contact lens practice pearls
Make Challenging Contact Lens Patients Worth Your Time
BY THOMAS G. QUINN, OD, MS, FAAO
Is it worth it?
You probably ask yourself this question every time a special design contact lens candidate sits in your chair and shares his enthusiasm for pursuing that mode of correction. How can you make tackling the challenging contact lens patient a worthwhile venture?
Communicate the Options
Any venture worth pursuing must have some chance for success. If a patient has unrealistic expectations, then no amount of effort on your part will meet his needs.
To succeed, you must first present corrective options in a realistic light. Skipping this step is like heading to the beach without sun tan lotion: The longer you're there, the more likely you are to get burned! Once you explain the give and take of various forms of correction, you can help many patients meet their visual goals through contact lens correction.
Commit to the Fit
Too often we balk at the outset when faced with challenging fits. Images of unhappy patients and multiple visits flash through our heads. Before we know it, we find ourselves enthusiastically informing the patient, "You look great in eyeglasses!"
Expect to succeed with special design contact lenses. Patients sense a "can do" attitude. It gives them confidence in you and staying power during the fitting process. Without using too much jargon, tell the patient what steps you're taking to solve his vision problem. If the patient has a sense of what's going on, then he'll be more likely to act as a "team player" as you work through the process of fitting a special design contact lens.
1 "C"ing Your
Way To Success
These three "Cs" will help you succeed with special design
Once you're committed to providing torics, bifocals, corneal reshaping or simple GP lenses, become familiar with the tools you have at your disposal. What's the basis of design? What are the characteristics of the material? How often should patients replace the lenses? What parameters are available? What's the manufacturer's exchange policy? Do the diagnostic lens kits offer a large array of available parameters? Are the diagnostic lens kits easy to use?
Once you're familiar with what's out there, read journals, listen to speakers and talk to your colleagues to get an idea of what lenses work best on which patients. Sound like a lot of work? Think of it as a journey. The more information you have, the more likely it is that you'll arrive at your desired destination. Develop a curious attitude to carry you through to success.
What About the Bottom Line?
How many of you want to add the word "financially" to my opening question, "Is it worth it?" when fitting special design contact lenses? The answer is, "It can be."
But all the fancy fee formulas and impressive practice promotions don't amount to a hill of beans without communication, commitment, and curiosity (Table 1). Commit to learn and you'll earn!
Dr. Quinn is in group practice in Athens, Ohio, and has served as a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.