Allow me to share with you my top three tips to helping patients achieve the highest level of satisfaction with their contact lenses. 

• Fit the lens to the patient—not the patient to the lens.
• Ask the “right questions” in the most carefully constructed way and listen to the answers.
• Proactively partner with the patient in controlling modifiable variables.  

Given the expansive and ever-increasing array of contact lens materials and optical designs, a careful patient history and comprehensive clinical evaluation allows me to select the best “fit” for my patients in three key areas: physical lens parameters, the optical parameters and the material characteristics. My primary goal is achieving comfort upon lens insertion and optimizing visual performance; this is best accomplished by careful management of any ocular surface deficiencies, as well as working with many contact lens brands and designs and lens care products.

To ensure a successful fit, I avoid open-ended questions in order to gain the most direct, accurate and valuable responses during follow-up visits. For instance, I do not simply ask, “How are you doing with your contact lenses?” The answer to that question may be “Fine.” Such a response does not tell me if there is anything I need to do or recommend to improve my patient’s experience. Instead, I prefer to ask, “How do your contact lenses feel at the end of your wearing day?” Even successful contact lens wearers often experience a decrease in comfort toward the end of the day. Early identification of these “silent sufferers” is paramount in reducing the very real likelihood of eventual lens wear dropout.

Finally, I acknowledge that the contact lens care system is one of the most important modifiable variables in helping to provide my patients a satisfactory level of end-of-day comfort.  In fact, in a recent 30-day multi-centered clinical study of some 109 soft contact lens wearers, the impact of care solution on comfort was investigated.1 OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® MPDS (the test solution) was compared to two older multi-purpose products, Complete MPS Easy Rub (Abbott Medical Optics) and ReNu Multi-Plus MPS (Bausch + Lomb). Seventy-one percent of the subjects agreed that OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® MPDS enhanced their overall lens wearing experience more effectively than their previous solution. Furthermore, 81% of the participants indicated they would continue to use OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® solution after the conclusion of the study.1
While careful selection of contact lens material allows me to optimize wear schedules and deliver improved corneal health, the importance of the synergy between the lens and the care solution is equally critical.

OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® MPDS, with its TearGlyde® Reconditioning System, attracts a thin layer of moisture on the lens surface throughout the day, and is biocompatible with the wide variety of lenses I prescribe. 

For these reasons, OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® MPDS is my care system of choice. Knowing that drugstores and retail outlets bombard consumers (patients) with lookalike and generic products, I reinforce the features of OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® solution and the benefits of “product loyalty” at every visit. Delivering comfort is a powerful means of ensuring compliance!

This column is sponsored by Alcon.

1. Corbin GS, Bennett L, Espejo L, et al. A multicenter investigation of OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® multi-purpose disinfecting solution impact on soft contact lens patient comfort. Clin Ophthalmol. 2010 Feb 2;4:47-57.