contact lens practice pearls
How to Explain GP Lens Benefits
BY THOMAS G. QUINN, OD, MS, FAAO
You've been there. A patient is perfectly suited for GP lens correction, but you hesitate to recommend it. You know GPs will provide the most consistent, crisp vision, will be easy to handle, cost effective, and often the healthiest option for a patient, but you stop short. What gives you pause?
I'm convinced that practitioners don't prescribe GPs when clearly indicated (Table 1) because they don't know how to explain the benefits. Most patients who express interest in contact lenses envision disposable soft lenses. How can you turn that expectation around and have patients embrace GPs?
Identify Needs, Explain Features
Let's take the case of a myopic presbyope who has 1.00D of astigmatism and hates glasses. He tried soft multifocals, but found them difficult to handle and was disappointed with the vision. You recognize that the astigmatism is a major reason why vision with soft multifocals was problematic.
At the end of the refraction, take a moment to demonstrate how vision degrades with removal of the astigmatic correction. The patient now understands that correcting astigmatism is necessary to achieve clear vision. Explain that the soft lenses fell short in this area.
Now explain that you have a lens that can correct not only his nearsightedness and presbyopia, but also his astigmatism. It's called a GP lens. It's smaller and firmer than a soft lens.
You've laid the groundwork, now it's GP lenses' time to shine. The patient understands the needs (correct the refractive error, including astigmatism), knows the features (corrects refractive errors, is small and firm). Now, share the benefits.
"This lens will provide you with the clear vision you desire and it's easier to handle as well." Bingo—the story is complete.
What About Comfort?
At this point, you've reoriented the patient from soft to GP lenses. He is on board. How do we manage the comfort question?
Practice the "no surprise approach" by telling the patient that there will be some initial lens awareness, but don't dwell on the issue. I find that equating GP lens adaptation to adjusting to a newly worn watch or ring helps patients understand what to expect. I emphasize that it's the eyelid, more than the eye itself, that must adapt. That tends to sit better in the patient's psyche.
I routinely use anesthetic when applying GP contact lenses for the first time. I tell patients, "I'm going to instill a drop in your eye to help you with the initial adjustment." Again, I'm practicing the no surprise approach. I don't want them to be surprised when they next apply the lenses without anesthetic.
Please click here to see a video illustrating the techniques outlined above. You'll find that it's not difficult, is effective, and has you doing the right thing for patients: fitting them with GP lenses! CLS
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.