Now that we have printed information on cosmetic contact lens options for our patients and they can see the beautiful posters around the office, how does staff start an effective conversation with patients regarding colors? The best way to begin is to ask each patient when scheduling their appointment if they are going to be getting contacts and glasses, not contacts or glasses. Many non-contact lens wearers respond with “I never thought about wearing contacts” or “My last doctor said I couldn’t wear contacts.” These responses are wonderful because they allow your staff to reply with “There have been many advances in contact lenses in the past couple of years. Not only are newer technology contact lenses more comfortable but they are also available in more options. We even have color contact lenses available now that not only correct your vision but are comfortable and beautiful.” Don’t forget to close out the phone conversation with a recommendation to visit your website to complete patient forms and also to visit the manufacturer’s online color studio to virtually try on the colors prior to their appointment.
The conversation regarding contacts continues at the front desk when the patient checks in. The receptionist will give patients the professional folder with literature and remind them to be certain to look at the different colors available. When your technicians start the examination and data collection, while taking the patient’s history, they will ask if the patient is interested in glasses and contacts. When the patient says yes to contacts, technicians can then follow-up by asking if the patient will be getting clear and colors. This continues the patient’s thought process of available options. Even if the doctor decides on multifocal or other specialty contact lenses, the conversation is not wasted because patients will still appreciate knowing that your office is one that knows about new technology and wants to let them experience it.
Now it is time to see the doctor. How does the doctor get involved in the process? That will be our discussion next month.
Just this week I was reminded again that cosmetic lenses do change our patient’s lives. One of my patients, who has been wearing color contact lenses for over 12 years, was in for her annual eye health and contact lens exam. She is loyal to me for several reasons, one being that I have always found a way to help her wear colors. About two years ago, she was terrified when she found out that some of the colors were being discontinued. At every visit she shares with me how much her contacts have helped her self-esteem and thanks me for finding a way to help her see and have beautiful contacts. She is the perfect reminder to me that every patient has different needs. What I love about optometry, and I know you do to, is being able to find out what each of our patient’s needs are and then be able to fulfill them.
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.