CONTACT LENS PRACTICE PEARLS
DON’T WAIT TO PRESCRIBE NEW CONTACT LENS TECHNOLOGY
JASON R. MILLER, OD, MBA
Change can be easy, but other times it seems overwhelming. We all have some concerns with contact lens legislative activity, online retailers, and telemedicine. Navigating these changes, both as a profession and personally, can be where the challenge happens. One thing is certain: you can’t replace the skill and expertise of eyecare professionals’ contact lens fits.
Additionally, our patients are genuinely interested in trying contact lenses. Whether new wearers, previous wearers, or current wearers, more and more patients are arriving in our clinics looking to improve their vision, their cosmetic appearance, their performance, and/or their convenience with contact lenses. Are you poised to satisfy these expectations?
A 45-year-old new female patient says, “I have never really had vision problems, but these reading glasses are for the birds. I can’t stand the on-and-off throughout the day. They make me feel older, and I want to try something else.”
Where do you go from here?
1. You could tell her that getting older does stink, but we can’t stop that. Then recommend increasing the power of her readers, and move on to the next patient.
2. You could discuss progressive addition lenses. Let her know that these allow her to see clearly at all distances, and she can keep them on all day like normal glasses.
3. You could discuss multifocal contact lenses. You could tell her how new one-day soft multifocal lens designs allow her to see clearly for about 90% of her visual needs throughout the day.
Depending on the patient, you may choose any or all of these three options. When it comes to contact lenses, our patients want to hear their options from you, their eyecare professional. If you offer multifocal contact lenses, many will be interested, and others may consider that a viable option down the road. There are many new and improved designs as well as improved materials and modalities. If you have not embraced this technology, now is the time to start offering multifocal contact lenses to your patients.
A 9-year-old female patient wants to start wearing contact lenses. Her myopic correction has jumped from –0.75DS OD and OS to –1.75DS OD and OS in the past 10 months.
Where do you go from here?
1. You could tell her and her mom to wait a year or two until she is more mature to wear and take care of contact lenses, then update her spectacle prescription.
2. You could choose to fit contact lenses and allow them to decide which lens to fit after going through all of the options (daily versus weekly versus monthly).
3. You could take the time to discuss “myopia control”: how there are certain contact lens options that can slow down refractive changes at a young age.
Although currently an off-label use, myopia control lenses may be the next big frontier in this industry. Having the tools, technology, and research behind our recommendations is going to be important moving forward. New theories, treatments, and specific lens designs are being developed to slow this epidemic. Don’t wait. Start looking at ways to develop your own myopia control protocol within your office.
Any technology adoption life cycle fits in the standard bell curve, with the late majority and laggards being the last to try something new. Be an early adopter, as the future is bright with contact lenses. 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, B+L, Revolution EHR, and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.