otherwise might have become dropouts.

Whenever a product or technology helps me to do a better job of meeting patients' needs, it strengthens my relationship with them. It boosts staff morale too: The more satisfied my patients are, the happier my staff.

Perhaps most importantly, two-week daily wear hydrogels have helped me differentiate my business from the competition's. Offering the latest lens technology helps me position my practice on the cutting edge -- and in my view, that's the only place to be.

DR. SIMONSON GRADUATED FROM ILLINOIS COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY IN 1979 AND WAS IN PRIVATE PRACTICE IN DENVER FROM 1979 THROUGH 1986. SINCE THEN HE HAS BEEN AFFILIATED AS A LEASEHOLDER WITH LENSCRAFTERS AND CURRENTLY MANAGES TWO FRANCHISES IN THE DENVER AREA. DR. SIMONSON WORKS AS A CONSULTANT FOR VISTAKON, A DIVISION OF JOHNSON & JOHNSON VISION CARE INC., AND BAUSCH & LOMB.

 


Optometric Management, Issue: January 2005