Keeping in contact
Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Dr Rachel Hiscox on why a cohesive practice team is key in providing excellent contact lens care
08 April 2022
Contact lenses are an important part of providing tailored solutions to each patient who walks through the practice door. And when it comes to comprehensive contact lens care, every member of the practice team has a role to play. Professional education and development manager for Johnson & Johnson Vision, Dr Rachel Hiscox, shared with OT that each patient interaction affects their overall care.
“Careful diary management can make a big difference to patients’ experience, minimising the number of times the patient needs to attend the practice and creating a smoother patient journey,” Hiscox highlighted.
They can also engage people who have not worn contact lenses in discussions about the benefits of this mode of vision correction and address any misconceptions about contact lens wear that patients may have.
Once patients begin contact lens wear, optical assistants can support new wearers during a trial period by checking in with a follow up phone call.
Hiscox outlined the role of optometrists and contact lens opticians in supporting existing contact lens patients and offering this modality to people who have not tried contact lenses before.
“With research showing that patients expect their eye care practitioner to mention contact lenses if they are suitable, a professional, personalised recommendation, both at the end of a sight test and during contact lens selection, is vitally important,” she emphasised.
Hiscox added that a “coordinated and integrated” practice team will deliver a well-managed patient journey – resulting in excellent patient care.
“This will be recognised by patients and drive loyalty, not only for contact lenses, but for other services provided by the practice,” she said.
The pandemic and contact lenses
The COVID-19 pandemic and social restrictions introduced to stem its spread have had a dramatic effect on how people live their lives.
A growth in flexible working and reduced social occasions changed the way that people wore contact lenses. As restrictions ease, contact lens habits are beginning to shift again.
“We see consumption increasing again and a return of more patients requesting contact lenses for social use,” Hiscox observed.
Modern contact lenses – particularly those with technologies to maintain wettability – can provide excellent comfort over the day
She added that patients reduced contact lens wear most during the early stages of the pandemic – with lack of occasions for wear listed as the most frequent cause.
During this time there was also a shift in the motivation for new wearers trying contact lenses “from social use to functional requirement.”
“For example, for those who found wearing a mask all day challenging whilst wearing their spectacles,” Hiscox explained.
Turning to misconceptions around contact lens wear, Hiscox shared that a myth with particular relevance now is the idea that wearing glasses will always be more comfortable when using a digital device.
“Whilst this may have been the case with older generation materials, modern contact lenses – particularly those with technologies to maintain wettability – can provide excellent comfort over the day,” she emphasised.
Hiscox noted that, for presbyopes, multifocal contact lenses can mean they can adopt a more comfortable head posture while working on digital screens compared to varifocals.
Eye care professionals can manage this misconception with careful communication during contact lens recommendations and specific questions during aftercare appointments.
“If the patient is a heavy digital device user, extra care should be taken to ensure the patient is in a lens that will maintain comfort during wear,” Hiscox advised.
Myth busting: contact lenses and screen time
- Advancements in contact lens materials mean that spectacles are no longer the only comfortable option when using digital devices
- For presbyopes, multifocal contact lenses can result in a more comfortable head posture than varifocals
- Ask questions about device use before providing contact lens recommendations and during aftercare appointments
- For people with significant screen time, favour contact lenses with technology that maintains wettability.
- “We relish being able to demonstrate our point of difference”
- “My background is different to a regular optician buying an independent”
- “The economy is just like one big, giant hose pipe”
- Harnessing insight on the economy to empower optical practices
- “The pandemic both helped and hindered my business as a new practice owner”