Love your lenses week returns
The awareness-raising initiative runs from today (13 June) until 19 June. OT spoke with to BCLA president, Neil Retallic, about the campaign
13 June 2022
Ahead of the annual awareness week, which starts today, OT spoke to BCLA president, optometrist and global professional services manager at Menicon, Neil Retallic, about the campaign.
What is the aim of Love your lenses week?The week is about highlighting the options that people have when it comes to wearing contact lenses. It’s about informing the public that contact lenses are not just about correcting sight, that they can bring benefits beyond vision as well – there are emotional and psychological aspects to wearing contact lenses, as well as their functionality for practical lifestyle-related things. It’s also about reminding people who are considering contact lenses to do so through a clinician and to have regular check-ups thereafter.
For practitioners, the week is about raising awareness of looking at all aspects of contact lens wear: if you want to maximise success and keep patients happy in contact lenses, having regular check-ups that may highlight signs of suboptimal use is important. It could be that a patient is not having major issues, but that the practitioner could still make them slightly more comfortable by recommending changes, which could be to the lens or their care regimen, for example. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive in order to reduce the chance of contact lens drop out.
The campaign is designed to be fun – it places a focus on trying contact lenses rather than scaremongering about the potential risks.
The annual awareness week has evolved into more of a celebration of contact lenses – love your contact lenses, appreciate the benefits, but be safe and reduce risk by having regular checks and understanding the importance of compliance
How has the awareness week evolved over the years?When Love your lenses was first established by the General Optical Council in 2017, it was more of a public-facing campaign with a message highlighting that while contact lenses are relatively safe, it’s important that you have regular check-ups and are aware that it is a medical device.
Today the annual awareness week has evolved into more of a celebration of contact lenses – love your contact lenses, appreciate the benefits, but be safe and reduce risk by having regular checks and understanding the importance of compliance.
For me as a clinician it’s about finding out a patient’s personal motivation for contact lens wear, which enables me to provide them with a tailored approach and reinforces the importance of access to regular care. We live in a world where people are more digitally savvy than ever before, they are going to be looking at all the different routes available to buy and consume things, and this includes online. We need people to be aware that contact lenses are regulated and purchasing them is not like buying bread. However, we don’t want this message to be scary, we want it to be about promoting best practice principles.
What education is available during the week?We will host two webinars during the week for practitioners, both of which are open access (for members and non-members).
The first webinar, Not all contact lenses are equal: the real world significance, looks at the science of contact lenses and what that means both in practice and for the practitioner. Sponsored by Bausch & Lomb, it will take place on 14 June at 6.30pm. During the webinar, we will explore a paper that looks into the reasons why not all contact lenses are equal, and discuss why clinical intervention is needed if people are going to become lifetime contact lens wearers.
The second webinar, hosted on 15 June at 6.30pm, will look into the BCLA’s CLEAR report. Presented by professors James Wolffsohn and Jonathan Jackson, the session will discuss some of the key papers in the report and look at best practice evidence-based approaches.
For more information on both webinars, visit the BCLA website.
The week is about raising awareness of contact lenses, providing people with the resources and tools they require to encourage contact lens wear and have conversations about contact lenses in practice
How can practitioners get involved?There are various resources available upon registering to take part in the week on the Love your lenses website, including assets that can be used on social media and in practice. After registering, practitioners will receive a link via email directing them to where the resources can be downloaded. The kit contains stickers, posters and digital assets that will help them in raising the profile of contact lenses and celebrate contact lens wear.
This week is about sharing experiences and networking with the community. It’s about reaching people who maybe have not tried contact lenses before and encouraging them to present in practice to experience them. However, this extends to those who have tried contact lenses previously, providing them with the opportunity to re-engage and try them again. It’s to remind people that contact lenses are an option and we would encourage people to share success stories. We are encouraging people to use the hashtag #timetotry to do this.
What does success for the week look like?
We have experienced a 20% year-on-year increase in participant levels in terms of practice sign-ups.
For me, the week is about raising awareness of contact lenses, providing people with the resources and tools they require to encourage contact lens wear and have conversations about contact lenses in practice. It’s about reminding people that now is the time to try contact lenses as the world is opening up again.