In today's world of shrinking insurance reimbursement, we are always looking for ways to increase per-patient revenue. I have written on and believe in doctor-driven dispensing, but besides prescribing the best glasses modality, I bring up the possibility for part-time contact lens wear. In the past, we always thought of a patient as a full-time contact lens wearer or a glasses wearer, but with the advancement of daily disposables, more people are considering part-time wear. Besides that, the world of baby boomers is exploding, and they have disposable income to boot.
When I am in the exam room talking about what my patients need and why (doctor-driven dispensing), I ask them if they ever considered wearing contacts. The first thing they do is tell me; “No, I do not want to wear contacts all the time.” This is where I implant the idea of part-time wear. I ask them if they ever thought of wearing contacts for going to the gym or playing softball or going out on a date? Most people never even consider this. I tell them now with the advancement of daily disposable contacts we can get them a box of 90 lenses for each eye. This gives them the ability to wear contacts 90 times in the next year. I tell them if they get low we can always get them more contacts. Most of the time, they say yes. While I go get them a set of contacts we run a corneal topographer on them. They still get their glasses but now I am able to generate the contact lens examination fee, which includes the follow up, which I do when they pick up their glasses. There is not another visit required so they are happy. This a very efficient way of introducing new wearers to contact lenses. Interestingly, many of them decide to continue wearing the contacts into the following year.
This also brings up the possibility of introducing the presbyopes to multifocal contacts. Multifocal designs are getting better and easier to fit. I have found my success rate increased when I follow the specified fitting guide. Manufacturers have spent the time to perfect the fitting guides to make our lives easier—so use it.
I am always looking for a way to maximize my per-patient revenue by prescribing everything my patient needs to make their lives more comfortable. Part-time contact lens schedules are just that extra gift to both the patient and my bottom line. I get a contact lens exam fee and revenue from the boxes and glasses and they get freedom from glasses when they are exercising or enjoying their free time. How is that for a win-win situation? This is an easy thing for you to do; it does not cost anything extra in terms of equipment, and the patient is already there. Next time you’re in the exam room doing your doctor-driven dispensing, mention it to your patient and see what happens—you will be pleasantly surprised.
Eric White, OD is the owner of Complete Family Vision Care Optometry in San Diego, CA. He is a clinical investigator for several contact lens companies having participated on over 420 clinical studies. Dr. White has published several articles on contact lenses and given numerous talks on contact lenses, eye safety, computer vision syndrome and practice management. Dr. White was awarded the 2012 Transitions National Eyecare Practice of the Year, the 2014 Vision Monday Innovator of the Year, the 2015 Transitions Ambassador of the Year and the 2017 San Diego County Optometrist of the Year. For questions or comments about this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.