Dr. Hoscheit's Perspective
was a brief phone call, but it started Carol Elliott on a road to contact lens success
... and it's a road that needn't be the one "less traveled."
"Carol, I just read about something.
Will you try a new contact lens for me?" I asked. "Absolutely!" she answered quickly.
As it turned out, we'd hit on just the right lens for her the culmination
of a weeks-long process.
SIMPLE, SUCCESSFUL PROCESS
Carol's prescription combines the big three of
vision correction hyperopia, presbyopia and astigmatism and I told
her up front that finding the right contact lenses would be a process. I make sure
my patients know about this process, and then I can go as far as their motivation
will take me. I use all the options at my disposal to find the right lenses.
I started Carol in gas permeable multifocal
lenses, but she had continued lens awareness. Soft toric monovision lenses weren't
right for her either.
Many of my patients have had experiences
similar to Carol's with other doctors, who stopped the process right here. But I
believe we need to think outside the box.
If current lens designs don't work
for a particular patient, I put his or her name and "special needs" on a list. When
I read about something new a lens or dry eye treatment, for example
I check the list to see if one of my "special needs" patients might be a candidate.
That's just what happened with Carol. When I saw a journal article about a soft
toric multifocal lens, I called Carol right away, and then I called the company
and ordered a diagnostic pair. The lenses work great for Carol.
Specialty contact lens fitting can
take time and carries a sizeable fitting fee, but to me, the payoff is when patients
say, "I don't have to worry that you won't know about or won't try
something new." After all, studies have shown patients will leave our practices
if they think we don't know about the latest developments.
For patients who are Carol's age (61), it's important
to suggest contact lenses proactively. Often, they don't ask because they think
they're "too old" or they might seem vain.
About 45% of my contact lens patients
are over 40. In fact, I've gained a reputation as the "eye doctor to see" among
mature patients interested in contact lenses. My patients know I have a lot
of tools in my toolbox, and I do a lot of work with dry eye, another issue for mature
patients. What's more, I'm over 40 myself, so I empathize with mature patients.
Word gets out.
Carol is having some dry eye issues
now. We changed her lens solution, and now she uses Systane Lubricant Eye Drops
on application and removal and Blink Contacts Lubricant Eye Drops during the day.
If this regimen isn't adequate, I'll do a tear film analysis and go from there.
Carol attended a party recently and told several
friends about her new contact lenses. Many of these people called me to learn more,
and I've fit several in specialty lenses since then.
Patients like Carol reinforce the value
of building relationships and exceeding expectations. When I do that, I don't need
to worry about retention and referrals. I believe Carol will be my patient for life.
Ann Hoscheit, OD
Summit Eye Associates