Intraocular lenses (IOLs) are the most commonly implanted medical device, topping the use of knees, ear tubes, coronary stents, hips, and others (https://247wallst.com/healthcare-economy/2011/07/18/the-eleven-most-implanted-medical-devices-in-america ). When you consider the number of options offered by the three main IOL manufacturers (spherical, aspheric, toric, multifocal, accommodating) as well as the fairly wide range of refractive powers available in each, IOLs also represent, by far, the widest number of options compared to any other medical implant.
Now compare IOL options to the much greater number of available choices presented to eyecare providers when fitting contact lenses. We have all of the same general lens categories that are available in IOLs, plus many more. Also, contact lens power ranges are generally wider compared to those with IOLs.
Now consider that there are GP lenses (small corneal, large corneal, and scleral versions), soft contact lenses (monthly, two-week, weekly, and daily options), and hybrid lenses, and the number of choices increases greatly. Add the fact that contact lenses of every type can be produced in many different materials and tints, not forgetting the ability to make custom contact lenses, and the possibilities for contact lens fitters are nearly endless.
While we all may have a wish list of something more that we might desire in a contact lens product, and innovative new products always generate added excitement, it may be good to recognize how truly unique and fortunate we are in the contact lens world. The choices available to contact lens practitioners, and by extension to contact lens patients, practically dwarf those available to users of likely any other medical device. The manufacturers of contact lens materials and of the wide assortment of finished products, as well as the custom finishing companies, should all be complimented on where the state of the contact lens industry is today.
Make Use of the Options
With so many contact lens options available, it falls upon practitioners to provide the best option for each individual patient. It is imperative to perform a thorough patient needs assessment, even when a current contact lens wearer returns with “no complaints.” Such patients may be satisfied with their current correction, but not be aware that it could possibly be even better or more convenient. At a minimum, they should be informed of new developments that might benefit them either now or in the near future.
It is never good when “satisfied” patients are simply refit in their previous lenses and lens modality, but later hear from friends, family, or through the media that there is a new lens from which they might have benefited. They might think that their practitioner is out of date or uninformed. Even when patients choose to make no changes regarding their contact lenses, it is important that they hear about what is new in contact lenses or lens care from their practitioner.
Go the Extra Mile
Currently, the concept of “Precision Health” is garnering increasing attention. One of the simplest descriptions of precision health is providing the right treatment for the right patient at the right time. Fortunately, in very few if any areas of health care is this more possible today than when fitting contact lenses. At some point while seeing those next contact lens patients, step back and realize how fortunate you are to have the incredible range of products available for them. Then consciously reaffirm your commitment to provide the best option possible based upon the specific needs and unique circumstances of each individual patient. CLS