Contact Lens Spectrum Supplements

Special Edition 2017

Contact Lens Spectrum

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23 c l s p e c t r u m . c o m C O N T A C T L E N S S P E C T R U M S P E C I A L E D I T I O N 2 0 1 7 could benefit from a specialty lens, I will offer it, no matter what I think the patient's financial status is. In fact, I do not discuss cost until the end of the visit. Many patients, even those with limited incomes, will do any- thing it takes for good vision. If a patient says no, at least you did your duty by presenting all treatment options. It is possible the timing for such a purchase is not optimal for the patient, but maybe next year he will ask for those special contact lenses. I practice in a low socioeconomic area and if cost were the deciding factor, very few of my patients would be wearing specialty lenses. If you believe in something and are passionate about it, you will succeed. WHEN PATIENTS THINK THEY HAVE NO OPTIONS By offering specialty contact lenses to my patients, I have helped many who thought they were completely out of options and had given up hope. Helping these people see clearly is truly rewarding. Every week, I see patients who say, "I didn't even know I could wear con- tact lenses" or "I had no idea that a special type of con- tact lens could help me see better." For example, I am constantly surprised at the number of patients I see who have had corneal transplants and had no idea they could wear a contact lens to help their vision. Recently, I saw a 28-year-old woman who had a transplant at age 21 because of a herpes scar. I asked her if anyone had ever told her she might be able to see better with a special type of contact lens. She said, "No. I just thought this was how my vision would be for life." have found making a strong recommen- dation for one or two specific treatments has streamlined the process. WHERE TO BEGIN If you want to start prescribing spe- cialty lenses in a practice that currently does not offer them, I recommend blocking out an hour or more for your first fittings. In the beginning, your tech- nicians will not have the knowledge or experience to assist you, so you will be doing almost everything yourself. When I started fitting specialty lenses in my current practice, I would have a technician in the room to assist me, but I would do everything from lens preparation, application, evaluation, diagnostic imaging, lens removal, and lens disinfection. I also had to teach patients how to apply and remove their lenses, because none of the staff knew how to do this. Over time, I was able to teach my technicians almost the entire process ex- cept lens evaluation, which has created efficient patient flow. Now, I simply select the diagnostic lens I want the technician to apply to the patient's eye, and the techni- cian completes the process minus lens evaluation and over-refraction. The technicians are also now fully trained in lens application, removal, and care, so they can work with patients and teach them appropriate techniques. This system has enabled us to serve more patients per day. REMOVE COST FROM THE EQUATION Some eyecare professionals feel uncomfortable pre- senting what they might perceive as a costly service. Get this idea out of your head immediately and charge what your services are worth! Fitting specialty contact lenses is an extra skill, and it takes more time to manage pa- tients along with a higher level of decision-making, so be sure to bill appropriately for your services. Similarly, never judge a patient's ability or desire to pay for specialty contact lenses. If I believe someone INTRODUCING SPECIAL TY LENSES Proper patient education by staff members is crucial for scleral lens success. Courtesy of Stephanie L. Woo, OD N e v e r j u d g e a p a t i e n t ' s a b i l i t y o r d e s i r e t o p a y f o r s p e c i a l t y c o n tac t le n s e s .

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