The Three Secrets of My GP Fitting Success
BY JASON MORRIS, OD
The esteemed eyecare professionals who write and speak about GP lenses have always made a strong case for me to fit GP lenses. But like many practitioners, my fitting set sits collecting dust. I'm a common man. I still call them rigid lenses, I order them empirically and adjust the fit with an old, yellowed fit card in hand. I like success and have some insecurity about not exceeding my patient's expectations.
With my vanilla self-portrayal, you may be surprised that I've fit 10 presbyopes with GP bifocal lenses in the past month.
Find the Right Tools
My first personal experience wearing rigid lenses was awful. I've never forgotten my inept clinic partner jamming a misfit lens into my virgin eye. This likely subconsciously contributed to my early lack-luster performance as a rigid lens fitter. Until I found a GP partner who could design and fabricate a lens in which I felt confident, I'm sure that my patients sensed my apprehension. Finding the right GP partner is step one. If you send great K readings and a perfect prescription, expect the lens to fit!
My home run GP bifocal lens is ABB Optical's Versare in Boston XO (Bausch & Lomb). It's wet shipped and ready to go with a nice kit and starter solution. I've simply found no other rigid lens that has the same impact on my practice. Patients love the vision and find it worth the initial adaptation.
I love its simplicity. One of the uncomplicated, time-saving concepts that Versare and ABB deliver is fit and power independence. I can change the power of a lens without fear that my textbook fit will end up decentered.
Great GP lab partners like ABB Optical distill lens complexity and deliver confidence, simplicity and success through their technology, products and extras.
Choose the Right Patients
Step two to my GP success: I realize some comfort fitting GPs by stacking my patient selection. By far, presbyopes represent the greatest portion of my new fits. I approach the unstoppable march of short-armed (visually speaking) patients into our practices with an honest, simple message: "Monovision and soft bifocal lenses are both compromises and simply cannot compete with a rigid lens's multifocal optics."
This demographic is highly motivated, demanding and has seemingly less corneal sensitivity because of pride, age or years of soft lens wear. It's a perfect storm, and these folks are by far the easiest group to coach through week one.
Nix the Free Trial
I'm no expert fitter, but my best GP contact lens pearl and step three is to take credit and charge for what you do. I believe that charging for diagnostic fitting mentally motivates patients. You can say to a prospective patient, "Mrs. Jones, this custom lens is designed just for you, which will translate into better vision and the best possible comfort. The lenses are $400 but if you aren't satisfied for some reason, you won't be stuck with something you can't wear. It's a $50 minimum charge."
These may seem like shortcuts to old-school pros, but success for me is a delighted patient (not 20/happy) at that week one follow-up.
Dr Morris is Director of Business Development and Professional Services for ABB Optical and is in private practice in Ontario, Canada.