By Amber C. Zaunbrecher, OD
Feb. 23, 2022
Your presbyopic patients need a vision correction solution that enhances quality of life while enabling them to stay in their contact lenses. Fortunately, I have found a lens, NaturalVue Multifocal (etafilcon A) 1 Day Contact Lenses from Visioneering Technologies (VTI), that is improving the ease and satisfaction with which my presbyopic patients wear contacts. Here is the impact this lens is making on my patients and practice.
Multifocal with a Unique Design
I was introduced to NaturalVue in 2015 at a former practice. My office manager heard about a new lens that a practitioner in Alabama was fitting that was a multifocal with a universal add power. I was intrigued, found VTI online, requested a fit set, and was introduced to the rep.
As time heals all wounds, it also affects all near vision! Every patient (best corrected), at some point, will have near-vision problems, so another tool in our armamentarium is always appreciated.
The advantage of the NaturalVue over many other multifocal contact lens options is the design of the lens. It is a distance-centered optic in a daily disposable platform. That alone makes it unique. The lens also comes in 0.25 steps from +4.00 to -12.25 with a ten-lens trial pack. Adaptation to a new material and design of lenses alone can take 3-5 days, so having 10 lenses gives the patients’ brains more time to acclimate to change.
Presbyopia is a time of visual change both in glasses and contact lenses. Patients who need to maximize depth perception (pilots, artists, tennis players or golfers, to name a few) benefit from the extended depth-of-focus design of NaturalVue. In a monovision contact lens design, the stereoacuity is reduced up to 10x due to the lack of binocularity. The distance-centered platform of NaturalVue does not reduce depth perception, thus providing a significant advantage for a multitude of patients’ visual needs.
Excellent Multifocal for a Presbyopia-Heavy Practice
Our practice’s primary demographics are ages 35-55, so presbyopia is a HOT topic in our practice. We see 1,000-2,000 presbyopic patients a year. Over half are in some type of presbyopic contact lens modality.
The entire NaturalVue portfolio (both sphere and multifocal) are my most prescribed contact lens. In addition to the high satisfaction rate of patients in these lenses, I have peace of mind knowing that NaturalVue contacts are not sold by large online retailers. I know that patients will be purchasing their annual supplies from me or another eyecare provider. One hundred percent of products purchased from VTI goes back into our optometric community. I love that both for our profession and for our local economy.
Patients are happy to purchase the lenses at checkout and receive a six months or year supply shipped directly to their home. I am thankful because I know the product they have ordered is what will be delivered to their home and worn throughout the year.
The Advantage of a Daily Disposable Multifocal With Effective Wetting Agent
Daily disposable contact lenses are the primary lens modality for our practice. The majority of patients are already in the NaturalVue single-vision lens as they approach presbyopia. The transition is easier to the NaturalVue Multifocals since patients are already used to the lens material and wetting agents. This was recently made easier with the launch of NaturalVue Enhanced Multifocal 1 Day with triple-tear lubrication system since it is already present in the NaturalVue sphere lens.
One patient recently called back after a trial of NaturalVue Enhanced Multifocal thanking us for “curing her dry eye.” What a statement! We politely thanked her for her feedback on the enhanced lens as she ordered a year supply of the lenses.
Educate Patients to Boost Chances of Success
Many presbyopic patients don’t know there are contact lenses that will let them see near and far. Here is an example of what I might tell a presbyopic patient about the contact lens options available to them:
“Mrs. Jones, I hear what you are saying. I understand that when you go to read small print it is becoming more difficult and you feel like you are having to push reading items back to see better. I can assure you that you are NOT alone. Although it is not fun, it happens to everyone, so you are in good company! Let me walk through the options that we have for correction. First, we can continue with your current distance correction with reading glasses used for small print.
Second, we can trial monovision. Monovision is one eye for distance and one eye for near. With this set up, your depth perception will not be as good as with both eyes focused for the distance. Hobbies like tennis and golf tend to be more difficult since one eye is focused for distance and other for near.
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Thirdly, we can try a multifocal in one or both eyes. Multifocal contact lenses are similar to progressive glasses in contact lens form. The benefit is that you do not have to look down in the contact lens for them to work. You simply put the contact lenses on and your brain figures out how to use them. With ANY multifocal contact lens, you will notice a slight increase in haloing while driving at night. The trade-off is that you should not have to reach for reading glasses during the day. If you do need to drive a long distance at night, I am happy to give you a trial sleeve of single-vision contact lenses for these trips.”
It’s important to understand that not all patients wear contact lenses every day. Some patients like to wear just on weekends or just for sports. By asking detailed questions of patients about their work, lifestyle or hobbies, we can nail down a tailored approach to contact lens wear time or modality. Patients who desire weekend-only contact lens use benefit from a daily modality. One 90-pack of lenses will last 45 weeks at two days a week use (per eye)! This is more hygienic for the eye and less costly to the patient. Win for both!
Patience & the Right Multifocal Go a Long Way
Multifocal contact lenses are not hard. A contact lens design is stationary, but patients’ visual demands are not. Patients’ brains are unique, and when working with multifocal contact lenses, some brains adapt quickly and others do not. I do not think there is such a thing as a failed contact lens fitting. As long as you: 1. Know your product from material to design 2. Set proper expectations for vision and 3. Do your best. In the end, it is up to the patient’s brain to accept what you have asked of it. A great multifocal like NaturalVue can make this process easier for both doctor and patient, creating happy patients who return to your office year after year for care.
Disclaimer: Dr. Zaunbrecher was compensated for her time in preparing this article.
MKT NVM AP61