Article Date: 9/1/2001

readers' forum

Justify Your Contact Lens Fees to Your Patients

BY RONALD G. SEGER, OD, FAAO, AND STEVEN B. RICHLIN, OD
September 2001

Patients around the world want contact lens practices to provide low-cost contact lenses, and sometimes they want low-cost contact lens care as well. In fact, many contact lenses are commodity items that are difficult to differentiate.  We have found that patients do not necessarily want commodity contact lenses, and they certainly don't want commodity eye health care or contact lens care.

Contact Lens Patients vs. Non-Contact Lens Patients

Contact lens practitioners perform a different exam on contact lens patients vs. how they examine non-contact lens patients. We have developed a list of customary services that represent separate and distinct services for contact lens patients.

Table 1 shows this list. We find it a useful tool for communicating with our staff and patients. In the past, patients would ask questions about contact lens service fees, but staff and patients did not have a clear understanding of what occurred in the exam room or what services were associated with the contact lens portion of the eye exam. With this list our staff can discuss clearly identified and justified procedures with patients who have questions about their eye care, contact lens care and the fees associated with each.

TABLE 1: Contact Lens Exam Services

Contact lens fees vary depending on lens type and the amount of problem-solving required, as well as from practice to practice. We charge these fees in addition to basic eye exam fees. Following is the list we use for our practices (which may not be appropriate for your practice). Our contact lens exams can include any of the following services:

1. Review of contact lens history

2. Review of current vision, comfort, handling, care solutions and other contact lens-related concerns

3. Distance visual acuity with contact lenses

4. Near visual acuity with contact lenses

5. Auto refraction over contact lenses

6. Refraction over contact lenses

7. Visual acuity with over-refraction at distance and/or near

8. Reading prescription with spectacles

9. Monovision evaluation with dominance evaluation

10. Biomicroscopic exam with contact lenses

11. Eyelid evaluation/eyelid eversion

12. Corneal topography

13. Keratometry (central corneal curvature)

14. Biomicroscopic exam without contact lenses

15. Fluorescein examination with and without contact lenses

16. Trial fitting of contact lenses

17. Visual acuity and evaluation for trial fitting

18. Discussing recommendations and treatment options

19. Reviewing patient concerns

20. Prescribing and ordering contact lenses

21. Providing contact lens solution samples

Dr. Seger is in private practice in Silicon Valley and performed research and development for several contact lens manufacturers. Dr. Richlin is the senior managing partner of a group practice in Beverly Hills, CA, and clinical vice chairman of optometry at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.



Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: September 2001