Prepare for a Surge of Color
DIANA MONEA, OD
One of the first patients in North America to
buy FreshLook One-Day (CIBA Vision) colored contact lenses was a 40-year-old male
construction worker who had aqua-colored eyes. He was married
and had children. He bought both blue lenses and green lenses. I know because he
was the first patient whom I fit as part of a pilot project with CIBA for the company's
new Fresh-Look One-Day lenses. Fresh-Look One-Day is a daily disposable colored
contact lens manufactured in the same nelfilcon A material used to manufacture CIBA's
Focus Dailies daily disposable lenses.
That construction worker helped me realize the possibilities
associated with this new lens. If he'd come in the day before, I probably wouldn't
have offered colored contact lenses to him. After all, he didn't fit anyone's stereotype
of a typical cosmetic colored lens wearer. And, like many practitioners, I'm hesitant
to suggest colored lenses to any patient who might wear them infrequently. I don't
like the idea that those lenses spend weeks or even months in a contact
lens storage case. Yet that first encounter helped me realize that FreshLook One-Day
lenses could completely change my colored contact lens practice.
Colored Lens Barriers
To truly see the impact that daily disposable colored contact
lenses can have, it's important to see what the obstacles to colored lens prescribing
have been. You'll note that each of the following traditional concerns about colored
contact lens fittings practically disappear with the introduction of a daily disposable
colored contact lens.
Compliance Some practitioners worry about how patients
are using their colored contact lenses. Do those lenses float in dirty cases for
days at a time? Are patients cleaning and disinfecting the lenses properly?
A daily disposable modality makes those concerns obsolete.
With FreshLook One-Day lenses, even occasional colored lens wearers apply a fresh,
sterile pair each time they wear their lenses. Just like Focus Dailies, FreshLook
One-Day lenses are designed for single-use compliance.
Chair Time Many practitioners avoid colored contact
lens discussions, fearing that engaging patients with colored lens choices will
add to increased chair time. But just as a daily disposable lens made it easier
for me to introduce patients to part-time contact lens wear, FreshLook One-Day lenses
made it easy for me to introduce colored lens wear. In my practice today, many of
my soft spherical lens patients whose prescriptions are available in the Focus Dailies
parameters wear those lenses. And even if it's not a patient's primary lens, I strongly
suggest that every patient keep some Focus Dailies on hand for the times when they're
traveling, are recuperating from an illness, suffering from ocular allergies or
when they simply want added convenience. No refit is required from Focus Dailies
to FreshLook One-Day, which has significantly reduced my colored lens chair time.
Also, FreshLook One-Day is currently available in Canada in only
three colors pure hazel, blue and green which simplifies the color
selection process. (In the United States, FreshLook One-Day will launch in these
three colors and also in gray.)
In our office, we allow patients to try on a different plano colored
lens in each eye. They keep on their preferred color, then we remove the other color
and try on the third color. Many patients buy at least one color when allowed that
Cost Some practitioners expect that patients
who are interested in colored lenses, such as teens, aren't likely to pay a premium.
But at a retail price per box lower than the existing FreshLook ColorBlends lenses,
cost has not been an issue in our practice.
In the past, I've had patients who have ordered colored contact
lenses but then decided that they didn't like them for some reason. They'd want
to return the unused portions for credit or exchange, and it was a hassle for the
office staff. But at this price, occasional colored lens wearers are more likely
to be satisfied. Most women spend more on makeup, hairstyles or accessories than
they do on two packs of daily disposable colored contact lenses.
The introduction of a daily disposable colored contact lens may
well be the tipping point in the colored lens market. Because the modality can make
it easier to introduce colored lens wear to more people and make it simpler
for patients to incorporate colored lens wear it will open the option to
The first and most important step is for practitioners to embrace
the idea. I believe that without the doctor's recommendation and endorsement,
technicians will find it more difficult to discuss the option with patients. Patients
tend to repeat their behavior. They won't try a new lens unless they have reason
to do so – and their doctor's advice is precisely the kind of reason they
Why Not Try Them?
Just as FreshLook One-Day lenses are removing obstacles for practitioners
who have been reluctant to prescribe colored lenses, they can do the same for patients.
During my presentation of the lens, I ask my patients, "why not try them?"
I remind myself to discard any notions of who makes a good colored
lens candidate. The old rules no longer apply. I don't limit the presentation only
to women who wear the latest fashions. I know that many female patients, whether
they're busy moms or just finishing a shift at work, might not spend time applying
makeup every morning. But I also know that when they go out for a social occasion,
they want to look their best.
Older women and men, to whom I might not before have suggested
cosmetic colored lenses, are good candidates as well. Remember the construction
worker? He momentarily balked when I suggested the lenses, but then decided to at
least try them. When he saw that the eye color change was subtle and not dramatic,
and when he realized how the color helped improve lens handling, he decided to go
In some practices, I can imagine that occasional cosmetic colored
lens wearers might wish to become regular colored lens wearers. In that case, those
patients might want to switch to FreshLook ColorBlends lenses for two-week wear.
But in my practice, I emphasize the benefits of daily disposability.
It's to patients who prefer that modality, whether for the convenience, the health
benefits or the part-time wearing option as well as to spectacle lens wearers
that I suggest daily disposable cosmetic colored lenses. In both cases, it's
an easy add-on. As I mentioned previously, current Focus Dailies patients don't
require a re-fit, and fitting potential new contact lens wearers with this lens
is generally easy and fun. In fact, I think it's important to acknowledge that cosmetic
colored lenses add an element of fun to the practice. Patients and technicians talk
about the results excitedly. Friends or other patients in the reception area are
asked their opinion. Colored lenses create a buzz that builds on itself.
Traditionally I take a cautious approach to new lenses. I remember
doing that when Focus Dailies first became available. I thought that patients wouldn't
pay a premium price for a lens they would throw away each day. It turned out that
I was wrong.
So I remembered that lesson when the FreshLook One-Day lenses
arrived in my office. And when a construction worker came in a happy Focus
Dailies wearer I asked myself, "Why not offer?" That has become my mantra.
Dr. Monea operates the three-location
Eye Health Centres in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Shawnee Station and Kensington,
Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: April 2006