Reader and Industry Forum
Overcoming Cost Objections to Daily Disposable Lens Wear
By Peter D. Bergenske, OD, FAAO
Daily disposable contact lenses offer benefits to the patients who wear them and the eyecare practitioners who prescribe them. Patients can enjoy a fresh, clean lens every day without the need for care solutions, storage or extra lens care steps. Practitioners can provide patients with this convenient, healthy vision-correction option while increasing revenue to the practice.
Many practitioners tell us that daily disposable lenses are the fastest growing part of their contact lens practice. Despite this apparent growth trend in some practices, many eyecare professionals still believe patients will not consider switching from their current contact lenses to daily disposable lenses, primarily because of perceived cost differences.
In this article, practitioners share five tips on how they explain the benefits of daily disposable contact lenses and address their patients' cost concerns.
1. Highlight Long-term Savings.
Although patients may spend more money initially for daily disposable lenses, over time, they will save because they will not need the lens care products required for conventional lenses. In addition, eliminating the need for lens care saves time.
“I have found patients are more receptive to daily disposables once we calculate how much they are spending on their current lenses and lens care products,” says Stella Lau, OD, Las Vegas. “A seemingly more expensive alternative is more easily justified when you include the cost of cases and lens care solutions in the equation.”
2. Encourage an At-home Trial.
Allowing patients to experience the convenience of daily disposable lenses at home is a great way to encourage conversion, says Pamela Evans, OD, Georgetown, Texas. “Trying the product is what really sells patients on the comfort and convenience of the lens,” she says. “If I believe someone is a strong candidate for daily disposable lenses, I send him home with 5 to 10 free trial pairs.”
Dr. Evans also reminds patients they don't have to buy an entire year's supply of lenses at one time. Instead, she suggests they buy a 3-month supply and then reevaluate their experience when it's time to reorder.
3. Discuss Health Benefits.
In addition to the convenience of having a fresh, clean lens every day without the need for cleaning or care solutions, patients also should be educated about the health benefits of daily disposables. It is well known that many patients do not adhere to their prescribed lens care regimens and that poor lens care can increase the risk of irritation or infection (Wu et al, 2010; Radford et al, 2009). It follows, therefore, that when patients are relieved of lens care altogether, they are less likely to experience these complications.
Daily disposables are also a great option for patients who have ocular allergy because, with daily replacement, there is little to no opportunity for allergens to build up on the lenses.
In addition to convenience and health benefits, daily disposable lenses are often highly rated for comfort. In one survey, 83 percent of Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus lens wearers reported their lenses are so comfortable they almost forget they are wearing them.
4. Be Upfront and Personal.
Discussing daily disposables—their benefits and cost—during the initial consultation helps avoid potential “sticker shock” at the end of a patient's visit. It also helps you understand your patient's lifestyle and what he wants from his lenses. If patients are aware of the cost of daily disposables along with the advantages early on, they will have time to consider the pros and cons before it's time to order their lenses.
“It's important to take the time with a patient upfront to spell out the cost of the lenses,” Dr. Lau says. “In addition, connecting personally with each patient and understanding his lifestyle and lens care habits helps encourage him to switch.”
If you or members of your staff wear daily disposable lenses, be sure to share that bit of personal information with patients to help build a bond with them. Making that personal connection will increase patients' trust and make discussions about cost easier to relate to their lifestyle habits and needs. For example, does your patient love to travel, have allergies, have a special work environment or have children who need vision correction? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you show that daily disposables have tangible benefits that will fit the patient's lifestyle.
5. Be the Trusted Expert.
Patients need to know they are in the hands of an expert, who is dedicated to prescribing a healthy vision-correction option that offers excellent comfort and ultimately is the best contact lens to meet their specific needs.
Tyler Glaze, OD, Edmond, Okla., has been successful by simply prescribing daily disposable lenses as the best option for his patients. “I have found that, more than anything, patients want their doctors to tell them, not suggest, what type of lens they should be wearing,” he says.
Patients Will Say Yes
The popularity of daily disposable contact lenses will continue to grow as practitioners become more comfortable discussing patients' cost concerns. Using the tips outlined here will help you describe the benefits of daily disposable contact lenses and explain that the added cost for these lenses is minimal. “I try to put the importance of choosing the best lens in perspective by asking my patients: would you say ‘no’ to better comfort and vision to save a few dollars?” Dr. Evans says. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references.asp and click on document #194.
Dr. Bergenske is director of professional and clinical support at Alcon Laboratories Inc.