NARROWING THE CONTACT LENS FIELD
By PHYLLIS L. RAKOW, COMT, NCLE-AC, FCLSA(H), Princeton, N.J.
Who's the first person to talk to potential contact lens wearers in your practice? Most likely it's you -- the trusty contact lens technician. Here are four questions you need to answer before sending your patients home with their brand new lenses.
1. Why does your patient want to wear contact lenses? Will he use them primarily for work or play? What kind of work does he do? Asking patients about their motivations, expectations and preconceptions is a good way to find out which contact lens is best for them.
2. Can you trust your patient to take care of his lenses properly? Be wary of patients who are unwilling or unable to follow instructions, paying special attention to hygiene and personal appearance. Prescribing extended wear or overnight lenses to someone who will abuse them is a recipe for disaster.
3. How healthy is your patient? The risk of dry eye, one of the leading causes of contact lens drop-out, increases with some chronic conditions such as allergies, thyroid disease and arthritis.
4. How healthy are your patient's eyes? When examining and fitting your patient for contact lenses, be on the lookout for any abnormalities that could interfere with success. The presence of corneal or conjunctival scars, corneal dystrophies or significant astigmatism may rule out certain lens modalities or disqualify a patient for lenses altogether.