Prescribing for Presbyopia
Educating Presbyopic Contact Lens Wearers
By Craig W. Norman, FCLSA
I have mentioned before in this column that many years ago, one of my mentors at the Cleveland Clinic provided me with advice on patient management that has continued to prove invaluable. He called it the three “Ts” of patient care.
The Three Ts
The first is to Touch the patients. Simply put, this means welcoming patients into the exam lane with a handshake or some other personal gesture that makes them feel comfortable, at ease, and sensing that you really care about them as a person and that they aren't just a chart, insurance card, or appointment time.
Next is to Teach. Once the examination process is complete and a determination made on the course of action, take a few moments to educate patients. To me this is the most important point when differentiating you and your practice (more on this later).
Lastly is to Tell. Tell patients exactly what the best course of action is for them in their contact lens care, whether it be their lens type, wearing schedule, replacement cycle, or lens care product or regimen.
A Closer Look at Education
I often still think about this advice, especially regarding teaching or educating presbyopic patients who, I've found, generally want to be well-informed. In-office printed material helps to support this effort, as does point-of-purchase pieces provided by industry.
Today, over and above the education process during the office visit, I like to discuss whether/where patients should look for information online. The patients that I've surveyed mostly use a search engine when looking up terms such as “bifocal contact lens” or “dry eye.” I've found that it's more beneficial to direct patients to specific sites to accompany the information that I provide.
Online Education Sources
AOA.org is the online home of the American Optometric Association. Located here is a wealth of patient information that I find particularly useful for dry eye, ocular conditions, and information on general eye health.
Allaboutvision.com is my favorite website to refer patients to. It is non-biased with its information, is routinely updated, and is very easy for patients to navigate. Most importantly, it provides a wealth of contact lens, ocular, and related information in an easy-to-read format.
Another interesting site is Contactlenses.org, which is provided by the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association. It is mostly oriented toward GP contact lenses but has excellent patient-focused information. The lens design section graphically demonstrates the different style contact lenses, and the patient testimonials are supportive for those who want to know what other patients think about their contact lenses.
The irony is that I'm referring patients to an online source to search for this information when this may be more difficult for presbyopic patients, especially those who have dry eye symptoms. But I'll leave that topic—computer vision syndrome—to be discussed in a future column. CLS
Craig Norman is director of the Contact Lens Section at the South Bend Clinic in South Bend, Indiana. He is a fellow of the Contact Lens Society of America and is an advisor to the GP Lens Institute. He is also a consultant to B+L. You can reach him at email@example.com.