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One-Day, One-Month Replacement CLs: Key to CL Patient Satisfaction

January 1, 2015

Contact lenses are loved by the many patients who are freed from wearing glasses, and given superb acuity in their contacts. That love affair with contact lenses, however, will run dry (often literally) if the lenses are not comfortable, or worse yet, if the contacts do harm to the wearer’s eyes. For that reason, one-day and one-month replacement lenses, which are taken out, thrown away and replaced with a fresh lens once a day or month, is a key to success. I have found that when patients only have to remember to change their lenses once a day or once a month, it eases compliance. With greater compliance comes greater patient eye health and comfort.

Keep Patients in Lenses Longer; Greater Profitability

In addition to the most important feat of one-day and one-month lenses–keeping patients satisfied with healthier, more comfortable eyes–this modality is profitable for ODs. By reducing contact lens dropouts due to eye health issues or comfort, the doctor strengthens a revenue stream for his or her practice. The lifetime value of contact lens wearers tends to be higher than that of spectacle-only patients. Contact lens patients are tied into an annual comprehensive examination to renew their contact lens prescription, and most own at least one pair of prescription eyewear. So, in addition to the almost guaranteed annual visit and the purchase of contact lenses, these patients can be counted on to buy eyewear, as well.

In fact, according to “New Data on Contact Lens Dropouts: An International Perspective” by John Rumpakis, OD, MBA, a study published by the Review of Optometry in 2010, the loss of a single contact lens patient may cost your practice up to $24,000 over the patient’s lifetime.

Indeed, with my practice’s protocol of prescribing one-day or one-month replacement contact lenses whenever possible, our dropout rate is no higher than 10 percent.

Educate Patients: One-Day, One-Month CLs Superior

Practices like mine, that prefer to prescribe one-day or one-month lenses, still run into the challenge of transitioning two-week lens wearers into this much better modality. Most of my patients are happy to comply with my recommendation that one-day or one-month is better, but some are more hesitant. I find that taking an educational approach is best in these situations. I might say: “Joan, I understand how you can get used a certain routine, but I think you’ll really like these new lenses better. It’s great just being able to toss your lenses in the garbage at the end of the day and then have a fresh pair every morning. In addition to the much greater ease and convenience, having new contacts everyday is much healthier than wearing lenses for two weeks. Plus, think of all the money and hassle you’ll save not having to buy contact lens solution.”

Or,  in the case of a transition to one-month contacts: “Phil, I can understand that you’re hesitant to make a switch after wearing the same lenses for all these years, but I think you’ll find it much easier to remember to change your contacts once a month versus every two weeks. You mentioned that you sometimes forget and end up wearing your lenses for an extra week or two. Wouldn’t be better to just have a lens that is meant to be worn for a full month, and then simply removed and thrown away? Since I think it will be easier for you to remember to stick to the once-a-month regimen, it will be healthier for your eyes. As your doctor, I think this will be a positive switch for you to at least try.”

Your Job as Doctor to Offer Best Option

As doctors, our patients trust us to educate them on their best options. With that in mind, it is our duty to educate patients why contact lenses that are changed once a day or once a month are a better modality for them. With ease-of-remembering comes ease-of-compliance. We know that compliance is the key to healthy contact lens wearing, and healthy eyes are comfortable eyes.

I think of transitioning patients into a one-day or one-month modality as the best way I can ensure their eye health and comfort, and, ultimately, their trust in me as a doctor.

Ann Rea Miller, OD, is an associate with The Eye Site of Lima in Lima, Ohio. To contact her: drmiller@wcoil.com