Contact Lens Practice Pearls
Will You Be One of the 8 Percent In 2012?
By Jason R. Miller, OD, MBA, FAAO
I have declared 2012 in my practice the Year of the Contact Lens Wearer. I plan to present and discuss contact lenses with every patient in my examination chair, whether or not they currently wear lenses. This may sound easy, but I anticipate some challenges. Consider, for example, a patient who just about grabs my arm when I try to instill drops in his eyes. He may not be the best candidate for contact lenses, but if I can convert him, I can convert anyone. I love a challenge.
With such an ambitious resolution, I know I will need a plan. In this column, I have outlined some of the strategies I will use, some of which you may be able to use in your practice.
Current Lens Wearers
To maximize success with current contact lens wearers, I plan to present new options to every patient and actively discuss new materials and modalities, along with their health benefits.
Daily disposable lenses, for example, offer many advantages, not the least of which is the convenience of having fresh lenses every day without needing to clean them and keep track of a replacement schedule. Children, teens and their parents often appreciate these benefits. Patients who want freedom from eyeglasses at certain times—when traveling, participating in sports or on weekends—are great candidates for daily disposable lenses for part-time wear. This modality is also useful for patients who have a history of noncompliance or sensitivity to solutions or materials.
Another opportunity exists among current lens wearers who have astigmatism. Some of these patients may be wearing spherical equivalent lenses, which do not provide the optimal vision that can be achieved with toric lenses. In addition, new daily disposable lenses in toric designs give us yet another opportunity to engage current and potential contact lens wearers with this convenient modality.
Specialty Lens Wearers
This year, I will also focus on medically necessary contact lenses, such as those designed for keratoconus, post-trauma and postsurgical corneas, irregular and high astigmatism, orthokeratology, myopia regression/prevention and patients who have poor visual acuity with spectacle lenses. Patients who need specialty lenses tend to require more preparation, chair time, staff time and doctor time, and they can be more demanding than other patients. For that reason, my staff and I will review billing and coding rules for these patients. We will also develop a protocol, so that everyone is on board when these patients come in. In addition, we will determine which fitting sets are most important to keep in the office.
Discussing this new goal with my staff is important, but that alone will not drive success. We will need to take a unified approach to growing our contact lens-wearing population. This means developing a targeted marketing program, which may include talking to local ophthalmologists, primary care physicians and school nurses. External and internal advertising, including newsletters, e-mails, websites and social media will generate interest and excitement among patients and staff.
I have read that only 8 percent of people keep their New Year's resolutions. I hope to be among that 8 percent by striving to be more deliberate with my contact lens business in 2012. CLS
For reference, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references.asp and click on document #194.
Dr. Miller is in a partnership private practice in Powell, Ohio, and he is an adjunct faculty member for The Ohio State University College of Optometry. He has received honoraria for writing, speaking, acting in an advisory capacity, or research from Alcon, Argent Media, Aton Pharma, CooperVision and Hoya. You can reach him at email@example.com.