Article

CLINICAL: CONTACT LENSES

CREATE AN ORTHO-K NICHE

FIVE STEPS TO KICK OFF ORTHOKERATOLOGY IN YOUR PRACTICE

CONSIDER SUZIE, 28, a current myopic contact lens wearer who presents to your chair complaining of comfort issues with her soft contact lenses. She is passionate about nutrition and lives an active lifestyle by going to the gym and biking regularly.

Suzie, and patients like her, could benefit from a contact lens appliance that can correct their vision while they sleep. Here’s how to build orthokeratology (ortho-k) into your practice.

1 EQUIP YOUR OFFICE

This starts with having fitting sets and the proper equipment. There are a few manufacturer options to consider for ortho-k lenses. Discuss your desire for a diagnostic fitting set with your sales representative for each lens you choose to offer. Guides provided in the fitting set will help you to make adjustments during the fitting process. If you are stumped, utilize the manufacturer’s consultants.

A corneal topographer also is critical to analyzing the treatment zone, as a decentered lens or inadequate treatment zone poses threats to success.

2 SET EXPECTATIONS

Explain to the patient what his or her visual expectations should be during the initial transition to ortho-k. I accomplish this by describing the science that goes into this process as he or she sleeps. For example: “The lens is a reverse-shaped contact lens system that is customized for your cornea. It will use a variety of fitting zones to change the refractive power of the cornea and correct your vision. As a result, you can experience fluctuations in your vision during this process, which can take a few days to a week until your vision start to stabilize.”

Be ready to handle early fluctuating or blurred vision, which may derail early success, with soft daily lenses. For example, if fitting a 3.00D myope with ortho-k, provide a -1.00D daily disposable lens to wear for those first few days to use as needed.

3 ORGANIZE YOUR SCHEDULE

Prepare your office for ortho-k fitting by developing your protocol. For example, make sure your staff is ready for that initial insertion and removal training and can provide care instructions. Additionally, get everyone on board for your typical follow-up schedule, like one day, one week, one month, etc.

It also is important to understand how to discuss your fees. “Suzie, these lenses are customized for your eyes and carry a higher cost, but will provide you the freedom from contact lens or spectacle wear during the day. My staff will discuss your exact fees and our payment options.”

4 CREATE BUZZ

Develop a unified marketing approach built on patient success stories. Encourage successful ortho-k patients to describe their experiences. Ask them probing questions, such as “What do you like best about wearing this type of contact lens appliance?” Market patient testimonials internally to your current patients and externally to area health care professionals, including ophthalmologists, primary care physicians and school nurses. Utilize this campaign in your newsletters, websites and social media.

5 SET A GOAL

Set a personal goal for the number of ortho-k fits you’d like to see per month. Evaluate this goal regularly, and celebrate with your staff and associate doctors when your office reaches it. It may be one fit a month in the beginning, but encourage that goal as everyone gets more comfortable with the technology. OM