By Andrew J. Brauer, OD
May 4, 2022
Today’s presbyopes are just like everyone else; more demanding than ever. They want to be able to go out and read menus. They want to feel comfortable driving home at night. They want their vision to work for their active lifestyles, and they don’t want to be bothered by on-again, off-again, glasses. In other words, they want their eyes to be like a 20-year old’s again. Or at least like a 35-year-old.
The NaturalVue Multifocal (etafilcon A) 1 Day Contact Lenses from Visioneering Technologies, Inc. (VTI) allows me to understand all of that and still say, “challenge accepted.”
My #1 Multifocal
Of my presbyopic contact lens patients, almost 20 percent wear NaturalVue. That may not sound like a high percentage, but given how many tools I keep in my toolbox (I utilize about a dozen soft multifocal designs, plus multifocal corneal GPs, hybrids and scleral GPs) it’s my most frequently prescribed multifocal for presbyopes by far. And that’s not even counting pre-presbyopic multifocal fits, where I choose NaturalVue more like 80 percent of the time (but that’s a topic for another day.)
Achieving Your Greatest Return on Fitting Time
Revenue per patient is one of the best ways to gauge your practice efficiency, and this comes down to your fees for a product or service multiplied by how many of your patients get that from you versus going somewhere else (capture rate.)
In our competitive world, the real way to move the needle on practice efficiency is to elevate the fraction of patients who choose to get their products and services from you. Not surprisingly, capture rates are lowest among patients who wear more commoditized, single-vision glasses and contact lenses, and only somewhat better for progressive spectacle wearers. Patients wearing multifocal contact lenses tend to be among the most loyal patients, eclipsed only by those wearing fully custom lens options like Ortho-K and scleral GPs.
In what should surprise no one, the big-picture view here is that when you provide higher-quality services and products, like daily disposable multifocals and custom lens options to more of your patients, your practice efficiency will skyrocket. I would encourage anyone to build up their custom lens skill set, but this simply isn’t feasible for every doctor or every practice setting. However, every doctor can start prescribing more daily disposable multifocals today.
The Right Tool for the Job
NaturalVue Multifocal is literally in a category by itself. It is the first and only soft multifocal on the U.S. market to employ an extended depth of focus (EDOF) design, and this is a big deal. Every other soft multifocal out there is a variation of the simultaneous vision concept, and therefore, of each other.
With simultaneous vision, the retina will always be presented with multiple images of varying clarity superimposed onto one another, and it’s the brain’s job to constantly determine which image to attend to, which to ignore, and continually switch between them as needed. A real-world consequence of this can be delayed refocusing time when shifting from near to far gaze, or vice versa. Another is the inability to fully suppress the defocused image, leading to subpar clarity and reduced contrast sensitivity.
NaturalVue’s EDOF design creates a virtual pinhole effect that provides a wide range of clear vision , so the brain isn’t constantly trying to figure out how to see best. The NaturalVue Multifocal’s EDOF design is therefore immune to the image confusion that is common in all of its competitors.
Because the NaturalVue’s depth of focus exceeds the +2.50 maximum ADD power available in most other soft multifocal designs, NaturalVue Multifocal can wow patients with tangibly better near vision than its competitors without sacrificing distance clarity.
And, as if that weren’t enough, NaturalVue continues to be the only design that’s available in quarter steps through its entire range for the most precise vision possible.
Get Ready for Some Pleasant Surprises
When I was brand new to NaturalVue, I was intrigued by the possibilities and tried it on a sixty-something patient with -1.75 of astigmatism in both eyes and a +2.50 spectacle ADD. She was one of those patients who had pretty much tried every type of contact lens out there and found each one of them unacceptable for one reason or another.
I placed a pair of NaturalVues on her eyes, and after just a few minutes, she could see 20/25 OD, OS, OU at distance and near, and was thrilled. She was hooked, and I was too.
One of the underappreciated benefits of NaturalVue is its size. At 8.3/14.5, it’s the largest soft lens by a pretty wide margin, even dwarfing the torics. Not only does this help NaturalVue center better than most (which is especially critical for multifocal optics), but there’s a sizable minority of patients out there with relatively large corneas who find NaturalVue to be the only lens they can wear comfortably, simply because it fits them well. Those patients, who have often tried and been unsatisfied with all of the more hyped “premium” lenses on the market (and worse, have been told by their doctors that it was their eyes’ fault) usually ask, “Why didn’t my last doctor tell me about NaturalVue?”
Already Out in Front & Extending the Lead
Comfort has always been the biggest cause of contact lens dropouts industry-wide (especially among patients in their forties and beyond.) Therefore, anything that improves comfort and reduces dropouts will be a great benefit for patient and practice.
NaturalVue Enhanced Multifocal 1 Day contact lenses, with its Triple-Tear lubrication system, has been a unanimous leap forward in comfort among my patients, so much so that I now use the Enhanced version as if it were the only version. All my happy NaturalVue patients just got happier.
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An Industry Partner You Can Count On
We all know that counterfeit contact lenses, and online vendors operating unlawfully are huge problems that threaten patient safety and damage the doctor-patient relationship. All manufacturers claim to be fighting these problems. However, I think it’s revealing that VTI, with resources that pale in comparison to the largest contact-lens manufacturers, has been by far the most effective at protecting the integrity of its products. Another underappreciated distinction is that VTI only offers the daily disposable modality because that is what is best for patients.
VTI leverages the visual dominance of the NaturalVue Multifocal to firmly nudge patients toward better ocular health by simply refusing to offer inferior modalities. This is best for patient and doctor alike, and it’s accelerating our industry into the future of better eyecare.
Disclaimer: Dr. Brauer was compensated for his time in preparing this article.