By Gina M. Wesley, OD, MS, FAAO
As a contact lens wearer myself, I know how important it is to keep a contact lens patient’s eyes comfortable, from the beginning of the day to the end. One of the best ways to do this is by recommending a hydrogen peroxide solution like CLEAR CARE PLUS to patients wearing contact lenses requiring cleaning. Hydrogen peroxide keeps lenses clean, ensuring a fresh-feeling lens every morning. With that clean comfort comes a patient who is able to stay in their contact lenses for years, avoiding dropping out of their contact lenses due to discomfort. That ability to wear contact lenses comfortably for years adds up to more satisfied patients who stay in my practice longer and refer others.
Keep Patient Eyes Clean & Comfortable
CLEAR CARE has a proven safety profile for both use and effectiveness with cleaning and disinfecting. It exceeds the FDA and ISO standards for a contact lens solution disinfection, which makes me feel more comfortable in the level of protection my patients now have when using the CLEAR CARE family of solutions. Now, with Hydraglyde in CLEAR CARE PLUS, we get the cleaning action of CLEAR CARE and the conditioning and moisturizing action that improves the lens-wear experience.
Reduce Contact Lens Dropouts
If you look at recent study data, the number one drop-out reason for contact lens wearers in the U.S., at a whopping 50 percent, is discomfort (Rumpakis article, Rev of Opt, New Data on CL dropouts). What if a simple change in solution is all it takes to make that lens wearer more comfortable and stay in lenses for several more years, or longer? That’s the potential I see with CLEAR CARE PLUS. The combination of the safety profile of CLEAR CARE, and the power of the moisture matrix of Hydraglyde, is a win for both practitioner and patient.
In addition to keeping patients satisfied, reducing contact lens dropouts has a positive impact on the financial growth of a practice. If you once again look at recent research ((Rumpakis article, Rev of Opt, New Data on CL dropouts), the average practice has about 34 percent of total patients in contact lenses. The replacement rate of new wearers versus those who are dropping out is slightly lower, which means we are losing contact lens wearers more quickly than we can replace them. Today’s highly digital world surely affects this number, so all the more reason to do what we can to keep our contact lens patients happy.
The median value of a contact lens wearer over the life of in-office time is approximately $21,000. The median lifetime value of a non-contact lens wearer is thousands of dollars less. These numbers are staggering for the average practice, and even more staggering for those practices who have more than 34 percent of their patients in contact lenses. I currently have 50 percent of all my patients in lenses, and know that my contact lens patient brings in $300+ more per year than my spectacle-only wearers. If I don’t keep my current contact lens wearers happy, and enable them to stay in their contact lenses, my practice will financially begin to move backward.
Maintain Patient Confidence in You
Loss of confidence by our patients is something we attempt to never have, but it can happen. By prescribing hydrogen peroxide solution for patients right away, instead of saving it as a “problem solver,” we can avoid problematic cleaning and discomfort issues for our patients, plus hopefully prevent an adverse wear event.
In the CLAY study by Chalmers et al., it was shown that multipurpose solution usage by our soft contact lens wearers increases the likelihood of a corneal infiltrative event (CIE). This becomes even more likely in our youngest wearers, including teenagers. By starting our non-daily disposable wearers (those in two-week or longer-wear lenses) in CLEAR CARE PLUS right away, we are potentially keeping them safer and more comfortable for the long term.
Educate, Transition Patients to Hydrogen Peroxide
Education is key when transitioning a patient from an MPS to the CLEAR CARE family. First, I detail why I am switching them. Whether this is lens cleanliness, deposit issues, sensitivities, allergies, dryness, or just because I think it will be a better solution for them, we discuss it. Then, I show them briefly how to use it, and actually point out the directions on the back of the box. I remind them to never use this solution in their eye, or on the contact lens, which they would then put directly in the eye. I also point out to make sure the vial doesn’t get knocked on its side, as this may affect the neutralization process necessary in the cleaning process. We also make sure the time necessary to clean within the vial is allotted to ensure proper disinfection.
Have Staff Reinforce Hydrogen Peroxide Message
It always helps to have staff reiterate the directions once more for patients, additionally if they have questions. I often observe parents asking staff once again why I may have prescribed CLEAR CARE for their child, as the parent (who is often a lens wearer, as well), may not have used it previously. Again, once we educate, the transition is fairly seamless.
Patients Who Try It Know: Hydrogen Peroxide is a Winner
Your education of patients, reinforced by your staff, is capped off when patients try a hydrogen peroxide solution like CLEAR CARE PLUS for themselves. They’ll notice the added cleanliness of the lens, the added comfort, and remember you as the doctor who finally prescribed it for them.
Gina M. Wesley, OD, MS, FAAO, is the owner of Complete Eye Care of Medina in Medina, Minn. To contact her: email@example.com.