Ciba Vision has released the first results of its ‘Here and Now Evaluation’ which aims to identify the most practical way to dispense toric and multifocal soft contact lenses.
Optometrist Helen Gleave, Professional Affairs Manager and coordinator of the survey says both markets are under-represented and with better lens designs now available, it makes sense to consider how to improve the fitting approach.
The survey asks practitioners questions about how they promote, prescribe and supply toric and multifocal contact lenses. Each practitioner then fits 10 astigmatic or presbyopic patients with Air Optix contact lenses to uncover the most effective approach.
Practitioners are proactive in recommending contact lenses to patients but few have dedicated staff to support them.
Ms. Gleave says that early results show that practices have a clear and simple contact lens offer. Most practitioners (85 per cent) limit their first discussion to only one or two lens types, an important technique to prevent price comparisons… and nearly all (96 per cent) present fees and pricing up-front.
“Opportunity exists for greater promotion of the offer, with only 68 per cent including contact lenses in all advertising, 72 per cent displaying availability in-store and only 45 per cent using direct mail,” she says.
“Practitioners are proactive in recommending contact lenses to patients, but few have dedicated staff to support them. Most practitioners (82 per cent) have trained their team on the basics, but only 31 per cent have appointed a contact lens champion and fewer still (13 per cent) reward staff for contact lens growth.
“A third of practitioners don’t fit torics for low cylinders and a third don’t offer contact lenses to new presbyopes; a missed opportunity considering patient satisfaction with newer designs.”
Michael Michael, from Kensington, Sydney, who used the ‘Here and Now Evaluation’ to move from fitting monovision only to fitting 34 multifocal contact lenses in two weeks, said: “I decided to bite the bullet and take Air Optix Aqua Multifocal to my patients. I am still working out which patients suit multifocal contact lenses best, but I am also trying to keep my process simple.”
According to Ms. Gleave, practices know they need to make fitting efficient and more convenient.
“Most (79 per cent) ask lifestyle questions to help tailor the examination, 70 per cent fit at the first appointment and all pre-advise patients the fitting may take more than one appointment. Only 29 per cent provide telephone follow-up, with survey comments suggesting practitioners prefer to rely only on after-care visits.
“Three-quarters now recommend a six or 12 month supply of lenses, 66 per cent offer home delivery, 16 per cent see value in holding a multifocal inventory and 36 per cent offer website reordering for torics and multifocals. Only 16 per cent provide automatic reordering using direct debit.
“Let’s start to think about the opportunities for toric and multifocal contact lenses, to make them available here and now.”
How can you make your offer clearer, your fitting simpler and your delivery more convenient?
Go online and review the full results (mivision.com.au/here-and-now-first-results-released) to help you decide what to improve first. Ask your staff about the changes needed, set the time frame and if you want it enough, make sure you can measure it.