Optimizing Compliance, Long-Term Success with GP Lenses
BY EDWARD S. BENNETT, OD, MSED
It's evident that one of the common methods of educating new GP-wearing patients about noncompliance is based on experiences with past GP wearers. These negative episodes could include the following.
► A young progressive myopic first-time overnight orthokeratology GP wearer remembers her parents telling her to clean the lenses before applying them at night — and proceeds to apply the lens with the cleaning solution (Ouch #1).
► A GP wearer, accustomed to using the cheapest solution, realizes he's out of solution. He simply uses his sister's soft lens hydrogen peroxide solution (Ouch #2).
► A long-term GP wearer also uses whatever costs less. With his latest purchase he complains of a low-grade burning and redness after applying the lenses. The ingredients of this generic solution indicate that it could be used with GP lenses. However, it's not recommended for the material in use and appears similar to solutions once recommended for PMMA and first-generation GPs.
► Another long-term GP wearer enters the office with blurry vision. Upon inspecting his lenses with the biomicroscope it's evident that a thick mucoprotein film is present on the front surface of both lenses. When asked if he needs a case, he produces his own — which is filthy.
Do these sound familiar? One way to minimize these problems is to ensure that patients have a large quantity of the recommended care system.
When dispensing lenses, offer a two- to three-month supply of solutions so patients become accustomed to using that system. Most patients will continue to use the recommended solution, especially if it's affordable. Educate them about the possible problems that may result if they use a nonrecommended system.
Also emphasize that they need to clean GP lenses upon removal and place them into a clean case with fresh disinfecting solution.
Offering a Solution
Next in the noncompliance prevention formula is to sell solutions in the office. If you can sell bulk packs (or large quantities) of the recommended solution(s) at a reduced fee relative to retail stores, there are several benefits.
First, patients have incentives to use the recommended care system, which they can likely purchase at a lower fee than other brands. Second, you reduce the number of poor compliance-induced problems, including reduced vision, red eyes, infections, corneal abrasions and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Finally, selling solutions can serve as an additional profit center for the practice.
An important component of providing bulk packs or selling solutions is providing patients with several cases every time they receive their supply. It's evident that many contact lens-induced complications result from contaminated cases. Providing patients with a large quantity of cases, along with educating them on their cleaning, is a viable program to minimize case contamination-induced complications.
Follow-up evaluations represent the perfect time to diplomatically quiz patients about lens care and compliance. Are they cleaning the lenses upon removal in the palm of the hand? What solutions are they using? Are they cleaning their case and replacing it regularly? Follow ups also provide the opportunity to provide patients with additional cases.
A goal of every contact lens practice is to optimize patient success. Providing patients with the opportunity to have an ample supply of the prescribed care regimen as well as lens cases makes an already safe modality even more problem-free. CLS
Dr. Bennett is an associate professor of optometry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and is executive director of the GP Lens Institute.