Contact Lens Practice Pearls
Modern Contact Lens Replacement Reminder Tools
BY JOHN MARK JACKSON, OD, MS, FAAO
I think most of us would agree that the most challenging part of contact lens practice is not managing the contact lenses—it’s managing our patients. In particular, patient noncompliance with lens replacement is a huge issue.
Improving patient compliance is part educational (explaining why they should change their lenses when you want them to) and also part practical (solving the logistical problem of actually remembering when to replace the lenses). Modern technology can help us provide some tools for our patients to assist them with remembering this critical component of contact lens care.
Countdown Timer for Lens and Case Replacement
Lens Alert (WatchDog Group, www.lensalert.com) features a countdown timer to remind patients when to change their lenses and cases. It has a small tray with a well to hold the lens case, and it features separate displays for case and lens replacement. The company also sells six packs of lens cases. Practitioners can purchase both the timers and the cases to resell in their offices, and custom logos for the practice can be added to the tray.
Text and E-Mail Reminders
Vistakon offers the brand-neutral Acuminder system that features alerts to change lenses, reorder lenses, and set up an eye exam. Patients can register for free at www.acuminder.com and receive alerts by text message or e-mail. Consider encouraging interested patients to register while still in the office, perhaps by having an internet browser available for them, to improve the chances that they will use the system.
Numerous free and paid apps are available for iOS and Android that remind patients to change their lenses. Examples include Lens Tracker LE, Contact Lens Tracker, My Contact Lens, and Contact Lens Reminder. The features vary by app, but most offer some nice flexibility for patients. For example, some allow patients to track each eye separately if each has a different replacement schedule; they can “add” a day if they miss a day of wear or if they wear lenses infrequently; some remind extended wear patients to remove lenses on certain days; some store the contact lens parameters, practitioner’s name, and office number; and some remind when it’s time to replace the case.
Personal Virtual Assistants
Another simple way to get reminders is to use Siri for iOS or one of its Android equivalents. For example, you can say to Siri, “Remind me to change my contact lenses on the 1st and 15th of the month, starting with May 1st.” Siri will set up a reminder and alert patients automatically. I like this option because no additional app is required, and you can encourage patients to do this while they are still in the exam lane. They could also set up a reminder to order new lenses in six months or to change their case.
Don’t Forget to Explain Why
Hopefully, these simple tools will help improve patient compliance. Remember, though, that it’s critical to also remind patients about why it is important for their eye health to follow your recommended schedule. CLS
Dr. Jackson is an associate professor at Southern College of Optometry where he works in the Advanced Contact Lens Service, teaches courses in contact lenses, and performs clinical research. You can reach him at email@example.com.