Article

CLINICAL: CONTACT LENSES

PREVENT DROPOUT

CONTACT LENS DISCONTINUATION IS PAINFUL FOR ALL INVOLVED

CONTACT LENSES are a pillar in my eye care practice. Many positive features exist for the patient to wear contact lenses and to your eye care business for offering them. But with contact lens wear also comes dropouts. Or does it?

Read more from Jason Miller

As eye care practitioners, we hear a lot about contact lens dropouts and the lost revenue associated with each. We lose between $177 and $326 annually per dropout, according to Review of Optometry; this sum does not include potential referrals from that patient. This lost revenue per dropout equates to lost revenue of between $19,497 and $24,556 through the patient’s lifetime.

We, obviously, cannot prevent every dropout, but we can decrease the numbers by addressing every contact lens wearer as a potential dropout using these two steps:

1 ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Doing so will provide more insight into the patient’s contact lens-wearing experience and, potentially, identify trouble spots, such as ocular dryness. Many patients do not like to complain and will not offer this information without prompting. Instead of asking, “Are your contact lenses comfortable,” consider a more specific battery of questions:

A. “At what time do you take out your contact lenses?” Follow up with “Why?” if the answer is earlier than you expect.

B. “At what time do your lenses start feeling dry?”

C. “At what time of day do you start to experience blurry or fluctuating vision?”

D. “Are you using any coping strategies, like artificial tears, blinking or rubbing your eyes, to help get you through the contact lens-wearing day?”

Involve the Staff

Don’t forget both steps start with your staff. Include staff members in contact lens discussions, so they understand why you may be refitting a patient. They also need to understand potential coping strategies and potential solutions for those patients. Take them through your fitting philosophy and why you may be using a specific lens for a visual concern. Staff is key!

2 OFFER THE UPGRADE

If you are following the, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, consider re-evaluating that approach. Your patients want to hear from you, their eye care professional, whether there is something that may help their eyesight and comfort. Let the patient know of a potential innovation in their specific visual category (spherical, astigmatism, presbyopic etc.). If you don’t tell them, someone else will, according to June 2009’s Contact Lens Spectrum.

Consider a script like this, “I know your contact lenses have been working OK for you for comfort and vision, but I wanted you to know there are many new lens innovations for you to consider. There are contact lenses that have enhanced moisture agents, which may maximize your comfortable wearing hours. Have you considered trying something new? I can go over some options with you, if you’d like.”

ONE PATIENT AT A TIME

Contact lens dropouts are painful to your patients and your practice. Patients do not want to dropout, but they lose faith in their lenses’ ability to satisfy their visual needs and comfort. Consider this two-step strategy to attack dropout one patient at a time. OM