By Vince Zingaro, OD
Sept. 9, 2020
Some optometrists have come up with dozens of excuses not to fit daily disposable multifocal contact lenses. Cost, time, difficulty, patient satisfaction and a reluctance to change, are just some of the barriers that many of us create for ourselves when it comes to fitting presbyopes into lenses that most of us agree are the best for patients.
The daily disposable modality is perfect for presbyopes as they often struggle with dry eye syndrome. Sometimes we forget that we’re the doctor and patients are expecting us to offer them the best products and technology for their eyes and lifestyle. It takes effort, but the reward is increased patient satisfaction, increased patient referrals and increased revenue for more multifocal fits.
I began offering multifocal contacts to all of my presbyopic patients in 2018 at a previous practice. Prior to that, my success rate was about 33 percent; in other words, only about one-in-three patients would actually order a supply of contacts. I’m now at about a 90 percent success rate. I was an associate in a satellite office of my former practice in 2018 and 2019, and the gross revenue increased 33 percent and 41 percent, respectively, primarily due to the increased success rate when prescribing daily disposable multifocals.
When I left that practice in early 2020, we were fitting 83 percent of our patients in daily disposable contacts, and over 90 percent of our multifocal patients were in daily disposables.
The referrals generated by happy daily disposable multifocal wearers have been a surprising bonus as it’s brought more families into the practice. I’ve experienced this now at three very different practices.
Here are a few key ways to drive more patients into daily disposable multifocal contacts:
Follow the Fit Guide
I initially made the mistake of thinking that I could wing it and simply add minus lenses for myopes if they had distance complaints and bump up the add if they had near complaints. This led to a lot of frustration for me and my patients. Each of the major contact lens companies have a fit guide designed specifically for their product and it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to follow the guide. In many of the advanced multifocal designs, more plus power is needed to help both distance and near vision. The more of these lenses you fit, the more confident you’ll be that you can handle most of your presbyopes’ visual needs.
Offer Daily Disposable Multifocal Contact Lenses to All Presbyopes
This sounds simple enough, but patients often only know what you tell them. Too many patients are unaware that multifocal contact lenses exist, let alone that they can be worn successfully in a daily disposable modality. Many patients drop out of contact lenses when they become presbyopic and are eager to get back into contact lenses if they can be free of reading glasses. The convenience of not having to clean the contacts is an added bonus for many patients. Some patients may choose to only wear them on a part-time basis, and therefore, would be best suited in a daily disposable lens.
Be Enthusiastic While Setting Expectations
Enthusiasm is contagious. Showing patients that you are excited to solve their vision needs with lenses that are convenient and comfortable goes a long way in assuring them that there will be a high probability of success. Always be positive, but set visual expectations.
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My wording is similar to this: “The goal with these lenses is that you’ll be free of glasses for most of your day. You’ll see pretty well in the distance and you should be able to navigate your phone and computer easily. You may need reading glasses for small print, such as on a medicine bottle, or in dim lighting, but you won’t need to worry about carrying glasses around anymore for most of your visual concerns.”
Assure the Patient Their Vision Will Improve Over Several Days
When we dispense progressive glasses to patients, we often inform them that it may take a few days to get used to wearing them before they feel completely comfortable, the same goes for multifocal contacts. I like to tell the patient that “day one is always the worst.” Most patients do well enough on the initial fit that this boosts their confidence that they’ll get used to this new visual system and be able to successfully wear their lenses.
Shift Financial Discussions from Price to Value
Daily disposable multifocal contact lenses are not cheap. Explaining to patients why you chose the lens specifically for them, telling them how many contact lenses they’ll be receiving, the health benefits of a daily disposable lens modality and how the newest multifocal lens technology allows for better optics are all ways to help our patients understand the value of the lens.
I like to add that they’ll save at least $100 per year off of their grocery bill as they won’t need contact lens cleaning solution. Annual supply rebates are higher for daily disposable contacts than other modalities, creating even more value for patients.
Daily disposable multifocal contact lenses have the potential to be a great practice builder. Successful fits often drive referrals of new patients who are eager to be free from glasses. The daily disposable modality frequently allows a new opportunity for patients who could not wear the contact lenses of 20 years ago because of discomfort. In a time when maximizing revenue for each patient is crucial, success in this niche is a win for both the patient and the practice.