By Mile Brujic, OD
Mile Brujic, OD
and David Kading, OD
The right lens care–with a quality solution–can ensure contact lens wearing comfort and reduce your costly contact lens dropouts.
Advances in contact lens materials such as silicone hydrogels have improved the contact lens-wearing experience–if the lenses are cared for properly. The ability of advanced contact lenses to provide comfortable long-term wear is only as good as the patient’s lens care routine, including the kind of solution the patient uses. For that reason, we not only prescribe specific contact lenses for our patients, but we also pair them with the solution we would like them to use. Here are our top tips for ensuring your patient uses a solution that will complement the advanced technology of the lenses you have prescribed.
Silicone Hydrogels Susceptible to Dryness–with Wrong Wear and Care
Some 64 percent of new lenses prescribed are silicone hydrogels, according to Contact Lens Spectrum’s 2012 Contact Lenses report. Silicone is an inherently non-wettable material because it is a hydrophobic molecule. This makes the surface of the lens dry unless the manufacturer includes surface treatments or wetting components, and not all manufacturers of silicone hydrogel lenses do so. For that reason, we take special care when recommending silicone hydrogel lenses to instruct patients to use a high-quality, branded contact lens solution like OPTI-FREE® PureMoist® Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution to clean and store their contacts.
We are adamant about the type of solution that we instruct patients to use because many of the generic solutions that patients utilize were formulated prior to the widespread utilization of silicone hydrogel lenses. Thus, some of these solutions do not have the chemistry formulations specifically targeted for the non-wetting silicone materials. OPTI-FREE® PureMoist® MPDS was specifically formulated for silicone hydrogel lenses.
Doctor’s Role to Educate and Recommend
We educate patients about the material used to make their lenses and the concern of that material becoming dry if our recommended wear and care regimen is not followed. We explain to them that the formulation of generic solutions was invented before the advent of silicone hydrogel lenses. By contrast, newer solutions such as the ones that we recommend to them were developed specifically with silicone hydrogels in mind. In addition, we explain that silicone hydrogel contact lenses attract lipids and hydrogel contact lenses have a tendency, when not cared for properly, to attract protein deposits. A solution like OPTI-FREE® PureMoist® MPDS effectively removes those protein deposits and reduces lipid deposition.
Write Down Your Recommendation for Specific Solution
Along with a strong recommendation, we also like to let the patient know of the solution’s importance to their overall successful contact lens wearing experience. We avoid the common practice of just handing the patient a contact lens sample kit, grab bag style, with free solution and contact lens case. When we give patients a sample, we instruct them why it is the solution chosen for them.
Note Signs Your Patient Hasn’t Used Your Recommended Solution
In addition to all of their eyewear, you can ask patients to bring in all of their eye care products when they come in for their annual exam. In our offices, we have been doing this for several years now and we are astonished by the things that patients bring in. In addition to their eyewear, eye drops, and contact lens case, we also ask them to bring in their lens care solution. When the solution bottle is expired, we know that the patient has not been cleaning their lenses as often as we recommended and that they are probably “topping off” the solution in their case rather than throwing out the solution each morning. A fully compliant contact lens wearer should go through 24 10 oz. bottles of multi-purpose solution per year. If they are using less, then we know they are not following the proper instructions for contact lens care.
Proper Care and Handling
Patients are not aware of the comfort that they are missing when they report that their lenses are “fine.” It is up to us to investigate how our patients are caring for their lenses in an effort to maximize their success. By finding out the solutions that patients utilize and the methodology that they use, we can better understand how to instruct them for future use. Give your patients a full explanation of why you are recommending the lens care solution to them as they walk out the door. Doing more than handing them a lens care kit will help ensure that they utilize the solution that you have recommended for them.
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