Stay Close to the Cutting Edge
BY BRAD GIEDD, OD, MS, FAAO
At a recent contact lens workshop involving 30 or so optometrists, my partner told me that a group leader asked the question, "How many of you know of or have fit the latest hybrid contact lens?" My partner was the only one who had fit the new SynergEyes (SynergEyes, Inc.) lenses and one of only a handful who'd even heard of them. "Great!" I thought. With fewer practitioners fitting these new lenses, it gave her and I more opportunity to distinguish our practice from our peers'.
Set Your Practice Apart
While this sentiment may seem a little self-serving, you have to admit that there's truth in it. You have a unique opportunity when it comes to fitting specialty design contact lenses. In the competitive environment our profession finds itself in today, any opportunity to set yourself and your practice apart from the one down the street is critical. The ability to think outside-the-box can turn an ordinary practice into an extraordinary one.
With that thought in mind I wanted to share a few examples of cases I've seen recently in which the opportunity to be creative and do something different and unique from the patients' previous practitioners helped me to better the quality of their lives and at the same time helped form doctor-patient relationships that will keep these patients returning to our practice for care.
Three Hybrid Lens Successes
The first patient, an 8.00D myope with 2.00D of cylinder, had tried GPs unsuccessfully and wasn't quite happy with the vision her soft toric lenses provided. We decided to try a new approach and fit her with hybrid contact lenses. She was ecstatic with the results. The lenses gave her the sharp 20/20 vision she'd had with her GPs, but with the comfort of her soft torics.
|Any opportunity to set yourself and your practice apart is critical.|
The second patient was an avid softball player whose prescription was also about –8.00D. He was very successful in GPs, but found the consistency of his vision to be a challenge during cool evenings when his eyes tear up — not to mention the occasional lens dislocation that can occur during such occasions. This patient easily converted to a hybrid contact lens that he uses just for these types of activities, and he reports excellent, stable vision at all times during softball and other activities where GPs alone were once a challenge.
The third example is a young keratoconus patient who has significant corneal astigmatism in each eye. She can achieve an acceptable level of vision only with GP correction, but her corneas lend themselves to a marginal fit at best. This challenging patient is now successful, in one eye, with a hybrid lens that provides the consistent vision and comfort that her previous lens could not. The fellow eye awaits a lens that is currently in development, one with an asymmetric back surface design that will better fit keratoconus patients who exhibit the common inferior steepening that often makes traditional GP designs difficult to fit and center.
Make an Effort to Stay Current
SynergEyes lenses will soon be available in multifocal designs as well, creating yet another opportunity for you and your patients. However, you can only fit these and other new lenses if you know they exist.
So stay current with this and other new contact lens technology by visiting the exhibit hall the next time you attend an educational meeting, browsing the Internet to discover new and emerging products and trends, and, of course, continue reading Contact Lens Spectrum! CLS
Dr. Giedd entered private practice with the Eye Associates of Winter Park in 2000, where he specializes in fitting specialty contact lenses and also performs clinical research for Vistakon.