Contact Lens Practice Pearls

Take the Extra Step to Make It a “Special” Eyecare Encounter

Contact Lens Practice Pearls

Take the Extra Step to Make It a “Special” Eyecare Encounter


When trying to grow a strong contact lens patient population, the key is balancing the excitement of contact lens wear with prescribing contact lenses that keep the ocular surface healthy and minimize their risk. Often, a picture means much more. Consider using your smartphone to help drive that fact home.

Cases in Point

Case 1: GP wearer called me on a Sunday morning. A 43-year-old male called me early on a Sunday morning complaining of blurry vision in his right eye along with pain, light sensitivity, and redness. Upon examination and questioning, he reported that the pain started when he tried to take out his GP contact lenses that morning. He stated that he “sleeps in his contact lenses overnight too often” and did wear them overnight the previous night.

I have a slit lamp camera, which I love, but I took a picture with his iPhone (Figure 1) and showed the patient what had happened because of poor compliance. That way he can look back at his photos and remember why he should not wear his GPs overnight. I was glad that I provided my emergency contact number, because I was able to identify and treat this patient quickly.

Figure 1. Large corneal abrasion due to GP adhesion that occurred while trying to remove the lenses after overnight wear.

Case 2: Teenager wanting to try on colors. A 15-year-old female patient wanted to try colored contact lenses. This excitement could grow exponentially if she could show her friends. A picture (Figure 2) was taken with her smartphone so she could send it to her friends, post it on a social media pages, and get opinions as to which color looks the best.

Figure 2. Picture taken with the patient’s iPhone showing how the colored contact lenses fit on her eye.

Case 3: First eye exam and interested in “the eye” and “how we see.” An 8-year-old was in for his first eye exam at the same time as his mother, who wore contact lenses. He had lots of questions concerning the eye and how we see. During his mom’s exam, I showed him what I see through the slit lamp, and he thought it was the coolest thing. During his exam, I grabbed his cell phone (yes, he already had a smartphone) and took a picture of his eye (Figure 3). He immediately set it as his home screen, and I may have created a future eyecare practitioner.

Figure 3. Picture taken with the patient’s iPhone showing a close up of his eye; this is the view that I have through the microscope.


So, the next time that you are looking in the slit lamp ocular, ask yourself: would patients like to see what I am seeing? If so, ask them if they have a smartphone and create a lasting visual impression while they are in your office. This will most likely help grow your contact lens patient population via word of mouth. CLS

Dr. Miller is in a partnership private practice in Powell, Ohio, and is an adjunct faculty member for The Ohio State University College of Optometry. He has received honoraria for writing, speaking, acting in an advisory capacity, or research from Alcon, Allergan, CooperVision, and Visioneering Technologies. You can reach him at