Contact Lens Practice Pearls
Tune up Your Contact Lens Department
BY JASON R. MILLER, OD, MBA, FAAO
Contact lenses are an important part of an eyecare business. It has been shown that contact lens-wearing patients are 60% more profitable compared to patients who wear spectacles alone (Ritson, 2006). For that reason, contact lenses are a focus within my practice that needs an overhaul from time to time.
Five Steps to a Contact Lens Tune-up
The following five steps will help you update the contact lens department in your practice.
1. Look at your fees. A baseline market analysis can help you determine where you stand. You can accomplish this by calling around to find out how your colleagues price their contact lens fits and evaluations.
Consider updating your fees to reflect any market changes. Also make sure the changes are reflected in the current forms that you provide to your patients. We provide our patients with an annual contact lens agreement that outlines our fees for contact lens evaluation and fitting/refitting.
2. Define your protocols. Whether it is a new contact lens patient who needs application and removal training or a long-time lens wearer who just “needs the prescription updated,” take the time to define how those patients are going to be handled and charged.
Consider developing a protocol that will help promote same-day training for new contact lens wearers. Capture that excitement and allow patients to leave with their newly found vision!
3. Get rid of old fitting sets. Many eyecare professionals find it difficult to throw anything out, let alone a contact lens fitting set. But look around, I bet you have some fitting sets that haven’t been used in the past six months.
If you have only a handful of patients in a particular contact lens design, consider replacing that fitting set.
4. Bring in a new design or fitting set. New cosmetic contact lenses have recently entered the market, with more soon to come. Consider utilizing this opportunity to bridge into social media more. This could be a good time to encourage teenage patients to post a photo on their favorite social media outlet while wearing their new colored contact lenses.
New specialty contact lens designs are also regularly hitting the market. From multifocal contact lenses to keratoconus designs to larger-diameter GPs—if you have considered either breaking into these emerging markets or expanding what you already have, fitting sets are critical to success.
5. Consider enhancing the contact lens service that you provide by adding new instrumentation. For example, new tools are available to detect underlying dry eye conditions, which need to be detected and addressed before fitting so they don’t hamper success with contact lens wear. Additionally, evaluate the usefulness of a topographer in your practice, which may enhance your specialty contact lens fits.
Technology in your contact lens department doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. For example, an anterior segment camera can show patients the complications that they’ve created by over-wearing their lenses. In such cases, a picture truly is worth 1,000 words.
Build Your Contact Lens Business
Our contact lens departments need the attention. Consider using these few steps to help tune up that area and improve on the success of that part of your practice. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #226.
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.