The Business of Contact Lenses

Embracing the Power of One Can Boost Patient Compliance

the business of contact lenses

Embracing the Power of One Can Boost Patient Compliance


How much easier would managing your practice be if there was only one thing you had to remember? And what if that one thing delivered better compliance, profitability and retention — or what I call the CPR index? That one thing would be miraculous, wouldn't you agree?

What is that one thing? It's the power of one. A number that is so easy to remember, you'll never forget it.

But one what? One dollar? One staff person? No, it's the simplicity of one-day or one-month replacement.

Why Two Weeks?

When disposable lenses first launched in the late 1980s, the power of one was obvious and extreme. We prescribed those first-generation disposable HEMA lenses for one week of extended wear. Compliance, profitability and retention were all excellent.

There was, however, a lurking insidious "one" that was a significant problem. These HEMA lenses were clinically unacceptable for their intended purpose of one week of extended wear. For compelling physiological reasons, manufacturers then began recommending replacing lenses every two weeks.

But why two weeks? Why not six days or 10 days? Or 16 or 20 days? The thought was that if a week was right for extended wear (which it wasn't), two weeks was logical for daily wear. However, the CPR index of our practices suffered greatly. And with this event, the so-called two-week lens category was born. So-called, because we know most patients don't wear lenses for two weeks — it's more like one month!

Today we have many more lenses and modalities available. It behooves us to learn from the financially draining history of the past and to finally embrace the power of one.

One Day or One Month

One is straightforward, logical, easy to remember and a system of disposability that readily and constantly supports your CPR index.

Encircling a one-day or one-month replacement schedule is a one-year eye exam. Consider that from 2002 to 2005, the frequency of soft lens wearers who had a yearly eye exam dropped from 65 percent to 59 percent. During this same time more patients were fit into two-week disposable lenses. While we can't necessarily draw a cause and effect relationship, it would be hardto argue otherwise.

Taking a closer look at the impact of the power of one on your CPR index, we find that:

Compliance It's widely established and agreed upon that daily and monthly disposable lens wearers are more compliant than are two-week lens wearers.

Profitability If patients are more compliant, they'll use lenses faster. Studies show lens wearers return for professional care more frequently than eyeglass wearers do. Also, the professional fees they generate are higher.

Retention If patients are more compliant, they're probably experiencing fewer complications and are more satisfied with their lenses, leading to increased retention.

One Last Thought

Two-week disposable cycles are "so 2000." As we enter the close of the first decade of the new millennium, it's time to acknowledge that most of us prescribe a lens replacement modality out of habit. I ask you to think about your prescribing habits, the CPR index and the power of one.

Human nature dictates that many of you who read this will continue doing the same old, same old. But a small percentage of you will make a positive change in your thinking that will propel you forward. Will you be one? CLS

Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice – a company offering consulting, seminars and software solutions for optometrists. You can reach him at (800) 867-9303 or