Laurie Runnerstrom, OD, has two major criteria when determining whether to bring in a new contact lens product to her East Greenbush, New York, practice. “First, it has to work,” she says. “I’m always interested in new technology and new products, but it has to be able to perform and fill a need,” she says.
The second determining factor is if the product is exclusive to independent practice, that’s a significant plus. “If patients can get the product online or in a retail setting, I’m less interested. Exclusivity gives me a second reason to try something new.”
So when a contact lens representative she knew and trusted switched to Visioneering Technologies Inc. and introduced her to NaturalVue® (etafilcon A) Multifocal 1 Day Contact Lenses, she was immediately interested. “I love the fact that it’s a daily disposable lens, as more than 60 percent of my patients are in daily disposables,” she says. “It has become my go-to lens.”
Dr. Runnerstrom does not use the term presbyopia with emerging presbyopes. They don’t like it because it makes them feel old. “I say that it’s a lens that can help them with the fatigue they experience from looking at the computer. People understand the eye fatigue and strain that comes from looking at digital devices,” she says.
Since she asks about eye fatigue at the start of every exam – and many patients, including younger ones – experience it, she notes that she is trying to help them with the complaints they identified. “This lens can help you see at all distances comfortably,” she says.
The center distance design provides superior vision and decreases the time to adapt. “It’s a totally different concept and design than most other multifocals out there,” she says.
Just as the lens addresses eye fatigue, it can also address other accommodative issues. “Even with younger patients with accommodative issues, I’ll suggest that we try it. ‘Let’s see how this works,’” she’ll tell them. She has seen even children adapt quickly to this lens.
The challenge is more often with parents – who see the word multifocal on the box. “I tell them that these lenses are not just for older patients with presbyopia but here are the reasons your child can benefit from wearing these lenses. Once I state the reasons and parents understand the rationale, then it’s often a great option,” she says.
Dr. Runnerstrom sees a significant growth opportunity with this lens among patients 40 and older. “It’s a huge and growing population. These are patients who don’t want to stop wearing contact lenses – or don’t want to start wearing reading glasses. So, it’s been a fabulous practice-builder,” she says.
This design has worked for her where others may not have, so she is able to bring former contact lens wearers back. “Patients are so happy when I tell them there’s a convenient option to wearing reading glasses or progressive eyeglasses.”
But it’s not limited to these older patients. With the digital fatigue that younger patients are experiencing, there is tremendous opportunity with that group, too. Because the lenses handle easily, even young patients can handle them.
“This lens works; it’s comfortable, and it’s lovely to have patients return for their annual exam without me having to do much to modify their prescription.”
USE THE FITTING GUIDE
Dr. Runnerstrom laughs, saying that she may have complicated her own learning curve. “My rep told me to use the fitting guide, and once I did, I was immediately more successful. It’s a unique design, so the conventional wisdom about fitting multifocal contact lenses does not hold here. Once I started using the fitting guide, I was achieving more successful fits.”
Dr. Runnerstrom was compensated for her time in preparing this article.