contact lens practice pearls

Simple Tools for Your Contact Lens Practice

contact lens practice pearls
Simple Tools for Your Contact Lens Practice


In this high-tech age, it's easy to assume that every instrument costs a bundle. Not so. I'll discuss some simple, inexpensive tools that can contribute greatly to your contact lens practice.

The Versatile Hand Magnifier

Nearly all of us have a hand magnifier lying around that we use to measure lens diameter, optic zone size, etc. Try flipping it around to inspect the surface of a GP contact lens. This modified technique allows you to manipulate the lens in space, altering how light passes through the lens. As you hold the lens a few inches from the magnifier, point the system toward a light source (Figure 1). You'll be amazed at the surface coatings and scratches that will jump out at you.

Figure 1. Use a hand magnifier to examine GP lens surfaces.

Flipping for Flipper Lenses

Loose flipper lenses are a must for contact lens practitioners who fit presbyopes. They provide a simple and accurate method of assessing the effect of power change over a simultaneous vision multifocal contact lens. And, contrary to the phoropter, loose lenses allow you to demonstrate this change under natural lighting conditions and normal pupil size.

Don't limit your use of this simple tool to the presbyopic population. I use flipper lenses regularly to demonstrate change over single-vision contact lenses and even over spectacles. It's an easy way to show spectacle wearers who feel that their current eye wear is "okay" that they'll see much better if they update their eyeglasses.

One problem I had was deciding what to do with the flippers once I finished using them. I used to simply lay them down on the countertop. Over time, this eventually caused deep scratches in the center of the lenses. We found some great holders that keep the flippers easily accessible, but vertically oriented when not in use, sparing the lens surface. You can purchase them at

Colored Contact Lens Cases

Many of you probably have contact lens cases that patients use to temporarily store their lenses when they remove them during an office visit. If your practice is busy, then you may have experienced a few occasions in which you were uncertain about whose lenses were in which case. We've found that setting up a row of brightly colored cases reduces the likelihood of such confusion and adds a splash of color to an otherwise sterile-looking countertop.

Polishing Up

You can do many tasks with a contact lens modification unit, some of which may seem intimidating. But don't avoid this helpful tool just because you're not comfortable using it to modify secondary curves. Use it to polish! It works great for GP lenses that have a few surface scratches but otherwise aren't in bad enough shape to replace. Polishing makes a lens almost like new, and you generate a little profit.

A polishing unit can also be a lifesaver for a patient who's picking up a replacement GP lens, but complains that it doesn't feel quite right. Oftentimes a quick edge polish will do the trick.

Great Help, Little Investment

Many simple and inexpensive tools are available to assist you in caring for your contact lens patients. What are you waiting for? Put them to use!

Dr. Quinn is in group practice in Athens, Ohio, and has served as a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.