By Chad Carlsson, OD
Nov. 18, 2020
Presbyopia can be hard for patients to hear they have, as it is a reminder of the aging process. It can be even harder to find a solution for the presbyopia that works for these patients. The right multifocal contact lens can make all the difference in helping presbyopic patients maintain the lifestyle and personal appearance they are used to.
I found a multifocal lens that consistently delivers positive patient experiences, while helping me to grow my patient base: NaturalVue® Multifocal 1 Day Contact Lenses. Having a go-to lens like this to prescribe is essential for me, as around 20 percent of my patients are presbyopic. One-fifth of my patients can benefit from this contact lens as a solution to their difficulties seeing both near and far. The fact that these lenses are only offered out of private practices, and not online, or in big box stores, is another advantage to prescribing them. These lenses have become an important part of my work, as 60 percent of my contact lens fittings are for daily disposable lenses, and the multifocal fits I do are mostly for daily disposable lenses.
Presenting Just the Help Patients Need
Getting long-time patients to try a multifocal lens is important to avoiding contact lens dropouts. I usually wait for emerging presbyopes to tell me they’re having problems with their single-vision contacts before introducing them to a multifocal lens. This way they’re ready and open to making a change. Multifocals usually mean paying a higher price for their contact lenses, but since the patient has expressed their frustration with single-vision lenses, they’re ready to pay a little more for higher-quality vision. They now can see the value in being able to see near and far without reading glasses.
Sharing the Key Advantages of Multifocal Contact Lenses
I usually ask presbyopic patients if they want to continue wearing their contacts while regaining what they lost in up-close vision. I note the inconvenience of having to continue grabbing “cheaters,” or reading glasses, from their purse, desk or shirt pocket every time they want to look at their phone. I usually start by asking if they can see their phone comfortably with single-vision lenses, let alone a menu in a dim restaurant. If the patient struggles with seeing either of those things, then I usually educate them about the benefit of wearing multifocal lenses. I emphasize the great advantage of being able to do away with the constant inconvenience of not being able to see up close.
Set Patient Expectations to Make Success in Multifocal Lenses More Likely
I usually instruct patients new to multifocals that there is a neuro-adaptation phase that takes place with their brain adapting to the variable optics of the lenses, and to try them out for a solid week of their normal routine before asking for adjustments to the Rx. I try to get it done the first time by making sure they’re at least 20/20- in each eye at distance, but 20/20+ with both eyes. I also like to have at least 20/30- each eye at near and 20/25 with both eyes at near before dispensing lenses for them to try for the week.
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I tell patients the adaption to multifocal contacts is like eating a candy bar every day for years and then all of a sudden being told they now have to eat an apple everyday instead. The apple is healthier for them in the long run, but it will take time to change a habit they have enjoyed for so long. I tell patients there is usually a happy medium one adapts to with multifocal lenses, so that their distance vision might not be as crisp as it was before multifocals, but now they can read up close, too, with no need for reading glasses.
Get to Know Your Patients
Don’t be afraid to ask and dig a little deeper with patients when gathering their case history, asking about their occupation, hobbies and other activities. Taking the time to get to know your patient builds trust and opens up lines of communication so your patient feels they’re being heard, respected, and ultimately, happy that you understand their perspective. This instills trust in you that will make it easier to work with the patient to find the best solutions for their needs, including ensuring they are happy in their new multifocal contacts.
Efficient, Easy Fittings
A good refraction and knowing the art of fitting multifocals is usually all I need to get the fitting right the first time with NaturalVue. Duochrome testing with NaturalVue has been a game changer in getting the right lens powers on your first try.
Multifocals from a Company that Supports Independent Optometry
The fact that this company was founded by an optometrist/aerospace engineer, and that its leaders are in full support of private practice optometry, is a huge reason why I support and prescribe NaturalVue lenses to my patients.
NaturalVue Multifocal 1 Day Contact Lenses will help keep your patients–and your practice–thriving.