Make Presbyopia a Focus
Introduce specialty contact lenses to this patient demographic.
JASON R. MILLER, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Offer presbyopic patients visual freedom by minimizing dependency on glasses, and you’ll generate revenue from satisfied patients. Many newly diagnosed presbyopic patients have grown up with contact lenses (CLs) and have been told they can’t wear CLs, or CLs have not been discussed with them at all.
Studies have shown that if you don’t present this option to these patients, they will find another provider who will.1 Conversely, by successfully transforming this patient population into multifocal CL wearers, you may gain their respect and develop them as ambassadors for your practice.
Here, I explain how to satisfy presbyopic patients with contact lenses.
Set the stage.
When discussing multifocal CLs with patients, present them in a positive way while setting realistic expectations. One way is to touch on the technology. Tell them the lenses deliver near, intermediate and distance correction simultaneously. Explain the gradual change between viewing zones, and, when beginning to fit, let patients know you may err on the side of better distance vision and improve the near area as the fitting process continues.
When you set the stage ahead of time, the patient understands the process and has a high likelihood for success.
Multifocal CL Fitting Quick Tips
• Understand the design and gain experience with the various multifocal lens designs to become proficient with the lenses.
• Small change in the prescription can make a large improvement in the patient’s visual abilities and range of vision.
• Involve your patient with the final decision. I often ask what they prefer and let them know if we are between lenses.
Customize the fit and design.
Identify the patients’ occupations, hobbies and daily visual requirements by personally asking them how they use their vision throughout the day. This aids in properly identifying their visual needs and discussing proper expectations ahead of time to customize the multifocal CLs to the patient’s daily visual tasks.
For example, I would change my technique slightly if a presbyopic patient says he/she spends a lot of time in a car (a little more distance or lower add power) vs. someone who sits behind a computer most of the day (a little more near and higher add powers).
Streamline follow-up appointments.
Be ready to make adjustments at the follow-up appointment to satisfy the patient’s needs. Even a small change in the prescription can make a large improvement in the patient’s visual abilities.
If you made your initial calculations correctly, you are basically customizing or fine-tuning the CL to the patient’s demands. Ask straightforward visual function questions, such as “How do you feel you are seeing at distance, intermediate and near?”
Some things may still be difficult for patients (such as the ability to read pill bottle-sized print), but flexibility is important.
Grow your CL business.
Multifocal CL designs will assist you in tapping into the presbyopic demographic. Not only do these lenses provide a rational approach to solving these patients’ concerns, they yield an option to prevent CL dropouts. OM
1. Studebaker J. “Soft Multifocals: Practice Growth Opportunity” Contact Lens Spectrum June 2009.
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.