contact lens practice pearls
Providing Contact Lens Service
BY THOMAS G. QUINN, OD, MS, FAAO
Service is an interesting concept. It's something we all think we know, yet its definition can be somewhat elusive. How can we properly provide it unless we clearly understand what it means?
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines serve as “to answer the needs of.” How do we accomplish this?
It Starts With Attitude
A successful contact lens practice believes in what it's doing and carries itself with an air of competence and assurance. Contact lens services are mentioned in all communication, whether written or spoken, external or in-office. These communications focus on serving the needs and wants of patients, rather than hawking sales on contact lens prices.
For example, we have an on-hold message system that includes a segment on helping patients who suffer with contact lens-associated dryness. Another great population to tap into is the rapidly growing segment of presbyopes who can benefit greatly from today's multitude of multifocal contact lens options.
The Root of Competence
Competence comes from knowledge. Want to fit contact lenses to irregular corneas? Read articles and attend lectures on the topic. This will give you the background and perspective to know what current designs and fitting approaches are being employed successfully.
Reading and listening are important, but it is in doing that the real learning takes place. I've often said that my contact lens residency training didn't expose me to everything, but it did give me the chance to enjoy enough success with some very challenging cases to give me the confidence to tackle the next one.
Get Staff and Patients on Board
Share your interest in contact lens treatment with your staff. We hold monthly staff meetings that include an educational segment. It's a perfect time to inform the staff about contact lens developments. Not only do they learn, you communicate to them that you know your stuff! This will foster team enthusiasm for contact lenses as well as support from everyone for the recommendations you make to patients.
With consistent internal and external communication and team support, patients will recognize your interest in contact lens treatment. How do you engage them in a way that encourages their participation?
As suggested by the definition of serve, it all comes down to identifying patient needs. Endeavor to get a clear understanding of what patients do through their day, both at work and play.
Discuss Optical Benefits
Contact lens-wearing high ametropes enjoy better peripheral vision. Presbyopes in simultaneous multifocal contact lens designs experience the freedom to see at distance and near in any direction. We know this, but patients may not. It's our job to inform them.
Think of the jogger or weekend basketball player. Many of these patients put up with sweaty, slipping glasses, or simply remove their glasses and participate in these activities in a blur. Contact lenses to the rescue!
Don't forget about the ease and comfort of wearing sunglasses when wearing contact lenses. I've had many patients tell me that this is their driving motivation for contact lens wear.
With all their benefits, probably the most widely expressed motivation for contact lenses is cosmetic. They don't have to be an all or none proposition.
Open the Door
We know the benefits of contact lenses, but patients may be unaware and so may not express interest in them. We must be the initiators. Begin by understanding needs, then share the benefits of contact lenses. Now that's service! CLS
Dr. Quinn is in group practice in Athens, Ohio. He is a diplomate of the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry, an advisor to the GP Lens Institute and an area manager for Vision Source. He has served as an advisor or consultant to B+L, AMO, Coopervision, and Ciba Vision and has received research funding from AMO, B+L, Ciba Vision, Vistakon, and Paragon.