When it comes to new contact lens wearers, there are some important contact lens fitting strategies you should into consideration.
One of the first things you’ll need to do, is choose a contact lens. With so many options out there, how do you know which contact lens is right for each patient? Many ODs come across this question when practicing and there are some key things you need to take into consideration.
Modality for example, is an important consideration you must account for. When it comes to contact lens fitting strategies, you should also ask yourself, which type of lens will this particular patient do best with? Obviously, prescription can dictate what lens options you have at your disposal. Another very important and oftentimes forgotten piece of the puzzle is thinking about what contact lens will encourage compliance.
When it comes to choosing a specific contact lens brand, every practitioner has their go-to lenses. I have found the Acuvue Oasys Family of Lenses to be a fantastic lens option for patients in my practice because of the variety of lens options, modalities, and parameters available. Additionally, because so many patients recognize the Acuvue name, it’s a great practice builder. Their products create a lot of buzz; there’s always that one lens that patients hear about and want.
In the end however, you always need to make sure that you’re prescribing what you think is the best lens for the individual regardless of what brand it is.
When it comes to contact lens fitting strategies, another thing to consider is what your patients want out of their lenses. If they only need their lenses for special occasions, their needs will be very different from someone who’s looking for daily wear. It’s important to provide them with a variety of options so they can narrow it down to what works best for them.
Read more on identifying patient need in this article.
When it comes to fitting contact lenses successfully in new contact lens wearers you need to start with someone who is motivated and set expectations.
If someone is getting acquainted with wearing lenses for the first time, a transitory phase is to be expected. You need to explain this to them and help them understand that struggling early on with insertion and removal for example is normal. What is critical is that the patient is motivated to wear contact lenses from the start. One of the worst things you can do is attempt to fit contact lenses on a patient who is not motivated or is being forced to wear them by a parent for example. New contact lens patients will have to take in a lot of information and get used to a new part of their daily routine, so it is critical that they are passionate about this.
Setting expectations is also equally as important as motivation. A lot of patient dropout could be avoided by setting these expectations from the start. Assess what they’re looking to get out of their lenses, and determine whether their needs and desires are realistic. It’s also important to tell them exactly what they’re getting into.
Sometimes, people decide that it’s easier to just throw their glasses on and that is okay, but they need to understand from the beginning the benefits and limitations of contact lens wear.
Watch more on preventing contact lens dropout:
When you fit contact lenses you need to also think about how to increase patient compliance.
There are a few things you can do to ensure that your patients are using their lenses correctly, and, thus, giving them the best opportunity at an excellent contact lens wearing experience.
Optometry involves a lot more psychology than most people give it credit for. It’s important that the doctor is in the room while they’re receiving their instructions and getting oriented. Be available to provide your expectations when it comes to any questions that the patient has.
Allow trial runs
Many patients are hesitant to try daily lenses because of their budget. In an instance where a patient might be hesitant but you believe that a more expensive choice would be the best option, allow them a “free trial.” Allow them to test out your first choice dailies in addition to lenses that might align more with their price range. More often than not, they’ll end up seeing that the price discrepancy is worth the many benefits that your first choice lenses provide.
Choose for the individual
It’s important to look at every patient individually. What are their needs? What will be most comfortable for them? What will increase their ease of use? Answering these questions and then educating them particularly on why you are recommending a specific lens and modality of wear can go a long way.
Watch more on troubleshooting dryness in contact lens wearers
Don’t be surprised if you need to compromise.
Sometimes, you’ll need to find a point of compromise with the patient. Are they currently monthly lens wearers who may be looking for an easier option without the cost of dailies? If so, two-week lenses are an excellent in-between.
Additionally, buying a year’s supply of lenses may seem like a hassle, but it often ends up being easier for the patient. Oftentimes, they’ll run out at the six-month mark and neglect to schedule a follow up until the eighth or ninth month. Make it easy on them!
After all, it’s all about keeping patients educated and encouraging them to do the right thing.