Practice team digest

Communicating effectively with potential contact lens wearers

With the whole practice team in mind, optometrist, owner of Hill Eyecare, and Johnson & Johnson Vision faculty member, Gemma Hill, answers: how do I communicate effectively with potential contact lens wearers?


Many patients will benefit from the freedom of contact lens wear but be reticent to ask or try, while others may not yet even appreciate how much contact lenses could enhance their life. It is therefore important that the whole practice team is comfortable talking to patients about the different contact lens options available and are able to carefully manage any fears or misconceptions patients may have.

The contact lens conversation

Gemma Hill in practice
Gemma Hill
In my practice, the contact lens conversation runs through every part of the journey. From the time a patient calls to make an appointment, to the time they leave following spectacle dispense, there are multiple opportunities to bring contact lenses into the conversation. When booking appointments, all patients are asked, “do you currently wear contact lenses or have you ever thought about trying them?” Even if the initial answer is no, this simple question plants a seed for further conversations during their visit.

For me, the key to successful contact lens conversations is to make personalised recommendations, allowing patients to see how contact lenses can benefit their life. This means taking the time to explore the patient’s lifestyle and visual needs. For example, if a patient has told me they enjoy running, I ask: “How do you get on wearing your glasses when running?” This open question gives the patient an opportunity to share their real-life experience with me. Then, where appropriate, this can be followed up with, “what difference would it make if you could be glasses-free when running?” Immediately, this allows the patient to see how contact lenses can benefit their life.

The dispense

Spectacle dispensing provides ample opportunity for dispensing opticians or optical assistants to introduce contact lenses to patients. Again, personalised recommendations are best here, with contact lenses offered as an additional option on top of glasses to support the patient’s lifestyle. In the same way that one pair of shoes will not take you from a walk in the hills to a night out, we shouldn’t expect one vision solution to suit every aspect of a patient’s life.

With the cost-of-living pressure increasing, more patients may question the expense associated with contact lens wear. For potential daily disposable wearers, breaking it down to cost per wear can be really useful. Remember, for the price of a cup of coffee a day, the right contact lens could improve their quality of life.

It is important to allow the patient time to voice any specific worries they have about contact lens wear. If you actively listen and address these concerns empathetically, the patient will feel supported in their contact lens journey and are far more likely to have a positive attitude to beginning contact lens wear.

Potential new wearers will often worry about being able to apply and remove contact lenses. Make sure that plenty of time is allocated for application and removal training, and, if possible, provide a private space away from the shop floor for this. Providing the patient with educational video tools, such as those provided by JJV, ahead of training, can be really helpful for reassuring them that this is a skill that can be learnt and become second nature, just like riding a bike.

Remember, the patient contact lens journey does not end when the patient walks out with their first supply of lenses. Think about ways your practice can best support new wearers. An elegant solution is to have a staff member make a quick phone call during the trial period to see how the patient is finding their contact lenses and determine if a visit is required to iron out any issues. As a practitioner, this will help you problem solve before any dropouts occur.

Gemma’s top tips

  1. Ensure contact lenses are visible and are discussed across the whole patient journey
  2. Give personalised recommendations that suit the patient’s lifestyle
  3. Directly address any fears or misconceptions that patient may have.