Janelle Brown, OD, believes in the importance of focusing on eye health and preventive care when seeing
patients at Family Eyecare of Pontiac and Fairbury Vision Center. This is sometimes surprising to patients who are new to the practices, which are located in the rural communities of Pontiac and Fairbury, Illinois, just about 20 miles away from each other.
“Patients are not used to a full discussion about eye health beyond just, ‘Here is your eyeglasses script, and here’s your contact lenses script,’” Dr. Brown says.
She never wants that conversation to be exactly the same as the one the year before, and the teams at both practices aim to make the most of their patients’ valuable time with education and fresh information. “It’s better to talk to patients about ocular nutrition and their risk factors before there’s a problem,” Dr. Brown says. “That can apply to contact lens wearers, as well, whether
we’re seeing early signs of dryness or if we’re seeing a lack of oxygen to the eyes.” If Dr. Brown detects any neurovascularization or sees that patients are overwearing their contact lenses, she reinforces her recommendation on the benefits of wearing daily disposable contact lenses, “particularly with a silicone hydrogel lens, which will give them the oxygen that their eyes need,” she adds.
The clariti® 1 day lenses from CooperVision are now her first choice when making this recommendation, and it’s become the number one contact lens product prescribed in the practices. As a silicone hydrogel daily option, it’s less expensive to patients than other daily products, which may be appealing to a first-time wearer or someone who is making a transition from another replacement modality. “It’s just a no-brainer to fit patients in those lenses.”
Every team member has a role in helping to increase acceptance among patients. “We encourage our technicians, during pretesting, to talk to patients about their current contact lenses and ask questions about how they’re doing with their current lenses and comfort,” Dr. Brown says. Many staff members personally wear contact lenses, so they can talk about their experience particularly with daily lenses and encourage patients to discuss the option during the exam. After patients see the doctor, they return to the technicians for training with insertion and removal for new wearers and education for care of the lenses. “It’s nice to have technicians on board” so enthusiastically, Dr. Brown says.
Dr. Brown puts an emphasis on eye health during her one-on-one exam time with patients. “Even if they’re not having problems, I’ll say, ‘This is why we’re fitting you in this lens. It’s the newest technology; it’s a silicone hydrogel, and that’s going to give you the comfort and the breathability that you need to keep your eyes comfortable all day long.’”
She even pushes a little further on patients who say that they are happy in their current contact lenses. She often asks, “How do they feel during weeks three and four if you’re wearing a monthly lens?” Or she might ask wearers of daily hydrogel lenses how comfortable their lenses are at the end of the day or when the patients remove them. Since clariti 1 day lenses have such an attractive price point, she can encourage
patients to give them a try.
Now that she’s been fitting clariti 1 day lenses for a few years, she says that she’s excited to see wearers back for annual exams and to check in on their wearing experience. “That’s an awesome lens,” she tells these patients when she sees the brand listed on their chart. “I ask, ‘Are you feeling good at the end of the day?’ They say that they love them.” These enthusiastic patients often lead to referrals. “They tell their family members, and their family members come in and say, ‘I want to be fit into one-day lenses.’”
More than half of the practices’ contact lens patients are wearing CooperVision products. “They are well-priced and good quality lenses,” Dr. Brown says. “These products are what I’ve always worn for soft lenses, so I can recommend them to patients and know that they’re getting quality and value.”