If you’re like me, 80% to 90% of the contact lens patients you see on any given day are patients whom you have followed for three years or more, i.e. established patients. Unfortunately, these valuable practice-sustaining patients are the ones we often fail to value enough. For example, in conducting routine re-evaluations we may falsely interpret that non-complaining patients are satisfied with their contact lens comfort. We may further assume that these patients are adhering to our recommended lens care and replacement regimen. And finally, we may take for granted that these patients remember and understand why we have prescribed a particular lens and a particular solution.
While we work so hard to attract new patients, let’s not lose sight of the importance and relative ease of keeping our current contact lens patients happy and motivated to wear their lenses. After all, these are the patients we count on to return and bring in referrals. I’d like to recommend a few simple, yet effective, steps that you and your staff can take to ensure that your experienced contact lens patients receive the same attentive care as your new wearers.
• Start by assuming that any “experienced” patient may have become non-compliant (even if just occasionally) with either his/her wearing schedule or lens care. Further assume that he or she may occasionally or habitually purchase a new bottle of the “solution du jour” at their favorite retailer.
• Ask your patients to bring their solution bottle with them to their visit along with their lens case and eyeglasses. This provides an excellent opportunity to review the benefits of your recommendation or to re-educate if they have switched solutions.
• You will also be able to inspect the condition of the lens case to assess overall care habits and reinforce appropriate behaviors.
• Finally, ask your patient how old their current lenses are and how many lenses remain in their supply. This allows you to determine how attentive they are to lens replacement.
When prescribing OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® solution, I inform patients that it will help keep their lenses moist for up to 14 hours and that it provides enhanced lens wear comfort.1-3 My staff reinforces the message by referring to the 3 Cs; OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® solution provides comfort, convenience and compatibility with your lenses.
Simply put, give a strong and repeated verbal message to your patient as to why they should use only your recommended solution. The message must be specific, focused and impactful. So, rather than just furnishing a sample kit, re-educate them. Explain that you are prescribing OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® solution to make a positive difference in his daily lens wearing experience. The goal is to motivate the patient that has “strayed” to get back on track with proper lens care and timely lens replacement or even better, to prevent them from straying in the first place.
1. Schachet J, Zigler L, Wakabayashi D, Cohen S. Clinical assessment of a new multi-purpose solution in asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. Poster presented at: AAO; December 2006; Denver, CO.
2. Meadows D, Ketelson H, Napier L, Christensen M, Mathis J. Clinical ex vivo wettability of traditional and silicone hydrogel soft contact lenses. Poster presented at: BCLA; May 2006; Birmingham, UK.
3. Data on file, Alcon Laboratories, Inc.