Contact Lens Practice Pearls

The Proactive Mindset

Contact Lens Practice Pearls

The Proactive Mindset

By Thomas G. Quinn, OD, MS, FAAO

Your life doesn't just “happen.” Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours...Just remember that every moment, every situation provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results. Being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life.–Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I strive to practice the “No Surprise Approach” to eye care. That is, I attempt to anticipate what patients might need or worry about, and work to address those issues before they happen. In other words, I try to have a proactive mindset.

As suggested in the quote, a proactive mindset takes you out of the often uncomfortable position of reacting to events and provides the opportunity to create something positive. Here are a few examples of applying this attitude in your lens practice.

A Welcoming Environment

A comfortable environment is clean, safe, and warm. A welcoming environment is all this, delivered with an attitude of kindness, respect, and appreciation.

We all know to greet an arriving patient with timely attention and a smile. What else?

Avoid greeting patients with pages of paperwork. It sets up the possibility of many negative scenarios. It can be off-putting to some patients and overwhelming to others. Sometimes patients won't have the desired information with them, a frustration to all. Staff may begin to nervously hover over those slow to complete the forms, creating tension and possibly animosity.

Be proactive and have patients complete demographic and medical history forms before their appointment. You can mail them or post them on your Web site. We've found great patient acceptance with this approach and an added benefit: patients often browse the site and learn more about our practice. Employing this proactive approach, when patients arrive we are able to quickly engage them in the process of receiving their care.

Serve Rather Than Sell

What's the difference between selling and serving? Selling benefits the seller, serving benefits the one being served. The beauty of serving is that a satisfied patient will return, so the provider of the service benefits also. Satisfied patients feel that their needs are understood, and then met.

Be proactive and employ systems that allow you to have a clear understanding of a patient's needs as you recommend a treatment plan. Have patients list their occupation and hobbies on the pre-exam form. Follow up with questions that dig more deeply into the visual demands of activities. For example, I ask office workers how long they work on the computer each day. If they respond with six or more hours, I take steps to reduce ocular surface drying and promote comfortable near focus, which is particularly important for presbyopes.

Prepping for Contact Lens Wear

Contact lens wear is different from spectacle wear. Contact lenses provide distinct benefits over spectacles. But any change requires adaptation, so work to prepare patients for what's to come with contact lens wear.

As part of your proactive plan discuss: physical adaptation to lens wear; lens application; ocular adaptation to lens wear; proper lens care; visual adaptation to lens wear; specific instructions for toric wearers and presbyopes; possible health issues; and the importance of proper lens care.

Finish Strong

Don't forget to finish your lens presentation on an up-note, confidently reviewing the many benefits that contact lenses provide.

A proactive approach will yield positive results. That's no surprise, is it? 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, B+L, Ciba Vision, and Vistakon and has received research funding from AMO, B+L, Ciba Vision, Coopervision, and Vistakon. You can reach him at