By Vince Zingaro, OD
Dec. 21, 2022
One of the most common responses I hear from new patients when I ask how their contact lenses are working out is “good.” As a doctor with a full schedule of patients, it’s a comforting response to hear. It would be easy for any doctor to quickly evaluate the fit and vision of the lens and move on to the next patient, however, I don’t believe that accepting “good” is in the best interest for the patient or your practice.
Here are a few reasons “good” is an inadequate response, and how we take our conversation with contact lens patients a step further to provide better care while increasing our practice profitability.
“Good” Doesn’t Always Mean Satisfied
“Good” and “fine” are two words that the vast majority of patients in my office and others around the world use to describe their contact lenses, but often patients are afraid that if they tell the doctor that they’re unhappy with their lenses, they will be told that they must give them up and wear glasses. They’re often unaware that new technology in contact lenses offer better comfort, handling and vision than most older lenses.
Some patients may assume that some discomfort in contact lenses is normal. They may blame this on increased screen time or working environment, when the problem could be the outdated technology of their lenses.
Better approach to take: Asking the patient questions about their hobbies, lifestyle and work environment can help determine which lens may better suit a patient. It’s up to the doctor to select a brand that best fits a patient’s need.
Patient’s Don’t Know What they’re Missing
Daily disposable contact lenses have exploded in growth over the last decade. Despite this growth, there are still many patients who haven’t been offered this modality of lens wear. You can take your patients from good to great by offering them newer daily disposable contact lenses that often feature increased comfort, higher Dk/t values and more convenience than reusable lenses. This is especially true for our presbyopic patients.
In our office, daily disposable multifocal contact lenses have been one of the biggest referral sources for new patients. It has increased the number of patients we see each day, increased revenue on average over 10 percent annually over the last three years, and created a cohort of highly loyal patients.
Better approach to take: Don’t assume that patients know what is best for their eyes. Always offer contact lenses to each patient, especially your presbyopic patients. Check with your sales representative to hone your expertise in this area, as they are a wealth of information.
If You Don’t Upgrade Your Patients’ Contacts, Someone Else Will!
Optometry is becoming more competitive each year. Patients have far more options now than they did a decade ago. Virtual eye exams, online vision screenings and more discount online retailers aim to take away our patients and our profit. It’s more important than ever to upgrade your patient’s experience. Patients want to get more value out of their contact lens fitting fees. Switching your patients into a new daily disposable contact is a great way to do that.
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Better approach to take: The little time it takes to educate a patient on why you want to upgrade them can pay huge dividends for your office. We have seen our annual supply rate increase by 10-15 percent committing to the daily disposable modality. Manufacturer rebates make it an easy transition for the patient. Patients in daily disposables are generally more compliant in their lenses, and, therefore, return to the office more frequently.
If you’re just doing the minimum to help the patient, there’s a good chance that patient will eventually end up in the chair of someone offering something great.
Having this mindset of desiring the best for your contact lens patients will trickle into other areas of your practice. The same ideas can be applied to the optical department, dry eye treatment, and even your office décor.
Start with a commitment to ask just one patient today, “How can we possibly make your contact lenses better than they already are?” The results will snowball from there!