Article

CLINICAL: Contact Lenses

Planning for the Future

Know the numbers to improve your contact lens business

As 2019 comes to an end, now is a great time to evaluate where the practice is and where it is going with regard to the contact lens mar-ket. It is important to understand, evaluate and track trends in the industry and in the practice to assess the health of the business. With the numbers garnered from these items, optometrists can make the changes needed to positively influence these numbers. Here’s how.

WHERE YOU’RE AT

O.D.s should start with understanding where their practice is with some key metrics, specifically units sold. Optometrists can obtain this report from multiple sources, such as the contact lens distributors or their practice management systems.

  • Daily disposable. O.D.s should know what percent of total contact lens sales this is at and how it compares to the entire industry. (One place to find such numbers is in OM’s sister publication, Contact Lens Spectrum’s annual report, published in January.) If the optometrist is lagging behind, she should consider ways to improve her daily disposable numbers. This may include a change in management or a campaign to get all the staff discussing and prescribing daily disposables as the go-to contact lens in the practice. (Read more about trends in daily disposable lenses at bit.ly/36HoXHU .)
  • Multifocal. Optometrists should look over the number of multifocal units the practice has sold and how it compares to industry numbers. This is an area of opportunity, as the number of patients entering into presbyopia is a growing area. O.D.s should ask themselves: “Is my practice doing a good job of growing contact lenses in this specific population? If not, how can that be addressed moving into next year?” (Read more about offering multifocal contact lenses at bit.ly/2JSNL68 .)
  • Specialty. This area of contact lens prescription covers anything billed as medically necessary or orthokeratology. Consider adding a new fit set to energize this area for 2020.

WHERE YOU’RE GOING

Optometrists should create their own spreadsheets, track contact lens capture rates and sales over the next year, focusing on the increase of each category to evaluate growth throughout the year. (O.D.s can do this by pulling a report from their practice management systems or third-party vendors.) (See below.)

  • Contact lens capture rate. Optometrists should look at the forces that may be attacking this number, such as commoditization and convenience. Next, they should focus on ways to keep this sale in the practice. Examples include proper pricing, ease of ordering and excellent customer service.
    With regard to the latter, the practice may be able to improve customer service with exchanges and order changes after a prescription change.
  • Contact lens sales numbers. My perception is that when patients consider their lenses as a commodity, they are more likely to buy somewhere else. Offering new technology can improve this number. O.D.s should lead with the best for patients. (Read more on this topic at bit.ly/2NnJkCI .)
CONTACT LENS SEGMENTS: PERCENT OF TOTAL CONTACT LENS SALES COMPARED TO INDUSTRY
INDUSTRY PRACTICE DIFFERENCE
DAILY DISPOSABLE UNITS 38% 30% 8%
MULTIFOCAL UNITS 8% 3% 5%

ROOM FOR GROWTH

Optometrists should focus on a few small areas of growth opportunities in 2020. Also, they should get staff and fellow doctors on board with these plans, including in daily disposable lenses, multifocal lenses, specialty lenses and contact lens capture rates. Growth in contact lens sales numbers — and satisfied patients — can be the result of these focused efforts. OM