Having a conversation

Over 30 eye care practitioners gathered at the Alcon Academy in Camberley yesterday to discuss hot topics in optics

Alconversation event

Yesterday took me out of the office to Camberley where Alcon’s education facility is based. The reason for the trip was to attend the contact lens company’s annual Alconversation.

Hosted in the style of the BBC’s Question Time, the audience had the opportunity to hear from an expert panel debating four questions covering a range of hot topics in optics: apprenticeships, contact lens retention, contact lens technology and continued education training.

Posing a question to the panel of representatives from the AOP, ABDO and the College of Optometrists, OT was keen to seek advice on the retention of new contact lens wearers and how to exceed their expectations in order to prevent dropouts.

From the responses, it was obvious that communication and time were pivotal to success. However, what was also described as paramount by those on the panel and in the audience alike was the need for all members of the practice team to be onboard and for follow ups with patients to be performed. A simple telephone call in the days or weeks after a patient’s fitting appointment could be the difference between a drop out and a long-term wearer being developed, practitioners acknowledged.

Past CEO of the BCLA, Cheryl Donnelly, highlighted how research has found that two weeks “is the magic number” when it come to new contact lenses wearers dropping out of their lenses, and therefore practitioners should be reaching out within this time frame in order to avoid drop outs.

Audience member, optometrist and independent practice owner, Brian Tompkins, said that in his experience two weeks was long and “by that point you have an unhappy and frustrated patient.” He emphasised that doing more before the contact lens fitting, such as testing a patient’s tear film, could be key to managing expectations and increasing success rates.

OT is interested to hear what you do in practice to increase contact lens retention with new patients. Share your views on the AOP’s community forums.