Contact Lens Practice Pearls
Use Gadgets to Spice up Exams
BY JASON R. MILLER, OD, MBA, FAAO
New technology is fun, and most of us can become obsessed with all the newest gadgets and communication tools. You should consider putting technology to use within your practice and specifically with your contact lens patients.
Multifocal contact lens fitting can be a challenging process, especially if patients are looking at the 20/15 line on our Snellen near visual acuity card. Patients will often wonder why they can’t see that line when it may not even be possible with their spectacle correction. Smartphones have become my new near visual acuity card during a presbyopic lens fit. Rather than hand them the card, tell your patients to pull out their phone and make sure that they can see the text on their screen comfortably.
Additionally, smartphones may enable us to provide quick anterior segment photos. Note, however, that these are not medical grade photos.
For example, a snapshot of a red eye from contact lens overwear or of a bump on a patient’s eyelid can be useful for educational purposes. The view from the slit lamp is a great spot to snap a photo and discuss the importance of following through with your prescribed treatment plan (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Example of a photo taken in the practitioner’s office with a smartphone.
There’s an App for That
There are many contact lens apps out there and many more to come. Following are some to consider:
Contact Lens Tracker There are a variety of these applications, which are a quick and efficient way for patients to keep track of contact lens wearing times. This will remind them when to change their reusable contact lenses, which can improve compliance.
Eye Color Changing Apps There are a variety of these fun applications, which allow users to load an image of their eyes and then place colored contact lenses over them.
Tablets and PCs
It can be a challenge to run electronic health records (EHRs) on hand-held tablets, but this is most likely to change in the near future. This technology is already great for many other tasks including patient education.
Consider this scenario: When entering exam data into a patient’s EHR, you could grab the tablet and play a video on presbyopia, multifocal contact lenses, or vitreous floaters. Patients love the educational aspect, and it is very productive use of exam time. For first-time contact lens wearers, you could play a video on how to apply and remove their lenses along with proper care techniques. This may even streamline the contact lens application and removal training.
Additionally, this technology can be useful for a pre-exam questionnaire. Patients can answer questions about the reason for their visit, and that information can be loaded into their medical record during the exam. From a contact lens perspective, this can be particularly useful because patients can answer specific questions about their interest level in contact lenses (for a new patient or for previous contact lens dropouts) or their comfort with their current contact lenses. This may stimulate a new wearer, or possibly even prevent a contact lens dropout.
Motivated and Excited
Technology is changing rapidly, so consider taking a fresh look at the use of technology within your contact lens practice. It may create more motivated, excited contact lens wearers. 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 email@example.com.