Contact Lens Practice Pearls

A More Organized Dispensing System is in the Bag

contact lens practice pearls

A More Organized Dispensing System is in the Bag


Tired of messing with tumbling towers of trays (Figure 1)? Frustrated by trying to fish one tray off the bottom without having the rest come crashing down? Weary of dealing with "mystery trays" that have lost their adhesive label? Convert to the bag system.

Figure 1. Trays in disarray before the overhaul.

Borrowing a Good Idea

An optometric technician on our staff is also a senior certified pharmacy technician. Frustrated by the constant confusion and mess experienced with our tray system of managing glasses and contact lens orders, she put her pharmacy experience to work.

Many pharmacies employ a bag system to manage prescriptions. The clear plastic bags are arranged in alphabetical order and hang neatly next to one another (Figure 2). With the bags there is no more need to balance a stack of trays while extracting one off the bottom.

Figure 2. The bag system we now utilize.

The clear bags allow for easy visualization of the bag contents. Clear pouches attached to the outside of the bag allow for an easily viewed space to place labels.

Supplies to Get Started

Expenses for the entire overhaul project ran in the $250 range for us. Here's what you need to get up and running.

From a supplier such as, obtain:

  • 9 inch × 12 inch clear bags (We started with 200.)
  • Self-adherent plastic pouches to hold patient labels
  • Alphabet cards (two sets) From the local hardware store:
  • 3/8 inch steel flanges to attach to the wall
  • 3/8 inch all-thread rods
  • ¼ inch steel rods (spray paint for improved aesthetics)
  • ¾ inch open hinges to attach steel rods to all-thread rods

We arranged bags in the following sections:

  • On order
  • Check-in
  • To call
  • To be dispensed

We hang the spectacles and contact lenses intermixed and have no problems keeping things straight.

An Orderly System

If you are looking for a more orderly method of managing your prescriptions, you've got it in the bag with this wonderful system! CLS

Special thanks to Leslie Detamore for her ingenuity in bringing this system to our office.

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, an advisor to the GP Lens Institute and an area manager for Vision Source. He has served as an advisor or consultant to Coopervision, CIBA Vision and Vistakon and has received research funding from AMO, B&L, CIBA Vision, Coopervision and Vistakon.