5 Clinical Pearls to Grow Your Contact Lens Practice - E17
Grow with Contact Lenses
You want to grow your office, right? In an effort to do this we look far and wide exploring new frame lines, pieces of equipment, or adding a niche to our services. However, one of the easiest and most profitable changes we can make is maximizing our contact lens sales and actively recruiting new contact lens wearers.
More Option and demand than ever
Let me explain. To begin, contact lenses patients are awesome. They come back more often, they are loyal to their doctors and contacts, and given this mask wearing world we live in, the demand has never been higher. In addition, we have more contact lens options than ever before. There are daily lenses, toric lenses, muli-focal lenses, multifocal torics, oh my! In my mind there is truly a contact lens option for every set of eyes that walk into your office.
Lets explore this from a business perspective. When you break down the numbers, a healthy growing office is going to have a robust contact lens wearing population. For simplicity’s sake we will say a glasses patient comes in every 28 months and a contact lens patient comes in every 14 months. Over a 10 year period your contact lens patient will visit 8.6 times vs the 4.3 visits of the glasses wearing patient. That many more squeezes of the orange and guess what, contact lens patients will buy glasses every 3-4 visits. That's the best of both worlds and we have not even discussed the opportunity to sell sunglasses to your contact lens wearers.
Moreover, the contact lens patients absolutely love wearing their contact lenses. That is why they abuse them and will do whatever they have to in order to stay in them. This is a huge opportunity to grow your dry eye practice, discuss custom lenses and multifocal options for your presbyopic wearers. You have to take their natural behaviors and work with them rather in opposition to it. You will always give them advice that is best for their overall eye health, and if that advice coincides with treatments or therapies you offer in your practice, so be it.
5 Clinical Pearls to Grow Your Contact Lens Practice
Discuss contact lenses with every patient
This starts in your work-up. Your tech should ask every patient about their glasses and if they have considered contact lenses. Regardless of their answers you are planting the seeds for your examination and conversation with them. If they were interested, I use that as an opportunity to discuss lens options that would best fit their needs. If they were not interested, I will still ask if there is ever a situation in which they would like to NOT wear glasses.
Portray Yourself as an Expert...Because you ARE!
You now have the opportunity to talk about new options, improved lens technologies, and healthier lens options than ever before. This can overcome objections to past failures in lens wear and further instill the belief that you are up to date on the latest treatment technologies. They know that when they come to your office they will be getting the latest and greatest the eyecare world has to offer.
Set Realistic Goals
During this time it is important to set realistic goals. If a patient goes into full detail of their past failures and you do not have much hope for success, do NOT walk down that road. Additionally, try to always underpromise and over-deliver. For example, presbyopic, first time wearers tend to have trouble feeling and seeing the lenses for insertion and removal. I address this upfront to make sure they are committed and hopefully limit dropouts.
Be Specific and Add Value
When giving trial lenses to a patient, do not merely give them 3 pairs of lenses, tell them to try all 3 and report back in a week. You are supposed to be an expert, so make sure to select the best option for your patients eyes and visual needs. You can always change and try other kens types, but by specifically selecting a starting point, you are giving value to your services and value to your exam. Additionally, make sure to discuss the importance of keratometry or topography in your workups. I guarantee the big box doctors are not doing as much, and if they pay more to see you, you need to add value to what you do.
Be Easy to Work With
In these days of online sales, don’t push your patients to places like 1-800-contacts if they want to buy online or after they leave the office. You need to be available. You should be offering online ordering for contact lenses right from your office website. There are so many options out there, your patients will appreciate it, utilize it, and at the end of the day they want to order from you. You are the one that can help them if they rip or tear a lens, need a trial to get by, etc. In addition, you should also come up with a way to send contact lens recalls to remind patients when to reorder if they did not get an annual supply at their visit. There are plenty of services out there (CLX, LensFerry), but a simple email, postcard, text, or phone call will suffice.
Remember that even post-pandemic, your contact lens patients are the bloodlines of a healthy growing office. Recognize this and make the most of these patient encounters!
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