contact lens practice pearls
Another Look at Daily Disposable Lenses
BY THOMAS G. QUINN, OD, MS, FAAO
Do you fit daily disposable contact lenses? If you practice in the United States or Canada, odds are you don't very often. Are providers elsewhere in the world onto something that many of us are missing?
The convenience of daily disposable soft lenses has always been one of their most attractive features, rivaled only by continuous wear lenses. While daily disposable lenses need to be removed nightly and applied daily, this action provides the significant benefit of starting each and every day with a clean lens. This is particularly attractive for patients who tend to coat lenses quickly, such as those who suffer from allergies or dry eyes. Many daily disposable lenses are also now available in moisture-retaining lens materials.
An added advantage of daily disposable lenses over continuous wear is safety. In my experience, episodes of contact lens-induced giant papillary conjunctivitis (CLPC) and inflammatory events such as infiltrative keratitis are virtually non-existent among daily disposable lens wearers.
Recent reports highlight the importance of compatibility between lens materials and the care systems patients use to keep lenses clean and sterile. Daily disposable lenses allow us to put aside those concerns, as patients need no solutions with these lenses.
Patients who wish to wear lenses on an occasional basis are among the best candidates for daily disposable lenses. Infrequently worn re-usable lenses risk contamination as they sit for extended periods of time in cases stored in potentially undesirable surroundings such as bathroom cupboards.
Teens & Parents
Teenagers are great candidates for daily disposable lenses. This patient group tends to suffer in the areas of proper care and timely replacement of re-usable lenses. The ease of simply "wearing a day, then throwing away" improves compliance among all patients, including teens.
Parents are often enthusiastic supporters of this modality, recognizing the inherent safety for their child. It also relieves them of the need to nag children to care for their lenses properly.
The Stumbling Block
Because it's clear that daily disposable lenses offer may benefits, why aren't they the first choice for almost all soft contact lens candidates? I believe many fitters avoid them because of concerns about patient cost.
The secret to managing a patient's concern about cost lies in the presentation. Through questioning and examination, gain a clear understanding of the patient's needs. Focus on the features of daily disposable lenses that offer benefits that meet those needs. Then make the recommendation of daily disposable lenses. When you connect the dots in this way for patients, most will proceed willingly.
If patients resist because of expense, assuage their concerns by detailing savings acquired by avoiding the need to purchase lens care products. Most companies offer attractive rebates on one-day lenses, which further reduce expense.
Another helpful strategy is to break down the additional expense associated with daily disposables to a daily cost. For example, if daily disposable lenses cost $113.40 per year more than two-week replacement lenses, it breaks down to an added 31 cents per day. What a bargain for added convenience, comfort and safety! CLS
To obtain references for this article, please visit http://www.clspectrum.com/references.asp and click on document #140.
Dr. Quinn is in group practice in Athens, Ohio. He is a diplomate of the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry and an advisor to the GP Lens Institute.