New technology color contact lenses have been available to our patients for more than a year now. Data suggests that there are 19 million patients interested in colors and, if they are given a chance to try on the lenses, over 80% will buy.1 Even with this knowledge it can be a challenge to present this opportunity to every patient. Doctors admit that they are busy and often forget or neglect to discuss all contact lens options with patients. At times we may take the easy road and refit patients into the same lenses they are currently wearing successfully. How do we stop this cycle? The answer is to create office processes that force the actions you desire.
Let me share a story about a recent patient. This new patient visited my office for a comprehensive eye health examination as well as a cornea and contact lens evaluation. She came in wearing new technology color contact lenses which were fit last year at another doctor’s office. I asked her how she liked her lenses. She raved about how comfortable they are, how easy they are to remove because of the color, and shared how she had always wanted to have this eye color. These lenses were like a dream come true for her. She also told me that, when her husband was in our office buying glasses last year, she saw the color contact lens display on our front desk and asked one of my opticians about them. He told her about how beautiful the colors were and offered her a virtual try on. He then went on to tell her about how the new technology meant better breathability and better eye health than some previous colored lenses, as well as amazing comfort. Unfortunately, she didn’t have time to stay for a fitting, however she planned to be fit when she saw her doctor. When she went to the other doctor’s office she was shocked that they didn’t know about the lenses and had to special order them for her to try on. Finally, she concluded that she would have never experienced the lenses if she hadn’t asked for them and was so grateful that we introduced her to colored lenses in our office.
As I listened to her story, I realized that we ECPs really do have a lot to think about every day and it is easy to let things slide. I was reminded by this patient’s experience that we must utilize the tools available to help us be consistent in our office processes and procedures. Try to do a “walk-thru” of your office at least every couple of days to view your business through your patient’s eyes. Determine if your patients are seeing what you want them to see. Make certain you have the products patients want, and don’t forget to start the conversation on your website and continue it throughout the office.
1. Based on a survey of 375 U.S. consumers interested in or wearing color contact lenses; Alcon data on file, 2013.
April Jasper, OD, FAAO has a private practice in West Palm Beach, Florida. She serves on several Advisory boards including VSP, Vision Source, Allergan and Alcon. Dr. Jasper is Benedict Professor in practice management at Houston College of Optometry. Her passion is sharing with her colleagues in areas of practice management and technology in an effort to help them become more successful in patient care and personal growth.