When it comes to contact lenses, we as eyecare practitioners need to be focused on change management with patients. Change is critical to sustained growth. Patients’ visual worlds are constantly changing, and eyecare providers need to evolve with these changes. Whether it is new materials, new modalities, or new technologies, it is imperative to continually offer the best options for our patients’ visual well being.

Dig deep and find out patients’ visual concerns at each encounter. Be prepared to offer something new. Practitioners need to ask themselves: How am I planning to stay relevant with my patients in 2019?

Keep Up to Date

For example, a 44-year-old male patient presents complaining about his near vision for the past few months. He has never worn glasses or contact lenses previously. He is outside most of the time; he works at a local construction company, and he is a true outdoorsman. He is concerned about how eyeglasses may affect his life with work, hunting, and fishing. Where do you go from here?

Start with research in contact lenses. In health care, research is critical to the growth and acceptance of novel materials, treatments, and specific protocols. New breakthroughs within the contact lens field may change your approach, including the way a particular group of patients is fit or how a specific medical device is used. Research drives innovative ideas and development.

Research information is available through professional conferences, journals, local continuing education meetings, and from peers. Bring home some change ideas from each of these encounters. Some possibilities include upgrading equipment for contact lens fitting or offering a newly developed contact lens.

Place patients at the core to optimize vision. Utilize these changes to optimize contact lens wear, and look for opportunities to increase the number of patients who are offered and fit with lenses. New lens technologies, ocular surface disease treatments, and other therapeutics may facilitate the introduction of contact lenses to those who aren’t current wearers or may optimize vision in current wearers:

  • Improve Their Digital World Now, more than ever, digital devices are an integral part of daily life. I always assume that all of my patients spend a large percentage of their workdays in front of a computer and/or are using handheld devices such as smartphones or tablets throughout the day. As such, it is imperative to address this clinically with contact lens wearers.
  • Presbyopia Presbyopes want their vision optimized, and contact lenses offer a great opportunity when presented. An embarrassingly low number of presbyopes are even offered contact lenses at their eye examination; only 8% reported hearing about multifocal lenses when first complaining about their near vision (Studebaker, 2009).

No Time Like the Present

Going back to our case example, if you did not think about multifocal lenses, consider rethinking your strategy. With 2019 here, look at making some changes. Make it a strong contact lens year by taking a step back to evaluate your current contact lens practice. Focus on potential opportunities to optimize patients’ vision. CLS

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