Contact Lens Practice Pearls
Summer Break = Explode Your New Contact Lens Fits
BY JASON R. MILLER, OD, MBA, FAAO
With schools letting out for summer break, focus on growing the number of children and teens wearing contact lenses within your practice. Many practices wait for parents to ask whether their children or teens are candidates to wear contact lenses. Take the proactive approach over this summer break and look to grow this segment.
It has been demonstrated that children (8 to 12 years old) are just as responsible as teens (13 to 17 years old) in taking care of their contact lenses (Walline et al, 2007). Additionally, age is not a factor in determining the success rate, and in reality, younger patients caused very little practice disruption during the fitting process (Walline et al, 2007). Children and teens can benefit greatly from contact lenses and could be an unlocked potential within your practice.
Here are five steps for success with contact lenses for children and teens:
1. Make it easy! Have every staff member ready to go and geared up for these patients. Make sure multiple staff members are able to perform application and removal trainings.
Consider having a competition among staff members for the most successful application/removal trainings during the summer months. This may help break down any reservations or negative feelings association with these training classes. The winner could earn a gift card or some other form of recognition.
2. Fit your staff’s children and teens with contact lenses. There is no better way to get your staff excited about discussing contact lenses than having them reflect on their personal experiences. “My child wears contact lenses, and he (she) adapted to them much better than I had expected.”
3. Discuss contact lenses with everyone (i.e., every child and teen that presents for their eye care). That means both practitioners and staff are ready to ask everyone if they have considered contact lenses for their correction needs. If they say no, it may set the stage for next year. It also provides an opportunity to break down any reservations or misconceptions.
4. Break down any misconceptions. Many parents are surprised that their kids can wear contact lenses and may not have even considered them yet. Parents may focus on issues like responsibility and hygiene as potential pitfalls to wearing contact lenses. While those are big concerns, educate them on the newest daily disposable contact lenses that greatly reduce the amount of responsibility necessary to be successful with lens wear.
5. Celebrate successes. Publish new contact lens technologies and how they can be successful in fitting children and teens on your social media outlets. While the patients are in, use their phone to take photos through your slit lamp of contact lenses on their eye. That way, they can post those pictures on their social media channels if they choose. Let those digital conversations go where they will go. Often, that will be to the fact that they were fit with contact lenses at your office.
Parents want to know that their children are being provided the best possible options; they oftentimes care about this more than they care about themselves. When you take a patient-centered approach to actively providing contact lenses to children and teens, the number of new wearers will grow exponentially. Finally, this youthful excitement will generate more patient referrals. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #247.
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.