Is This the New Norm?
Are Daily Disposables the New Norm for Standard Lens Fits?
BY MILE BRUJIC, OD, FAAO, & DAVID L. KADING, OD, FAAO
Much has been said recently about daily disposable contact lenses, and rightfully so. Within the United States, we have seen daily disposable lenses go from 11% to 20% of our contact lens fits over the last five years—which is amazing growth (Nichols, 2014). So, are daily disposable lenses becoming the new norm for our standard contact lens fits?
With only a 20% capture, many would argue that they are not. But it begs the question: What is holding practitioners back from fitting these lenses? When we’ve asked practitioners around the country this question, most have said that it is the cost. We’ve also asked these same practitioners: If cost was not an issue, what modality of lens replacement would you choose for your entire patient base? We haven’t met a practitioner yet who has not said daily disposable lenses.
Daily disposable contact lenses are now available in some innovative materials. If you haven’t been keeping up, we now have several silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses, a HyperGel material, and, most recently, the first Water Gradient material.
Most of these materials are unique to the daily disposable modality in that their one-month or two-week replacement counterparts don’t have these features.
In the past, daily disposable utilization was limited significantly due to the parameter availability. This is not a concern any longer. Not only have spherical lens power ranges increased, we also have seen several toric and multifocal lens designs emerge. By the end of 2014, we will have a wide range of designs with add powers, toric powers, and axes to cover nearly all of our standard power ranges.
Although there will still be patients who are outside of the standard bell curves, this is decreasing.
We all like to think of ourselves as practitioners who make medical decisions for our patients based on what is in their best interest. That being said, we know that patients will bring up cost.
First and foremost, let’s agree that our patients trust us and come to us to make decisions based on what we feel is the healthiest option for them; ergo, it is imperative that we make such decisions without any bias toward how we perceive our patients’ financial situations.
An important point to bring up to patients is that care solution costs are nearly eliminated with the use of daily disposable lenses, which could be a major consideration depending on their care solution compliance. But most importantly, share with patients that you have chosen daily disposables for them because you feel that it is the best lens type for their eye health and comfort, both in the short and long term.
In our offices, we’ve seen a great upswing in daily disposable lenses (in Dr. Kading’s office, it is 83% to date). We have made a decision as eyecare practitioners to make the switch. Both our patients and our practices have benefited. If daily disposable lenses are not the new normal, then we do not want to be the norm. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #223.
Dr. Brujic is a partner of Premier Vision Group, a three-location optometric practice in northwest Ohio. He has received honoraria in the past two years for speaking, writing, participating in an advisory capacity, or research from Alcon Laboratories, Allergan, B+L, Optovue, Nicox, Paragon, SpecialEyes, TelScreen, Transitions, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Valley Contax, VMax Vision, VSP, and ZeaVision. Dr. Kading owns the Specialty Dry Eye and Contact Lens Center in Seattle, Wash. He is the co-owner of Optometric Insights with Dr. Brujic. He has received honoraria for consulting, performing research, speaking, and/or writing from Alcon Laboratories, Allergan, Bausch + Lomb, Biotissue, Contamac, Essilor, Nicox, Oculus, RPS Detectors, TearScience, Valley Contax, and ZeaVision. Follow him on Twitter @davekading.