Contact Lens Practice Pearls
Setting the Stage for Daily Disposable Contact Lenses
BY JASON MILLER, OD, MBA, FAAO
It’s easy to say patients will benefit from daily disposable contact lenses, but it’s more difficult to go out there on a daily basis and discuss this. Recommending and refitting everyone requires time and energy from the doctor and staff. This may be especially difficult when your practice has a full schedule. You need a unified approach to discussing daily disposable lenses, especially for patients who present with no complaints in their current contact lens prescription.
Break the Ice
If you believe in the daily disposable concept and a patient presents with no complaints and just wants to renew his contact lens prescription, consider at least setting the stage for a daily disposable refit. Use a simple introduction such as, “Your contact lenses are working great, but you may want to consider trying daily disposable lenses in the future. They offer excellent vision and are a healthy option, but with added convenience, because you can throw out the lenses each night and use new lenses in the morning. There’s no need to buy lens care solutions.” A patient may ask, “but how much do they cost?,” which leads right into our pricing strategies.
Proper pricing strategies help set the stage for daily disposables. You can even turn the price discussion into one easy sentence, “cost savings, manufacturer mailin rebates and in-office instant rebates will counteract the price difference and may even save you some money when compared to reusable lenses.” I usually go on to explain how the cost is virtually a break-even when you consider manufacturer rebates and no need to buy care solutions. And then there’s the most important commodity — your time in not having to care for contact lenses!
1. Remove pre-conceived obstacles!
First, consider removing your obstacles. Many eyecare professionals assume patients don’t want daily disposable contact lenses because of the presumed cost increase to the patient. It’s important to understand that whatever the dollar difference, many patients are willing to accept it when they recognize the value of the product. Many of us use these techniques with regard to optical sales, but they also apply when discussing daily disposable contact lenses:
Don’t avoid the issue of price: Talk about the price up front.
Explain the value equation: Daily disposable contact lenses provide improved convenience. Patients don’t have to worry about the extra costs associated with other modalities, such as buying solutions. If they rip or tear a lens, they haven’t substantially increased their costs.
2. Discuss the price after factoring in rebates and solution cost savings!
Many online stores will quote prices after rebates, cost savings and/or discounts. Applying the same principal to daily disposable contact lenses, we could take these factors into the price equation:
Try new pricing and promotional strategies: Consider discounting per box retail price for annual supply purchases. I call that an In-Office Instant Rebate. The price yielded on higher sales volume will offset any margins lost on a per box purchase.
Make it easy for the patient to do business with you: Offer free direct-ship for all daily disposable orders. Many patients will take advantage of the large manufacturer rebates.
Develop a Goal
Take a snapshot of where your current daily disposable sales are as a starting point. Most distributors or manufacturers can provide your total daily disposable sales as a percent of overall contact lens sales. Use those numbers to take a unified approach to moving your numbers in a specified direction. The daily disposable modality is a great product to consider renewing your practice’s contact lens focus. CLS
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, Allergan, CooperVision, and Visioneering Technologies. You can reach him at email@example.com.