Contact Lens Practice Pearls
A Contact Lens Report Card by the Numbers
BY DAVID L. KADING, OD, FAAO
I love the January issue of Contact Lens Spectrum because we get to see our report card as an industry. The assessments that are done to show how contact lenses are being used are always exciting to me. Perhaps I am too analytical of our profession, but when we see how things have progressed in the last 10 years, it is encouraging.
For instance, look at how scleral lenses have changed in the last 10 years. A decade ago, I was just coming out of my residency at Pacific University, where we were working with Dr. Robert Breece on the Jupiter lens. If you were fitting sclerals in 2003 to 2005, you were cutting edge.
Likewise, and perhaps the most personal to me, is how single-use contact lenses have changed. Ten years ago, our industry had very limited options for single-use lenses. We have come a long way since then, with many toric and multifocal designs adding to the unique and innovative material chemistry that make up our premium lenses today.
As it is a time of reflection for all of us in the new year, it is a good time to look at our numbers and to set our goals for the new year.
I’d encourage you to look at your electronic medical record (EMR) or contact lens distributor report for how your usage stacks up. From the numbers reported for 2014, 23% of patients are in single use lenses (Nichols, 2015). Is your number higher or lower than that? In other words, are you bringing the average of the industry up, or are you bringing us down? If you are ahead of the curve, congratulations—but you may be able to do better.
I believe that single-use lenses are the healthiest option for my patients. Therefore, I consider it a failure when I cannot convert them to that modality. At 90%, I still have a ways to go to help more of my patients.
Torics and Multifocals
With the advent of more single-use torics and multifocals, I have found that the number of patients that I am converting to these options has increased. Of greatest importance to me is the group of patients who have previously elected to be “glasses only.”
I see these patients as an incredible opportunity; they can affordably wear single-use torics and multifocals on a part-time basis for the times that they desire, and they can stay in their glasses when they elect.
Sclerals, Ortho-k, and Hybrids
Have you made the move to sclerals, and are you doing orthokeratology (ortho-k) yet? If not, 2016 is an excellent time to do so. We set out to double our ortho-k practice in 2015 and succeeded. I have seen the incredible impact and assurance that it has given to adults and, more importantly, to children and their parents.
Scleral and hybrid lenses are amazing options for patients who have corneal irregularities. If you haven’t considered them, now is the time. There has never been so much education available surrounding scleral and hybrid lenses both online and at national meetings.
Your numbers do not lie; they are a reflection of what you have accomplished. The future numbers are clear; only you can make them what you want them to be. You have to craft that future and strive for the numbers you want. Let’s work to make next year’s report card even more impactful. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #242.
Dr. Kading owns the Specialty Dry Eye and Contact Lens Center in Seattle. He is the co-owner of Optometric Insights with Dr. Mile Brujic. He has received honoraria for consulting, performing research, speaking, and/or writing from Alcon Laboratories, Allergan, Bausch + Lomb, Biotissue, Contamac, Essilor, Nicox, Oculus, RPS Detectors, TearScience, Valley Contax, and ZeaVision. Follow him on Twitter @davekading.