Contact Lens Practice Pearls

You Can Increase Usage of Daily Disposables

Contact Lens Practice Pearls

You Can Increase Usage of Daily Disposables

By Gregory J. Nixon, OD, FAAO

Despite the well-known benefits of daily disposable lenses, it's been well documented that daily disposable usage in the United States lags behind international prescribing. In his 2010 annual report, Contact Lens Spectrum editor Jason Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, reported a U.S. daily disposable market share of 13 percent (Nichols, 2011). This compared to the 2010 average worldwide value of 30 percent, which included reported daily disposable usage as high as 75 percent in Hong Kong (Morgan et al, 2011).

Despite my practice's daily disposable usage being well above the U.S. average, last January I made a new year's resolution to offer more patients the option of daily disposable lenses (Nixon, 2011). Using this modality affords patients improved convenience, reduced ocular health complications, and great vision with the expanded parameter range of current daily disposables.

Promoting the Daily Modality

New contact lens wearers are some of the most motivated patients within a practice. They depend on your recommendation to determine the type of lenses in which to be fit. Therefore, never be afraid to offer daily disposable lenses as your first option to start them on the road to a lifetime of healthy lens wear. Existing twoweek and monthly replacement lens wearers can also be ideal for refitting into daily disposables. The best candidates include patients who have ocular allergies or patients who complain of increased lens awareness toward the end of their two-week or onemonth replacement cycle. When these symptoms exist, patients are receptive to learning ways to maximize their lens wear comfort.

The best way to demonstrate the benefit of daily disposables is to use diagnostic lenses in the office and give patients at least a seven- to 10-day trial pack. In this short time, patients often respond positively to having a clean fresh lens each day without the necessary cleaning and disinfection steps of their previous lenses.

Cost Versus Value

There has been speculation that some practitioners are reluctant to recommend daily disposables during troubled economic times due to patient concern over costs. While patients certainly have concerns about finances, the matter is not just about how much they will spend, but whether there is adequate value in the products and services they purchase. Once they enjoy the benefits of trial lenses, they are often motivated to invest in the modality even if the annual supply cost is marginally higher than that of two-week or monthly lenses. Once the savings from industry rebates and the lack of care solutions are factored in, the difference in cost of an annual supply of daily disposables can be as little as 30 cents a day. Patients often consider this a nominal expense for the value of obtaining clear, comfortable vision with reduced risk of ocular complications.

Growth of Daily Disposables

By following the approach just described, my practice was able to increase its daily disposable units in 2011 by approximately 27 percent compared to 2010. Daily disposables now represent nearly 40 percent of all soft lenses dispensed in my office. After following through on my new year's resolution with such success, I encourage other practitioners to make a similar resolution to allow even more people to enjoy the benefits of contact lenses. CLS

For references, please visit and click on document #195.

Dr. Nixon is an associate professor of clinical optometry and director of extern programs at The Ohio University College of Optometry. He is also in a group private practice in Westerville, Ohio. He is on the Allergan Academic Advisory Board, the B+L Advisory Board, and the Alcon Speakers Bureau. You can reach him at