Daily contact lenses have a lot to offer patients.
In this video, Dr. Kate Gettinger describes who should wear daily contact lenses, the advantages of dailies, and how to communicate and educate patients on them.
Who should wear daily contact lenses?
Dr. Gettinger suggest that some of the best candidates for daily contact lenses are those patients that are new to lens wear, those part time wearers, or those wearers who are partaking in hobbies or activities that are extremely demanding in regards to vision or challenging environments.
Some of the known advantages of daily contact lenses include:
- Improved health and safety profile
- Better comfort
- Promotes better compliance
- No contact lens solution interactions
Patients who currently wear monthly or two-week contact lenses and are happy in that modality can also benefit from daily contact lenses, even if it is on a part-time basis, like for vacations, sports, or different situations where the convenience of dailies might be advantageous. Dr. Gettinger therefore at the very least allows or educates those patients on daily disposables as an adjunctive option to their current lens wear.
Watch more on the benefits of daily disposable lenses:
When it comes to the cost of daily contact lenses, there are a few key points to remember.
Cost is always a consideration when dealing with patients who are also consumers of the products we recommend. Dr. Gettinger does not allow price to dictate her recommendations though or dominate the discussion in the exam room. Prescribing the lens of choice you believe will provide the best contact lens wearing experience for your patient is key.
Discussing the benefits of the lens and educating your patients on why you believe a daily contact lens might be their best option oftentimes helps patients understand those costs differences and in many instances gives them the opportunity to perceive the value. When patients understand why something costs more and how that translates into a better experience both in terms of comfort, safety, and convenience, the cost factor becomes less of an “issue” so to speak.
For those patients that are on the fence, one thing you can consider doing is allowing them to experience the value for themselves. Trialing the daily contact lenses you recommend and another pair of lenses be it a different daily disposable or a different modality altogether and having them be able to experience those differences first hand can provide them with enough insight to either value the differences in cost.
There are some tips and techniques to keep in mind when fitting new contact lens wearers.
Success can hinge upon two main things: setting expectations and patient motivation.
If a patient is motivated to wear contact lenses, they generally tend to be more successful throughout the fitting process. It is not uncommon to see parents pushing their kids into lenses even though the child is not quite ready for them. This only places extreme anxiety on the child and can lead to failure. These situations can really benefit from a discussion with parents on why it might be advantageous to wait.
Setting patient expectations when it comes to contact lens wear is also pivotal. Before you can set expectations for patients however, you need to understand what patients want out of their lenses and what they are wearing them for. Once you are armed with that knowledge, you can make better contact lens recommendations when it comes to modality and lens options.
In Dr. Gettinger’s experience, the main reason she observes contact lens dropout is because patient expectations were not managed properly from the very beginning. It usually is not because there isn’t a lens out there that can provide comfort and wear time for them, but rather, their expectations or goals were not quite aligned with what their lenses could offer.
Troubleshooting contact lens problems
Patients are often reluctant to share their problems. Sometimes this is because they fear that you might take their lenses away or they might not be able to wear contact lenses anymore. This can lead to silent sufferers which can create a very negative contact lens wearing experience.
When contact lens patients present for their exams, Dr. Gettinger makes it a point to really drill patients about their lenses and get into specifics when it comes to comfort and wear time.
Asking the question, “how are your contact lenses?” gives patients the opportunity to give you one word answers like “good.” This really tells you nothing about the comfort, or how long they can wear the lenses, or how often they are removing them etc. Use case history as an opportunity to really understand your patient’s contact lens wearing experience and whether or not their current lens is the right fit for them.
Using this information and pairing it with a thorough examination will really allow you to uncover potential problem areas or room for improvement.
Watch more on troubleshooting discomfort in contact lenses:
Always make your best recommendation.
Patients have access to more information and resources than ever before. This gives them the ability to learn about lenses, or make decisions on what lenses or what kind of lens modality they want to be in. As ECPs, we can often fall into the trap of wanting to just give patients what they want to make them happy. What is most important however is to always make your best recommendation, but give patients an explanation as to why you are making that recommendation. In the end, you have the knowledge and experience and are the subject matter expert, which patients understand, and making a professional recommendation is something they always value.