Patience is Still a Virtue
BY CARLA J. MACK, OD, FAAO, EDITOR
We live in a world where we want it all and we want it fast. In health care, unfortunately, we carry the same demands, and they often prove unrealistic.
Fitting a multifocal contact lens, whether soft or GP, often requires three to four visits before the prescription is final. Three to four visits on average means this process could be of shorter — or longer — duration. As an eyecare provider, this shouldn't worry you. Market research tells us that patients desire these options and are willing to pay for them.
In the last three months I've had the pleasure of working with a new spectacle progressive addition lens wearer, an aspheric multifocal lens wearer who was refit, and a new emmetropic presbyopic soft multifocal lens wearer. In all three cases, the fitting process to achieve the desired fit, vision and patient satisfaction took longer than average by several visits. During the fitting process in all three cases there was mild frustration on the part of the patients and yes, even frustration on my end as I cared for these patients over several months. Yet, the outcome was three extremely happy multifocal wearers who will most certainly return for future care.
The key to success was ensuring that each patient was motivated and had realistic expectations from the start. As you know, each patient is different. Each needs differing amounts of information during the fitting process — from general support and encouragement to frank discussions of the lens optics and parameter changes.
I should mention that practitioner motivation is equally as important as patient motivation. I also firmly believe that we make too many changes in lens design, optics and material without allowing our patients to fully adapt to these changes, which could easily take several weeks or longer. Changes are easy because we thankfully have an abundance of lens parameters, designs and options from which to choose. Changes help us feel productive. However, in our fast-moving world, we must remember that patience is still a virtue. We owe it to our patients to meet their needs — patiently.
Speaking of changes, with heartfelt gratitude the staff of Contact Lens Spectrum would like to thank Dr. Jeff Schafer for his dedication and contributions as a columnist and clinical columns editor. He has accepted a research position with Bausch & Lomb, and we wish him well. We would like to welcome Dr. Greg Nixon, a private practitioner and faculty member at Ohio State, who is joining our team as clinical columns editor and contributing author for The Contact Lens Exam department.